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Why do we need public giving in parks and greenspaces?

Public parks are losing funding, so public giving to greenspace is more important than ever. Donations are essential to maintaining and helping enhance parks and greenspaces.

Our grantees are finding new ways to donate to parks. Our current grantees, the Lake District Foundation and Bournemouth Parks Foundation are testing the potential for contactless donations to help sustain their local parks and greenspaces. Leeds City Council is using the Leeds Parks Fund to develop a model to support and encourage charitable giving to parks.

In the previous round of Rethinking Parks, the Heeley Development Trust developed a subscription for Heeley Park in Sheffield. The subscription aimed to increase income for the park by offering members additional opportunities to the existing free facilities.

What are the trends that we have noticed so far?

  • Individuals who donate to parks want their money to supplement funding from local councils, not replace it.
  • Getting the messaging and narrative that accompanies giving campaigns right is essential to attracting donations. This can be very difficult to do when multiple partners are involved in a campaign. It can also be difficult to craft a message that appeals to the diverse users of a park or greenspace.
  • When donating to parks and greenspaces individuals, especially high networth individuals, tend to focus on short term projects and giving. For example, they are more likely to give to building a playground than an endowment for future parks. This has left a gap for long term sustainability plans for parks.