About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Burnley Council is developing an alternative model of park management by sustainably managing large areas of the town's parks using ecological and permaculture techniques.

The award

Burnley Borough Council has been awarded £98,615 to develop and test the cost saving potential of a coordinated set of different techniques that include woodchipping, starflower oil production and engaging volunteers to develop specialist skills across the range of techniques being tested.

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

This project guide provides information on what the Burnley 'Go to the park' team tested throughout the project and offers advice to others interested in exploring a similar model.

Rethinking Parks: Burnley report cover

The idea

Based in Towneley Park (Burnley’s largest heritage park covering 200 hectares) and extending across five other heritage parks, ‘Go to the Park’ will develop an alternative model of park & green space management that will sustainably manage large areas of parks and green spaces using ecological & permaculture techniques. The project will test the opportunities to save money by adopting ecological & permaculture techniques to manage our heritage parks, earn money from wildflower crops, bees and wood fuel, engage people through our ‘Volunteer in Parks’ programme and increase the wildlife value of our green spaces.

The desired impact

Our project aims to create more attractive and ecologically rich green spaces that are cheaper to maintain and produce economically valuable products. The Volunteer in Parks programme will strengthen community involvement in Burnley’s parks, making them more vibrant places to visit and improving wellbeing. The team Go to the Park is a partnership between Burnley Borough Council, Offshoots Permaculture Project (part of the Together housing group) and our park friends groups.

“We are rethinking our parks in Burnley to make them more attractive, cheaper to maintain and better for wildlife.”

Simon Goff, Burnley Borough Council


Simon Goff, Head of Green Spaces and Amenities, Burnley Borough Council: [email protected]