NESTA published this report in February 2016 and the report brings together the insights and lessons from Rethinking Parks, a joint Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and Nesta programme to test new ways to fund public parks.
- Public parks need to diversify their funding sources to meet size of cuts
- New partners and people will contribute to parks
- Cost savings needn’t be at the expense of people’s enjoyment of parks
Mobilising the skills and energy of businesses, supporting people into employment whilst improving green space, using less intensive planting techniques and tapping into the public’s willingness to give have all shown impact in reducing costs for running parks. However, no one idea tested through Rethinking Parks is forecast to completely replace local authority funding.
This knowledge will dishearten some people. Others will recognise that parks, like other sectors, should never rely on just one funding source. Through this lens, Rethinking Parks has been a success. A number of the ideas tested show real promise in helping parks diversify their revenue sources. We know more too about where limitations lie.
Accurate financial data and park user insights, working with partners who bring new skills, resources and ideas, and providing space to quickly test ideas are all necessary to find out what mix of management practices and revenue opportunities are best able to sustain their park.
Download the report here