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What is a parks foundation?

Parks foundations are non-profit organisations that support a park or parks with time, expertise, and privately raised funds. In 2014, Bournemouth Borough Council was awarded a grant from the first round of Rethinking Parks funding to set up a parks foundation for Bournemouth’s parks and greenspaces. The Bournemouth Parks Foundation’s success has since inspired others to set up their own foundations. In this second round of Rethinking Parks we are supporting Leeds City Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Bristol City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council to set up their own parks foundations.

For more information on what inspired Bournemouth City Council to start their parks foundation, read Michael Rowland’s blog. You can also find more on what a parks foundation is.

Why do we support parks foundations?

Parks like many other public services have been affected by local authority budget cuts. That means that local authorities do not always have enough time or funds to dedicate to parks. We support parks foundations because:

  1. Parks foundations often have a board that incorporates parks managers, local business owners, and the local community bringing together a wealth of skills and expertise.
  2. Ownership of land is not transferred to the foundation. Land remains the property of local government, this ensures that parks remain free and accessible to the public. Foundations and local government work in partnership for the future of parks and greenspaces.
  3. Foundations independently raise funds that are ring-fenced for parks and greenspaces, this can provide an additional income for parks.