Groundwork has partnered with Fields in Trust and National Youth Agency to deliver 'Future Proof Parks', a Heritage Lottery Fund programme - part of the £10m 'Kick the Dust' initiative - 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' parks groups and volunteer to preserve the local spaces that matter to the communities they live in.
The initiative will also work with 60 'friends of' parks groups to give them the tools, encouragement, and support to get more local young people involved in their work and to see the benefits of cross-generational working.
The programme also aims to create various crowdfunding campaigns to help raise money for the local parks and to test new ways of generating income as well as engaging the local community.
The project will focus on historic parks and heritage landscapes in five 'hub' locations across England. In each hub young people will be supported give their time and talents to support local groups and heritage organisations attached to sites in the North East, North West, West Midlands, West, and East of England.
Did You Know?
Chase Park, Gateshead, in the North East of England was the residence of several prosperous local professional gentleman, industrialists and merchants, including the Leaton and Wilkinson families? The earliest evidence of people living there is in 1714!
West Park, South Shields, is one of the oldest parks in South Shields, created in 1895
North Blackpool Pond Trail in Blackpool, in the North West, has some very important flagship ponds for wildlife - mostly over 200 years old!
In the West Midlands, Silver Jubilee Park in Sandwell & Dudley, opened in 1934 and was created to mark the 25th year of the reign of King George V
In the West of England, Stoke Park – the historic estate of the Berkeley family - was recently used by the NHS as a mental health hospital, and has now been redeveloped by the Stoke Park Restoration Trust
And in the East of England, Memorial Park in Luton was presented to the people of Luton by Lady Ludlow on the 12th June 1920 in memory of her son Alex Piggott Werner, who was killed in action in 1916 during the First World War
To find out more about the Kick the Dust programme, visit the Heritage Lottery Fund website
Want to get involved? Why not join our Young People's Action Group?
Leigh Middleton, Chief Executive Officer at 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 for the programme. The 17 self-titled ‘Dust Kickers’ aged 16-25 were recruited from across the UK to work with HLF on making heritage more inclusive for people in their age group and advised HLF’s decision panel on the projects they found to be most appealing.
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