Opinion Former Article

Big Lottery Fund: £11million Lottery bonanza for parks as national photo competition is launched

A number of parks across the UK are set to share in more than £11million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG), it was announced today. Clifton Park in Rotherham, Roberts Park in Bradford, The Rose Garden in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and South Park Gardens in Wimbledon, London, will all share in the lottery millions, which will help to transform and regenerate these much loved community spaces.

Coinciding with this major investment is the return of the 'Postcards from the Park' photography competition. HLF and BIG have once again joined forces with GreenSpace, the parks charity, to launch this year's contest, which will encourage people to capture images showing what they love most about the UK's public parks.

Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

"Parks play such an important role for local communities, bringing people together and providing a much needed breathing space in built up areas. Money from the Heritage Lottery Fund has played a vital part in the renaissance of our historic parks over the last 14 years, and these latest awards mean thousands more people will have a park that they can feel safe in, enjoy and be really proud of."

Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, added:

"Healthy living continues to be on the top of the agenda and our parks play a vital role in improving wellbeing, the environment and community life. Our continued investment in 'Parks for People' will ensure that communities will benefit from this funding all year round from spring gardens in bloom to snowmen in winter and the transformation will last for future generations to enjoy for years to come."

Transforming Clifton Park
Clifton Park is Rotherham's premier green space, occupying a 56 acre site surrounding Clifton Park Museum, which opened in 1891.

Thanks to today's £4.5million grant from HLF and BIG, historic features such as the Memorial Garden, Cenotaph and Memorial Rock Garden will be repaired. Improvements will also be made to the main pedestrian routes in the park, and original paths such as the Scarp walk will be reinstated. A purpose built Garden House and restored bandstand are amongst the other facilities that will offer visitors and community groups even more space for events and activities.

Restoring Roberts Park
Roberts Park in Bradford, formerly known as Saltaire or Salts Park, is the much-loved area situated on the north side of Saltaire, a purpose-built "model" Victorian industrial village created by 19th-century industrialist and philanthropist Sir Titus Salt.

The £3.2million grant from HLF and BIG will restore lost features such as the bandstand and renovate three Grade II listed shelters, pavilions and the East Park lodge. The statue of Sir Titus Salt will also be restored. Facilities including a new play area will be added too.

Sweet smell of success for the Rose Garden
Designed and created in 1912 by Thomas Mawson, one of the great landscape architects of his period, the Rose Garden in Bushey is located in a conservation area and contains several Grade II buildings which have deteriorated over the years. The Sunken Garden, one of its most prominent features, has been closed due to vandalism.

Thanks to a grant of £942,000, this wonderful garden, which plays an important role in the Bushey community, will have many of its listed features such as the summer house, paved areas and pergola (frames for training plants) restored. The Sunken Garden will be repaired and re-opened to the public.

South Park Gardens set to return to its former glory
Grade II listed South Park Gardens in Wimbledon, London, was originally laid out Beaux Arts style in 1900 with perimeter shrubberies, serpentine paths, scattered trees, a drinking fountain and a bandstand. These historic and horticultural features have helped make it a well used and popular green space in a densely populated area.

A £1million cash injection from HLF and BIG will transform the gardens, including the reinstatement of the bandstand area, restoration of the original drinking fountain and re-planting trees and shrubs to the original design.

Park plans worth £32million are set to be developed
11 more parks across the country are celebrating today as they have been given the go-ahead* to develop detailed applications for grants totalling £32million - they are set to receive £1.74million in development funding to assist them in putting together more detailed plans and proposals:
. Spinney Hill Park, Leicester (£107,500)
. Lloyd and Aveling Park, London (£167,000)
. Lordship Recreation Ground, London (£235,000)
. Stewart Park, Middlesbrough (£280,000)
. Barnes Park, Sunderland (£43,600)
. Queen's Park, Bolton (£190,000)
. Avenham & Miller Parks, Preston (£63,000)
. Stamford Park, Tameside (£203,500)
. Chances Park, Carlisle (£22,300)
. South Hill Park, Bracknell (£209,00)
. Walsall Arboretum (£220,000)

Every completed park project will be expected to aim for the 'Green Flag' - demonstrating quality standards of care and upkeep.

Get snapping with Postcards from the Park and win £1,000 in Jessops vouchers
The competition is being launched to celebrate what we all love most about the UK's public parks and it will encourage thousands of people to capture what they most appreciate about their local park.

'Postcards from the Park' runs from May until 1st August 2008, with £1,000 in Jessops vouchers up for grabs for the overall winner. The best entries from all over the UK will be featured in a national exhibition in September and turned into postcards for distribution in Lottery-funded venues nationwide.

Photographer and chief judge of the competition, Mike McCartney, said:
"Last year's competition really proved how popular parks are and I was so impressed by the standard of entries. 'Postcards from the Park' is once again a fantastic opportunity to introduce the nation to the great love photography can bring."

Anyone can take part by logging onto www.postcardsfromthepark.org.uk - the website is packed with hints and tips on how to take that perfect photo. Photos taken on mobile phones can also be submitted via MMS by texting PARKS followed by the photographers name and where the photo has been taken in the subject header to 0780 3851 600. The MMS will be charged at the mobile telephone operator's standard rate.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

* The 'Parks for People' programme has a two-stage application process. At Stage One, an organisation can apply for a development grant to contribute to the costs of developing the project for a Stage Two application. If a Stage One Pass is awarded, with or without development funding, it does not guarantee a full grant at Stage Two.

The 'Parks for People' programme invests Lottery good cause money in regenerating public parks across UK. The initiative aims to improve the local environment and put parks firmly back at the heart of community life. The two Lottery Funds are working in partnership to deliver this multi-million pound investment of up to £160million over three years. The Big Lottery Fund is investing £90 million (in England) and up to £70million is coming from HLF.

Grants in the Parks for People programme range from £250,000 to £5million with two rounds of funding each year. The next deadline for round applications is 30 September 2008 with next round of grant awards is September 2008.

'Parks for People' is a joint grants programme for public parks in England. HLF provides funding for the programme for parks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The scheme is being administered by the HLF.

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

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) 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 26,000 projects, allocating over £4billion across the UK. For details on future funding for parks and all other HLF programmes from 2008 to 2013, visit www.hlf.org.uk

HLF has already invested more than £400million in nearly 300 historic public parks, gardens, squares and promenades right across the UK.

The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has invested more than £700 million on environmental initiatives to date. For more information, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

The BIG rolls out close to £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across the UK most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project. The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.

Good Causes - 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. There are 12 other organisations responsible for distributing lottery money to good causes. www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

For further information, please contact:
Dervish Mertcan or Alex Gaskell at HLF's press office on 020 7591 6102 / 6032
Email: dervishm@hlf.org.uk Out of hours: 07973 613820

Jonathan Hall at the BIG press office on 020 7211 1818
Email: Jonathan.Hall@biglotteryfund.org.uk
Out of hours: 07867 500 572

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