Public Parks Benefit from £850 Million
Historic public parks and cemeteries across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom have benefited to the tune of £850 million since 1996, and it is all thanks to the money raised for good causes by lottery players. The Heritage Lottery Fund began investing in parks in the very same year that the National Lottery itself was first launched, and so far over 800 parks and cemeteries have been given a new lease of life.
Whilst this achievement is well worth celebrating, the Heritage Lottery Fund has pointed out that there is still plenty more to be done. A State of the Public Parks report, which was published just over two years ago, revealed that, although parks in the UK were in a good state after almost two decades of investment, they were also ‘at serious risk of slipping back into decline, as they did in the 1970s and 1980s.’ That is why the Heritage Lottery Fund, in association with the Big Lottery Fund, continues to award grants to parks through its Parks for People programme.
Parks for People awards grants of anything from £100,000 to £5,000,000, and applicants have to go through a rigorous two-stage process to receive one. These grants are important not just for the restoration of the parks and cemeteries concerned, but also for their ongoing care and conservation.
It has been estimated that parks across the UK are visited over 2.6 billion times each year, and the amount of money raised for their upkeep by park friends and user groups is estimated to be around £30 million per year. However, with councils around the country having had to make some deep budget cuts over the last few years, parks have suffered from an enforced tightening of their purse strings, and without lottery funding they would be in danger of degenerating quite rapidly, much to the detriment of the communities they serve.
So, the next time you buy a lottery ticket, remember that you are not only giving yourself the chance to win a life-changing prize for yourself, but you are also helping to raise money for good causes, including the regeneration of parks in your area and across the UK as a whole. And if that win-win situation isn’t something to smile about this summer, we don’t know what is.Wednesday 10th August 2016
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