Across 2014 and 2015 Nesta, The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Big Lottery Fund supported a small number of pioneering innovations, with a focus on supporting and testing the new business models that will enable our parks to thrive for the next century.
We worked with 11 teams across the UK, providing grant funds, specialist support, networking opportunities and times for reflection and challenge to test which approaches had most promise to help fund and sustain the UKs public parks.
Why did we run Rethinking Parks?
Like many other public services our public parks are under increasing pressure, with limited resources available for maintenance and management. Public sector funding for discretionary services like parks is projected to fall by 60 per cent or more over the next decade.
We saw that new ambitious new business models, management tools and partnerships would be needed to create a more sustainable future for the way our parks are used and maintained. We identified that this could not only lead to greater financial security for parks, but it could also create new opportunities for employment and education, increased health and wellbeing, and greater biodiversity.
Find out more about the current challenges and opportunities for parks in our new report: Rethinking Parks: Exploring new business models for 21st century parks.
What we did.
We opened a £1 million grant fund to back the best parks innovations, called Rethinking Parks.
As a result of a competitive open competition process, Nesta, The Heritage Lottery Fund UK and the Big Lottery Fund England selected 11 teams to work with so their new business models for parks could be tested and the impact of these ideas could be measured.