Public parks programme launched with £1m cash pot

If you have cared for a public park, or just enjoy walking around them, do you have any ideas on making them financially sustainable?

With public sector funding for services like parks projected to fall by 60 per cent or more over the next decade, ambitious new business, management and partnership models are needed to create a more sustainable future for UK public parks.

And people are being asked to come forward with innovative ideas that could receive support thanks to a new £1m programme.

The Rethinking Parks project is backed by Nesta, Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund and will support the most innovative and promising new business models for public parks.

Vicki Sellick, director of the Rethinking Parks programme, said: "Parks have an inherent value in providing space for rest, relaxation and to connect with nature.

"But with public subsidy diminishing, public parks could easily become overlooked. We need new ways of generating income for parks, new ways of getting communities involved and new ways of getting under-used green spaces used again. We need to Rethink Parks."

Anyone with an idea can apply for their stake of the £1m pot. To help people develop their ideas the programme is holding workshops around the country and online in January 2014. The best ideas will be chosen to receive funding in early summer.

Organisations interested in attending the Rethinking Parks innovation workshops should register their interest at Rethinking Parks website.

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