THE Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has conducted a three-month consultation inviting views on the future of Lottery funding for heritage to help shape its strategy from 2013 to 2019.
As one of the UK's biggest supporters of historic parks, HLF has already invested £527m in the restoration of 550 parks and wants to hear people's views on future support for the Parks for People programme. Demand for funding is still high, with 46% of local authorities having already been awarded a grant for their park; however, a surprising 36% have not yet come forward for advice or funding help.
The HLF was particularly interested in hearing from the parks/landscapes sector. Head of Landscape, Drew Bennellick, commented: "The Heritage Lottery Fund knows people are passionate about their local parks and wants to hear their opinions on how we can best look after them in the future. We can only devise the very best strategy by listening closely to the partners, funders, organisations and individuals who are involved in and enthusiastic about the UK's heritage.
"These are challenging times for people involved in looking after our much-loved parks and gardens. We, like them, are committed to protecting these green spaces and look forward to hearing people's views."
Local events around the UK and a targeted media campaign also helped to capture more personal and local views and ideas for the future.
London parks to have received recent funding from HLF/BIG include Lordship Recreation Ground, Tottenham (£3.8m) and Wandle Park, Croydon (£1.9m).
The Heritage Lottery Fund will spend £250m on new grants during the new financial year (2011-12) - £45m more than the previous year.
This news is the result of the recently confirmed increase in the share of Lottery funding available for heritage and continuing healthy National Lottery ticket sales.
£17m of the extra money has been allocated to four programmes, whose new budgets are as follows:
John Penrose MP, Minister for Heritage, commented: "The founding vision of the National Lottery was that it should primarily benefit the arts, sport, heritage and the voluntary sector, but this got lost along the way. I'm pleased the recent share change has put this right and that organisations who will need support from the Heritage Lottery Fund will quickly feel the benefit. This increase in funding is fantastic news for all those organisations and charities who will secure grants, ensuring our wonderful heritage is protected for years to come."
HLF has already announced a higher allocation for grants of over £5m-£30m in 2011 -12. In addition, it has made some changes to its procedures in response to the challenges facing potential and current applicants, including relaxing its match funding requirements for those who are finding it hard to raise funds elsewhere to just 10% of overall grant for grants over £1m and 5% for grants under £1m.