Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Rethinking Parks in Redcar and Cleveland draws in £194,000 in funding

Rethinking Parks in Redcar and Cleveland

PARK users in Redcar and Cleveland can look forward to a bright future as Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has today voted in favour of establishing a new Foundation to manage eight much-loved parks. The Council has secured £194,000 in funding to form a Parks Foundation from Rethinking Parks, a joint project between The Big Lottery, The Heritage Lottery Fund, and Nesta, supporting park innovators across the UK to adapt to changing circumstances. The Park Foundation, made up of trustees from the community, local businesses and the Council, will take over the day-to-day management of Flatts Lane Woodland Country Park, Guisborough Forest and Walkway, Eston Recreation Ground, Locke Park, Zetland Park, Borough Park, King George V Playing Fields and Marshall Drive Playing Fields, Brotton.

While the Council will remain the owner of the parks, the Foundation will deliver maintenance, litter picking and be responsible for future developments and all commercial activity such as cafes and events. The Parks Foundation will have greater autonomy over commercial endeavours to raise revenue and can access funding unavailable to a Council, such as grants, corporate sponsorship, individual donations and crowdfunding. The Council has committed to financially supporting the Foundation with the budget for maintenance which will remain at its current level.

Councillor Alec Brown, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Fifty local authorities put in a bid to Nesta for funding, and we were one of only eight to receive a financial award. “Our aim is to create community-led parks, parks that are run by local people and businesses to the benefit of the local community. Nesta recognised the strong working partnership we already have with the park’s Friends groups and voluntary sector, and clearly consider our Foundation proposal to be a workable solution to securing the ongoing future of the parks. “Of course we can’t do this alone so we’ve consulted with Friends groups associated with the parks, Groundworks North East, Beyond Housing, sports clubs like New Marske Harriers and Redcar Football Club, charities such as The Junction Foundation and Age UK and several leading businesses including PD Ports and MGT Teesside.They’re all on board with the project and we’re keen to move forward with the next phase which is the formation of the Park Foundation itself.”

Amy Solder, Project lead at Nesta, said: “Parks are wonderful free public resources that communities treasure. “They support health and wellbeing as well as provide spaces for socialising, play, activity and a connection to nature. Nesta aims to help parks, and the people who run them, to innovate to keep them free, open and truly valued community spaces. “Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s proposal reflected our ambitions by putting people at the heart of a bold and ambitious parks foundation to creating vibrant parks at the centre of their communities." It’s envisaged that the Parks Foundation will include a management board made up of local stakeholders, including businesses wishing to work on the project as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility by supplying finance, staff time or specialist services. Formation of the Parks Foundation will begin in January 2020

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