Nesta – Rethinking Parks Fund
The new £2 million Rethinking Parks Fund has been set up by the Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Nesta, working in partnership, to support innovative ideas to address the challenges faced by parks across the UK. The previous Rethinking Parks fund ran in 2014.
The funding will be split between:
Prototyping awards to support ideas that use technology; digital tools and data in ways that will ultimately support parks to attract resources and develop more sustainable operating models and will favour ideas that can demonstrate a clear link to this wider aim.
Replication awards to replicate and run promising and innovative operating models for parks, especially those that can draw upon that which was learned in the 2014 Rethinking Parks programme. There is particular interest in organisations that are interested in setting up a Parks Foundation or including a focus on parks within a Business Improvement District.
The programme defines ‘parks as public open spaces laid out formally for leisure and recreation. They might include lakes, ponds, lidos, woodland, flowerbeds, shrubs, ornamental trees, play areas, formal and informal pitches, bowling greens, tennis courts, footpaths, band stands, toilets, cafés and car parks; and parts of some parks might be managed as natural biodiversity and wildlife areas or community growing areas. This programme does include country parks, seafront gardens and city/town green squares with free public access. Cemeteries, commons, greens and recs are not excluded where they are part of a wider proposal, but they should not be the primary focus for a proposal’.
Essential eligibility criteria:
Not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and local authorities can apply for either award.
To eligible, applicants must:
Be based in the UK.
Have identified a public park/s or park service/s to work with.
Applicants that not the landowner should have agreement or strong likelihood of getting agreement from the landowner to develop the innovation.
Proposals will be accepted from organisations working in partnership as long as one eligible organisation is nominated as the lead.
All applicants must be able to demonstrate:
Capability and capacity. – Skills, understanding, and demonstrable commitment to embark on challenging, innovative programmes of work.
Engagement and partnerships – A demonstrable and appropriate approach to working with the community and relevant local partners
Sustainability – Demonstrate potential contribution towards more financially sustainable ways of managing parks that are appropriate to local circumstances.
Impact – Will create positive societal and environmental outcomes.
Replication Award applicants need to show that they are well placed to replicate and run some of the most promising and innovative operating models for parks – particularly drawing from what was learned in the Rethinking Parks programme in 2014.
Prototyping Awards applicants need to show their innovation makes a clear link between the digital or data aspect of the project and the potential impact on specific challenges that parks face. There is interest in any additional benefits generated through taking an open source approach.