Local authorities and other organisations have received a £1.5m ‘innovation boost’ in order to help them find new ways to sustainably run parks.
The new fund, supplied by Nesta, the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), is part of the Rethinking Parks initiative which aims to help those with creative and innovative ideas for running public spaces.
According to HLF’s State of UK Public Parks 2016 report, more than 57% of the UK population regularly uses parks in the UK.
However, they are at serious risk of decline and loss.
Since 2014, 92% of park managers have seen cuts to their revenue budgets and 95% of park managers expect their budgets to be reduced over the next three years.
The grants — ranging from £145,000 to £200,000 — will go to eight projects which are dedicated to help communities and councils work together to make the most of their local parks.
‘Our aim is to help parks innovate to ensure they can sustain and develop as free, open and truly valued community spaces for the future,’ said Alice Casey, head of new operating models at Nesta.
‘Parks are wonderful, free public resources, that communities treasure; particularly in urban environments. They support activity, health and wellbeing, as well as play, socialising and connection to nature.
‘Rethinking Parks will demonstrate ways to ensure that our parks will continue to be protected and loved by communities everywhere for generations to come.’