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The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG) have announced plans to invest £100 million in parks over the next three years. The funding will be through the Parks for People programme which has been re-worked to encourage local people to get more involved in the management of their park. For the first time the scheme will provide funding to conserve historic cemeteries and offer help and advice about local term park maintenance.
The HLF and BIG have simplified the programme so that local authorities, community trusts and friends groups will be able to access funding in a more streamlined way, with grants ranging from £100,000 to £5million. The funding will be vital for parks across the United Kingdom, which as a non-statutory services, are at increasing risk from reductions to local authority revenue budgets. As Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF explained "new lottery funding for our public parks could not be more needed. We know parks are under threat from reducing revenue budgets and, as money becomes tighter, the risk of entering a cycle of boom and bust for our parks is very real. Park managers have serious concerns about their ability to maintain standards and many maintenance budgets have already been reduced to a bare minimum. Further cuts could result in the closure of toilets and catering services and the loss of security staff. Through today's summit, we want to make sure the wider values of parks are recognised and that the lessons we have already learnt are shared in order to build greater resilience for the very challenging times ahead."
Communities Minister Don Foster welcomed additional Lottery funding to support parks saying: "I am delighted that £100m of extra lottery money will be going to support parks over the next three years, getting local people involved and protecting historic monuments. With the continuing green flags scheme these new measures are a real boost for the country's parks."