July 2019

A new report has called for a national debate on who should pay for the UK’s much-loved public parks and green spaces.

It asks whether charitable donations can or should help to fill the funding gap to secure the future of parks, amid ongoing government and municipal cuts.

The report by the University of Leeds argues that charitable giving has an important role in helping bridge the funding gap and stimulating greater civic engagement

However it states that charitable donations are not a replacement for statutory funding.

The research was undertaken as part of the Rethinking Parks programme and its findings are based on online surveys with 1,434 residents and 141 business leaders, as well as focus groups and in-depth interviews with 45 business and civic participants.

In April 2019 a national workshop attended by a wide range of park stakeholders discussed the findings and strategies for promoting charitable giving to parks.

Report author Dr Anna Barker said: “Public parks are vital features of our towns and cities that provide numerous benefits for people, communities and the environment.

“But park managers require new and diverse sources of external income if parks are to survive ongoing cuts, a lack of statutory protection, and no cross-funding from other public services that benefit from the contribution parks make to wellbeing.”

“In this context, many local authorities are beginning to work with charitable partners to establish voluntary donation initiatives to help maintain and improve parks.”

Read the final report Charitable Giving to Parks and Green Spaces here

Read the Summary Findings of Charitable Giving to Parks and Green Spaces here

A summary of the workshop held on 30 April 2019 can be found here