Laura Sharman 18 July 2019

Report explores how public donations could protect future of parks

Charitable donations could help protect the future of the UK’s parks and green spaces, a new report has found.

The report from the University of Leads explores the role charitable donations can play in helping to fill the funding gap and secure the future of parks.

Charitable Giving to Parks and Green Spaces calls for a public debate on the funding of parks, statutory protection for parks, and for local authorities to develop a clear public message about the role and value derived from voluntary donations.

Dr Anna Barker, from Leeds’ School of Law and research lead, said park managers need to require new sources of funding to protect parks from ongoing cuts.

‘In this context, many local authorities are beginning to work with charitable partners to establish voluntary donation initiatives to help maintain and improve parks,’ she said.

’There needs to be an informed public debate on the funding of parks, including the role of charitable giving and the urgent need for donations if parks are to survive deep cuts. Charitable giving should not be a substitute for local authority funding.’

The report explores how Leeds has helped to raise money for its parks such as generating revenue from events and visitor attractions, and setting up a charitable fund for parks.

Cllr Mohammed Rafique, executive member for environment and active lifestyles at Leeds City Council, said: ‘The research findings are of great interest to us. As a partner in the Leeds Parks Fund initiative, they will help us maximise the potential of the fund – the first such scheme established in a UK core city – while at the same time acknowledging that a full, rounded parks and countryside service does come at a cost that must be supported by core funding.’

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