Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Hope for our parks?

'Funding cuts are threatening our parks and green spaces'!  At last the message is being heard and exciting things are starting to happen.

Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has announced its decision to award £416,450 to the enterprising 'Love Parks' project being run by GreenSpace http://www.green-space.org.uk/ . The funding will provide the training and resources that a growing network of volunteer groups will need if they are to protect their local green spaces http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/press-releases/england/140213_eng_love-parks_volunteers-at-heart-of-parks .

One of the exciting things about BIG's announcement is that it quotes some of the research results that support its decision to support 'Love Parks'.  'NHS evidence shows that an estimated £2.1bn could be saved in healthcare costs if every household in the country had access to quality green space'. Well, who could argue with that? We just need it to be shouted from the rooftops as loudly as possible.
(copyright Liz Ware)

The project will be launched at the start of 'Love Parks Week 2013' so keep an eye open for announcements in the press.  This year it runs from 27 July - 4, August, the first week of the summer holidays.  Have a look at http://loveparksweek.org.uk/ for more information. Why not organise an event to run in your local park?  Perhaps one that promotes your park's heritage?  They need all the support they can get. 

More good news for parks comes from a campaign run jointly by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and BIG.  Realising the dangers that threaten our parks, the two funds have joined together to create a campaign in which they take a more proactive role.  They've made over £100million available for public parks and cemeteries over the next three years.  The 'Parks for People' programme will help to get local people more involved in the management of their parks and will offer help and advice about long term park maintenance http://www.parksforpeople.co.uk/about/parks-for-people-programme.  If an historic feature in your park or cemetery is under threat, perhaps this is the project for you?

Grants from £100,000 to £5million are available for suitable projects.  It is very sad to hear that some local authorities are so short-staffed that they don't have time to submit applications. So, this is an SOS to members of the County Gardens Trusts.  If you can think of any way in which your Trust could help participate in training, assisting or helping to set up Friends Groups for public parks in your area please contact GreenSpace http://www.green-space.org.uk/ . 

The sun hasn't shown its face in this corner of Berkshire for the last two weeks, so no chance to snap a glorious sunrise in my local urban park. Here's a bit of delicious re-cycled plant colour instead!

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