Bristol awarded nearly £1 million for future of parks

Picture of local green space the Northern Slopes by Lewis Campbell.

Bristol has been awarded almost £1 million to help transform the future of local parks and green spaces.

The city was one of only eight places across the UK selected by the National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund to take part in its Future Parks programme.

Bristol City Council’s proposal was chosen from more than 80 others to receive a share of over £6m of funding and £5m worth of advice and support from some of the UK’s experts in conservation, fundraising, volunteering and green space management.

In the first project of its kind in the UK, Future Parks is designed to help councils find sustainable ways to manage and fund their parks and open spaces.

Bristol City Council submitted its plan last year to put together a ‘Bristol Parks Prospectus.’

The prospectus will outline Bristol’s green spaces, setting out areas of opportunity to enhance health and wellbeing and sustainability.

It will also explore the potential of parks and green space to accommodate business activity, including pay-to-use services “considered to be compatible with the character, role and use of a particular site”. The council says this process would not be used to ‘sell off parks’. 

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for parks and green spaces, said: “Bristol has great ambitions for our parks and green spaces, but as a council we recognise that we cannot realise these without working closely with our partners.

“In facing the challenge presented by budget cuts, we need to explore new ways to generate income to support parks.  

“The opportunity is to find partners who can add value to the parks experience within a service which is free to use and of benefit to all…

 “The Parks Prospectus will identify the potential of parks to deliver health benefits matched to areas of greatest need and invite partners to provide health-based programmes from parks including mental health and physical exercise programmes.”

Over the next two years the council will work to create new way of managing green space as well as sharing its experience with other councils.

The National Trust’s Director General, Hilary McGrady, said: “Today is a landmark moment for the nation’s urban parks. This is not just about new ways to fund and support these much-loved community spaces, but completely re-thinking the role green spaces play in our lives and how we can ensure they thrive for generations to come…”