The award

The Thames Chase Trust has been awarded £85,000 through the Rethinking Parks programme to develop and test the how new uses for Eastbrookend Country Park’s Millennium building could increase income and footfall into the park.

Rethinking Parks is a jointly funded programme between the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Big Lottery Fund (England) and Nesta.

The idea

Eastbrookend Rekindled will reconfigure the previously largely unused Millennium Building within the Country Park as a valued and revenue-generating community asset.

Like many park buildings across the UK, the Millennium Building has been heavily underused and inflexibly designed. Yet it is already becoming a solution to the pressures on local authority offices and is now the new location for the Tenancy Referral Team.

The longer term vision is for the building to become a vibrant space for ecological and environmental businesses (an eco-enterprise and local community hub). The customisation of the building as an asset that the wider community can make use of means not only is the financial sustainably of the park improved but there is the opportunity for new footfall and interest in the park too.

The desired impact

Eastbrookend Rekindled aims to:

  • Make Eastbrookend Country Park financially self-sufficient
  • Get the ‘offer’ right for the public and users (new and existing), including establishing usage-driven areas within the Millennium Centre
  • Improve and reinstate the café in the Millennium Centre, which will also be upgraded to create an eco- hub, which meets objectives of maintaining the park and community engagement and training.
  • Have plurality of management and responsibility
  • Have a vibrant Millennium Centre and well used Country Park.

The team

The project is being led by the Thames Chase Trust. The Trust manages a Community Forest Landscape Regeneration project and is drawing on this best practice developed for Eastbrookend Rekindled. London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is a partner via its Parks and Green Spaces team. The project is further supported by and working in close collaboration with the Friends of The Chase Group. Miles Duckworth is the project manager for Eastbrookend Rekindled.

"We are delighted to be involved in the Rethinking Parks programme, which is timely and important, since participants will be developing examples of prototyping and innovation in the context of changing funding and management of public parks. We hope that Eastbrookend Rekindled will identify what communities want from their park and provide that offer to existing and new users."

Read Scott Sullivan's blog about the Rethinking Parks programme.


Miles Duckworth (Project Manager): [email protected] 0794 386 9465

Twitter: @Eastbrookend