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PUBLIC PARKS WIN MILLIONS IN NATIONAL LOTTERY

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The future of our parks looks much brighter today thanks to a major boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and ...
The future of our parks looks much brighter today thanks to a major boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund.

The two lottery funds have awarded development grants of over£1m to five local authorities, giving them the green light to go ahead in their plans for a bid totalling over£20m to transform and regenerate some of our best loved parks.

This round of funding for parks in London, Newcastle, Bradford, Rotherham and West Bromwich is among the first from the new 'Parks for People' programme - a scheme which is designed to invest lottery good cause money in parks right across the UK. They join a further seven parks in Bushey in Hertfordshire, Merton and Hounslow in London, Wigan, Keswick, Worcester and Ellesmere in Shropshire, which received development grants in September worth£480,000 to help them work up plans for projects in excess of£8.3m.

Chris Beardshaw, environmentalist and TV presenter, added:

'After years of decline it is wonderful that parks are to be re-awakened thanks to Lottery funding. It is essential that these urban spaces, originally designed as green lungs, are revitalised, managed and cared for - transforming neglected spaces into a multitude of wildlife habitats, recreational spaces and inspirational focal points for the entire community.'

Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said:

'This is great news for all the people who visit our parks every year and a perfect example of how Lottery bodies can work together and combine their expertise and resources to make a long-lasting impact. Thanks to lottery funding, these parks can look forward to a brighter future which will benefit people and local communities for years to come.'

This ground-breaking programme has been designed to improve the local environment and encourage communities to get actively involved in their local park. The two Lottery Funds are working in partnership to deliver this multi-million pound investment of up to£160m over three years. The Big Lottery Fund is investing£90m and up to£70m is coming from HLF. The scheme will be administered by the HLF, which has been regenerating historic parks for the past 10 years to the tune of over£400m. The Big Lottery Fund has invested over£514m in environment initiatives.

'This is wonderful news,' said Liz Forgan, chair of the HLF: 'Heritage Lottery money has already played a vital role in the renaissance of our historic parks over the past decade but there is so much more to be done. This additional investment will mean many more people will enjoy a nearby park they can be really proud of.'

Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, added: 'Parks are a vital free space in which people of all generations and backgrounds can come together. Whether you walk the dog or like to jog, this Parks for People investment will make a huge difference to your park by transforming it into a more attractive and safer place to be.'

The scheme will create trainingopportunities through which staff and volunteers can learn new skills to look after their parks. Funding will also be used to conserve and improve the heritage value of parks, improve access and provide new community facilities. Every completed park project will be expected to aim for the 'Green Flag' - demonstrating quality standards of care and upkeep.

Grants in the 'Parks for People' scheme range from£250,000 to£5m with two rounds of funding each year. The next round of grants is due to be awarded in March and September 2007.

Notes

CD-ROM application packs can be obtained by calling 020 7591 6042. Further information can be found by visiting www.hlf.org.uk.

Out of every pound spent on a National Lottery ticket, 28p goes directly to

good causes. The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for distributing half of the money to improve communities and the lives of people most in need. HLF distributes 16.67 % of the money to heritage projects across the UK. www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

The five parks receiving development funding announced today are:

Brockwell Park is a 128 acre park located in Herne Hill, Lambeth, and is home to the famous Brockwell Lido and the Grade 2*-listed Brockwell Hall. It also boasts duck ponds, a café, a bowling green, a BMX track, a playground and children's miniature train. It has been awarded a development grant of£196,000.

Dartmouth Park is located next to West Bromwich Town Centre with dramatic views across Sandwell Valley with the War Memorial and Central Avenue forming the main focal point. It has been awarded a development grant of£295,000.

Clifton Park is Rotherham's premier urban park. Highlights of the park include the Children's Playground area, the Rock Garden, the Bandstand, the Memorial Garden, the Big Beech Tree and the Clifton Park Museum. It has been awarded a development grant of£290,000.

Roberts Park formerly known as Saltaire Park, is divided into three areas: gardens, sports fields and the river. The principal building of the park is a 19th-century pavilion. The park has been awarded a development grant of£114,800.

Ouseburn Parks is a linear corridor of parks in central Newcastle. The proposed scheme will greatly enhance access into the parks, create a new visitor/education centre, improve the ever popular Pet's Corner and preserve many of the listed buildings, structures and ancient monuments. It has been awarded a development grant of£188,000.

Big Lottery Fund is the joint operating name of the New Opportunities Fund and the National Lottery Charities Board (which made grants under the name of the Community Fund). The Big Lottery Fund, launched on 1 June 2004, is distributing half of all National Lottery good cause funding across the UK.

The Big Lottery Fund is building on the experience and best practice of the merged bodies to simplify funding in those areas where they overlap and to ensure Lottery funding provides the best possible value for money. To date, the two merged Funds have committed more than£6bn to initiatives with national, regional and local partners from the public, voluntary, charity and private sectors, with a particular focus on disadvantage. The Big Lottery Fund has invested£514m on environmental initiatives to date. www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

The Heritage Lottery Fund enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings, to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation's heritage for everyone to enjoy. HLF has supported more than 18,000 projects, allocating over£3.5bn across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk

The Heritage Lottery Fund has so far committed over£400m to more than 275 public parks, gardens, squares and promenades across the UK, including Battersea Park in London, Mowbray Park and Winter Gardens in Sunderland, Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Alexandra Park in Oldham and Queen's Square in Bristol.

'Parks for People' is a joint grants programme for public parks in England. HLF provide funding for parks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For information on over 500 free parks to discover and enjoy across the UK, see the Good Parks Guide 2006-2007 produced by GreenSpace and the Royal Horticultural Society.

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