Park cash comes with call to fight for more funding

A £10m shot of lottery cash to six parks has come with a plea for park managers to hold their nerve through the economic gloom and fight hard for funds.

Cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund will transform spaces ranging from inner-city pockets to large countryside parks.

Communities minister Andrew Stunell said the parks in London, Kent, Shropshire, Lancashire and Lanarkshire were green lungs and venues for local activities.

But HLF head of parks Drew Bennellick said: "My worry is will people still realise the value of parks at this time of big cuts? Parks are more under threat than other council services. We hope all our investment has shown their value.

"We hope local decision makers on budgets continue to support parks and local people continue to fight for them. The looming comprehensive spending review makes people nervous about funding applications and finding partners for funds.

"The worry is people won't apply for grants, and if we have fewer applications it's harder to argue to our board the case that we need millions of pounds. So we still want to see applications and can fund up to 70 per cent of projects."

Mote Park in Maidstone scooped £1.8m for upkeep of grounds and a pavilion. Telford Town Park in Shropshire will use £2.1m for historic restoration and £478,000 for Whaley Bridge Memorial Park in Derbyshire will go on planting, woods and wildlife.

Lordship Recreation Ground in Tottenham will spend £3.8m on woods, flowerbeds and training. Mesnes Park in Wigan will buy £1.9m worth of restoration, while £551,500 for Cambuslang Park in Lanarkshire will pay for repairs and more events.

HLF chief executive Carole Souter commented on the Parks for People funding: "This money shows our commitment. It's not just restoration work that matters. Grants protect our wildlife, help volunteers learn new skills and get local people involved."

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