£100 million made available for public parks over three years

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and BIG Lottery Fund (Big) are to provide £100 million in grants for public parks over the next three years.

The funding is available to local authorities, community trusts and friends groups. Grants will range from £100,000 to £5million.

HLF is committing over £70 million and Big £30 million to the three-year initiative. The two funders have already together invested over £640 million for public parks and spaces since 1996.


The Parks for People programme is designed to encourage more people to get involved in the management of their local part. The new funding will, for the first time, include projects that conserve historic cemeteries.

The funding was announced at last week’s UK Public Parks Summit at the Royal Geographic Society in London. Speaking at the event, Peter Ainsworth, UK Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Following decades of decline and neglect, much has been achieved in returning many of our public parks to their former glory. Now is the right time to take stock, look back at what has been achieved across our communities and also look beyond the severe financial constraints to find cost effective and innovative ways of doing things. We are so pleased to continue our support for the Parks for People programme, so that even more people can enjoy safer and improved facilities at their local parks, bringing whole communities closer together.”

The Twitter hashtag for the event was #parksmatter.

New income generation toolkit

The summit was also used to announce an online income generation toolkit created by the Land Trust and funded by HLF and Big. This will provide community groups, park managers, land owners and local authorities with advice about sustainable commercial income for parks.

It features case studies, best practice and practical advice about sponsorship, ecosystem services and renewable energy, and will help users find support networks, funding bodies and sustainable business planning resources to help them with planning for future income generation. The toolkit is expected to be launched in early 2013.