The Landscape Group launches parks crowdfunding site

The Landscape Group's charity Growing a Greener Britain and Spacehive have launched a national crowdfunding initiative dedicated to improving parks and green places.

The Peckham Coal Line shows parks crowdfunding can work
The Peckham Coal Line shows parks crowdfunding can work

The crowdfunding initiative is intended to address some of the challenges faced by parks as they struggle to remain free and open in the face of falling budgets. Crowdfunding is a way of paying for projects by raising money from 'the crowd' including local people, councils and businesses.

Rob Pearce, a Growing a Greener Britain trustee and TLG business manager, said: "Austerity is having a huge impact on public parks and green spaces. In many areas local communities are righty nervous about the negative effect this will have on where they live and are ready to get involved.

"Growing a Greener Britain's mission is to provide a new way for them to do so by enabling them to share their projects with their neighbours and raise funds from their communities to get things done. We'll also provide some funds to projects to help them reach their target and tools and equipment to help people along."

In addition to providing the crowdfunding platform, the charity will pledge up to £5,000 of its own money to projects that match its aims, with a total of £50,000 per year being distributed to projects all over the country.

Crowdfunding has already been used in the parks sector with varying degrees of success. Plans to create the UK's version of the New York High Line are underway in Peckham after a crowdfunding effort hosted on Spacehive exceeded its target. A Rethinking Parks initiative, MyParkScotland, has also been experimenting with crowdfunding for smaller projects in Edinburgh. However Growing a Greener Britain's initiative is believed to be the first crowdfunding site to go UK-wide.

The first round of pledges has already helped three projects reach their target, including a community green house, a children's playground refurbishment and a nature reserve classroom.

Niraj Dattani, head of community development at Spacehive, said: "Cuts to local authorities mean that it's becoming increasingly difficult for our shared green spaces to be properly sustained and for new green spaces to be developed.

"By helping communities to crowdfund their own ideas we aim to not only keep these spaces open and flourishing, but also to inject more creativity and community involvement into them. We see it as an opportunity for local groups and individuals, as much as a solution for local authorities."

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