Nottingham has been successful in securing a share of £11m to safeguard the future of the city’s parks and open spaces.
The National Trust has teamed up with The National Lottery Heritage Fund to launch ‘Future Parks’ and eight areas around the country have now been chosen to take part in the pioneering scheme.
Each had to submit plans for how they would use the funding and judges were impressed with the ‘ambition and creativity’ of Nottingham’s bid. More than 80 applications were put forward before the winning bids were announced.
The aim of the project is to bring together eight urban areas to find sustainable ways to manage and fund parks into the future, at a time when local authority budgets are being further reduced.
The £11m will be broken down into £6m of lottery and Government funding, and a further £5m worth of advice and support from some of the country’s leading experts in conservation, fund-raising, volunteering and green-space management from the National Trust.
Around 25 per cent of land in Nottingham is green space and there has been £40m of investment in parks over the past decade. The city has 64 Green Flags recognising well-managed parks – the most outside London.
Each of the winning bids had to impress the judges in four categories:
- Making green spaces central to everyday community life
- Giving the public a bigger role in how these spaces are managed
- Ensuring they contribute more to the public’s mental and physical health
- Transforming the way they are funded to secure their futures
Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen as one of the successful bids for this funding, which will make a huge difference to Nottingham.
“A quarter of the city is green space and we are incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy that parkland all year round. The purpose of this project is to sustain and improve our parks but, most importantly, to future-proof them for future generations.
“We have some exciting ideas which we put forward in our bid, including opportunities to address issues around health and wellbeing, increasing volunteering and training for communities to get more involved with local parks, and developing charitable-giving schemes to generate more funding.”
The other areas selected alongside Nottingham are:
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
- Islington and Camden
Hilary McGrady, the National Trust’s Director General, said: “Today is a landmark moment for the nation’s urban parks. This is not just about new ways to fund and support these much-loved community spaces, but completely re-thinking the role green spaces play in our lives and how we can ensure they thrive for generations to come.
“We need to give parks a reboot and start thinking about them as essential elements of our communities in the same way we think about housing or transport. Future Parks is the beginning of something really exciting. What these eight places achieve will help guide how other councils and communities can really make a difference to securing the future of their parks too.”
Ros Kerslake, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s CEO, added: “Our urban parks and green spaces are essential to the health and well-being of the nation and yet in some areas they are facing a very insecure future. Future Parks isn’t simply patching-up a few problem parks. It is enabling local authorities and communities to take a longer-term, strategic approach to managing, funding and maintaining them, so future generations will be able to enjoy their many benefits in hundreds of years from now.
“Developing strategic approaches and championing innovation are key elements of our new five-year funding strategy. Future Parks allows us to maximise our resources and to work with key partners to accelerate progress and share learning.”