Leading community, greenspace and youth charities, Groundwork, Fields in Trust and National Youth Agency, have today launched 'Future Proof Parks', a £900k National Lottery-funded programme that will engage friends of park groups with young people in an innovative bid to protect heritage parks.
Future Proof Parks will engage 880 young people across the UK in the West Midlands, East of England, West of England, North West and North East, to learn more about their local historic park heritage, encourage young people to join their local friends of park groups and volunteer to preserve the local spaces that matter to the communities they live in.
The programme will work with 60 friends of park groups to give them informal youth work skills to engage and work with young people, in order to share ideas and combine the talents of established friends of park groups, with the passion and skills of young volunteers.
The three-year programme has been awarded funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Kick the Dust programme, which aims to enable more young people to be involved in the UK’s heritage.
The programme has the support of Parks and Greenspace Minister, Rishi Sunak, who said:
Parks play a valuable role in our communities, providing vibrant locations for people to socialise, exercise and relax. It’s inspiring to see the dedication of the many Friends of Parks groups up and down the country who make huge contributions to their local green spaces.
I welcome Future Proof Parks to help us encourage more young people to get interested in, and preserve their local parks and green spaces for generations to come.
Graham Duxbury, national CEO of Groundwork, said:
Future Proof Parks is a vital tool in helping to unlock the time and talents of young people and supporting Friends of Groups in their invaluable efforts to protect local our parks and green spaces. We look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of the programme over the next three years.
Helen Griffiths, CEO of Fields in Trust, said:
Our research shows that parks and green spaces bring economic and welfare benefits to people across the UK. At a time when many are under threat it is vital that we encourage the next generation to care for and support our parks and green spaces so that people, both now and in the future, can continue to benefit from them.
Leigh Middleton, Chief Executive Officer, National Youth Agency, said:
Young people have shown time and time again that they are passionate, innovative and real ambassadors of positive change when given the opportunity. It is absolutely vital that young people are given the opportunity to participate in their local areas. Future Proof Parks is an excellent way to allow young people to exercise their unique potential and at the same time support them to develop their skills and abilities and we are proud to be a part of that.
HLF’s Heritage Ambassadors played an important part in allocating the grants. The 17 self-titled ‘Dust Kickers’ aged 16-25, recruited from across the UK to work with HLF on making heritage more inclusive for people in their age group, advised HLF’s decision panel on the projects they found to be most appealing.
Jack Welch, HLF Heritage Ambassador and member of the #IWill Campaign’s Environment Steering Group, said:
HLF’s board were very supportive of our contributions to the decisions on successful projects. It's wonderful to see young people's participation in heritage is being prioritised with this funding, especially in this project that will see more young people able to participate in the life of their local park and to feel closer to the natural world. It’s important to me that we break down barriers across the ages, so that our heritage can be preserved for the future.
Find out more about Future Proof Parks by visiting the website or on Twitter: #FutureProofParks
Notes to Editors
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About Future Proof Parks
Groundwork has partnered with Fields in Trust and National Youth Agency to deliver 'Future Proof Parks', a Heritage Lottery Fund programme that aims to get more young people interested and involved in preserving their local park and greenspace heritage.
The three-year programme will engage 880 young people across the UK in the West Midlands, East of England, West of England, North West and North East, to learn more about their local historic park heritage with the overall aim that at least 180 young people will join their local 'friends of' park groups and volunteer to preserve the local spaces that matter to the communities they live in.
About Kick the Dust
Kick the Dust was named by young people, because they wanted to stir up heritage. It is a £10m pilot grant programme, through which HLF aims to transform how heritage organisations engage with young people.
Grants of between £500,000 and £1m are awarded to projects where heritage and youth organisations collaborate to create opportunities for 11-25 year olds. Through this pilot programme, HLF aims to increase the scale and ambition of heritage organisations’ work with young people, and show what this age group has to offer heritage.
Follow Kick the Dust and our young Heritage Ambassadors on social media using #KicktheDust and #DustKickers. Find out more about the #Dustkickers work and aims here.
About Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.