The programme has been launched by Nesta, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund.
Voluntary and community sector organisations and public sector organisations from across the UK may apply for grants of between £50,001 and £100,000 as well as nonfinancial support to carry out their innovative ideas to make the UK's public parks financially sustainable.
The grants programme will help park managers and those responsible for park funding and maintenance to test new options for generating income and managing their park. Grants can be used to fund new staff, external consultancy and advice, training for staff and volunteers, publicity and marketing, equipment and limited capital works.
Nesta has published a report, Rethinking Parks: Exploring New Business Models for Parks in the 21st Century, to coincide with the launch of the programme.
The report looks at existing ideas and innovations for managing parks across the programme’s four themes:
- To support changes in park management and maintenance systems.
- To encourage new organisational partnerships.
- To identify more diverse sources of funding and resources.
- To explore new uses and activities within parks.
There is a two stage application process.
The first stage is a series of free workshops and training sessions, which organisations are strongly encouraged to attend. The free workshops will be held in January 2014 to provide information about how to submit an Expression of Interest for funding.
The workshops are currently scheduled for:
- London - 14 January.
- Edinburgh - 23 January.
- Cardiff - 28 January.
- Belfast - 30 January.
Those who cannot attend these workshops may attend an online workshop on either 16 January or 21 January.
Shortlisted organisations from Stage 1 will be invited to attend a practical innovation workshop in March 2014. Expressions of Interest will be reviewed and shortlisted organisations invited to submit a proposal.
Organisations interested in attending the January workshops should register their interest on the Nesta website
The second stage will see shortlisted organisations submitting their full proposals in April 2014. Grant recipients will have 18 months (from July 2014 to December 2015) to implement their innovations.
(This report was the subject of a GRANTfinder Newsflash.)