Alternative park funding streams in the spotlight

A crowdfunding pilot launched this week is one of a number of projects looking at alternative funding streams for parks.

Popular project: West Boathouse in Glasgow Green. Image: Darrin Antrobus/Creative Commons
Popular project: West Boathouse in Glasgow Green. Image: Darrin Antrobus/Creative Commons

The partnership between Nesta, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will give up to £10,000 or 25 per cent of the total target in matched funding to arts and heritage projects launched on the Crowdfunder website.

Crowdfunding is explored in the HLF's second State of UK Public Parks report published last week. It also chimes with a number of the report recommendations: supporting innovation, finding new funding models and supporting communities in playing a more active role in parks.

Another pilot is MyParkScotland, an independent charity run by Greenspace Scotland since May 2015 following a £100,000 grant from the HLF and Nesta through the Rethinking Parks project. The site hosts information and crowdfunding for parks in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Falkirk and is negotiating with 10 further local authorities. So far it has run nine successful crowdfunds, including mini orchards, biohaven islands and outdoor gyms, 10 more are currently live and futher projects are in the pipeline.

Key to its model is leveraging Gift Aid. The West Boathouse project in Glasgow Green exceed its funding target, raising £5,378 from 184 donations. Some 70 per cent of funders agreed to access Gift Aid on their donation, to be put in a parks endowment fund. "It's about creating funds for parks that can be invested for future activity," said Greenspace Scotland chief executive Julie Procter.

She stressed that crowdfunding cannot be used for the basics but can provide extra value for parks users, as well as connecting local businesses and people with local authorities and friends groups."The State of UK Public Parks is incredibly depressing but it shows the scale of the challenge. We could just sit there and say we're doomed, but we need to find new ways of doing things."

But parks consultant Sid Sullivan said crowdfunding and similar ideas are a "sticking plaster" that "closes minds to the serious nature of the issue" and will not help the "postcode lottery" of parks funding. He said the Government needs to acknowledge the importance of parks and find a way to fund them.

Chairman of The Parks Alliance Mark Camley warned that crowdfunding could be seen as "another arrow in the quiver but not a panacea for all". He added: "A lot of teams have been reduced to the extent that they don't have the time or expertise to launch a campaign on their own. Therefore what scope is there to work with contractors, friends and volunteers on this sort of approach?" He also said fundraising needs as much as 15 per cent of "seed funding" to develop an idea, which is unlikely to be supported by many local authorities.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Tractors - Maintenance models

Tractors - Maintenance models

The tractors chosen by professionals across the sector reflect the best features, backup and support on offer, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs
Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017 - the winners!

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2017 winners.

Contracts & Tenders

Products & Kit Resources