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National Lottery Heritage Fund - Future Proof Parks

Groundwork has partnered with Fields in Trust and National Youth Agency to deliver 'Future Proof Parks', a National Lottery Heritage 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' park groups and volunteer to preserve the local spaces that matter to the communities they live in. 

In order to do this successfully, the initiative will also work with 60 'friends of' park 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 parks

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 the following sites:

North East

  • Chase Park, Gateshead - it 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 1714.

  • Elba Park, Houghton, Sunderland - a community park on the site of the former Lambton Cokeworks. The site has a long industrial history being a mine, a brickworks, a tile works and finally a cokeworks

  • West Park, South Shields - the park is one of the oldest in South Shields created in 1895.  

  • North and South Marine Parks, South Shields – two of three municipal seaside parks which were developed in the 1870s on a former brickyard and dump, transforming an ugly industrial landscape into one of the most charming promenades in the country.

North West

  • Rivington Terraced Gardens – originally created as private gardens for the industrialist Lord Leverhulme by the renowned designer Thomas Mawson.

  • Winckley Square Gardens, Preston – one of the finest Georgian squares outside of London, containing several listed buildings of architectural importance and a public park.

  • North Blackpool Pond Trail, Bisham, Blackpool - has some very important flagship ponds for wildlife, mostly over 200 years old. 

  • Amberswood, Wigan - established on the site of a former colliery (Amberswood Colliery/Moss Colliery) and later 20th-century opencast mining. 

 West Midlands

  • Handsworth Park, Handsworth – founded in 1888 by the Handsworth Local Sanitary Board. At that time it was called Victoria Park.  The park was significantly restored between 2004 and 2006.

  • Deer’s Leap Wood, Birmingham – the Wood can be traced back to Medieval times when both it and the surrounding area formed part of the large Rotton Park estate, characterised by woods and meadows. More recently the site became synonymous with the world famous Mitchells & Butlers (M & B) Brewery which adopted the ‘Leaping Deer’ as its company motif for over 100 years.

  • Tividale Park, Oldbury - The name Tividale comes from Tividale Hall which was demolished in 1927. One of its most notable resident was Lady Elizabeth Monnis, circa 1703.

  • Mary Stevens Park – originally the site of Heath Glassworks, which manufactured glass bottles. The park was purchased in 1929 by Ernest Stevens who dedicated it to the memory of his wife, Mary, who devoted her life to helping those that were unable to help themselves, in particular children and young women.


  • Stoke Park – the historic estate of the Berkeley family, recently used by the NHS as a mental health hospital, and now redeveloped by the Stoke Park Restoration Trust.

  • Blaise Castle – a historic landscape used as a 'pleasure park' by a succession of private owners containing a folly castle, deer park and Blaise Castle House Museum.

  • Trooper’s Hill –  home to the iconic Grade 2 listed chimney at the top of the hill in East Bristol which may date from as early as the eighteenth century.

  • Eastville Park - a large Victorian park with an ornamental lake, woodlands and wildflower meadows situated two miles north-east of Bristol city centre.

  • Manor Woods Valley, Bristol – dating back to the times of the Domesday Book, this park survived the industrial revolution and remained a strip of land surrounded by urban development.  In 1998 Manor Woods became part of the Bishopsworth and Malago Conservation Area which provides additional protection against unsuitable development.


  • Cedars Park, Broxbourne - original site of a now ruined 16th Century royal palace, protected and improved through a Parks for People award.

  • Howard Park and Gardens, Letchworth Garden City – created as a central part of Ebenezer Howard’s vision for the world’s first garden city.

  • Harlow Town Park, Essex - Harlow Town Park was designed by Dame Sylvia Crowe and opened in 1957.  

  • Barclay Park, Broxbourne – named after Robert Buchanan Barclay, director of Barclay’s Bank, who took ownership of the estate in 1871.  Following his death, the land was restored under the management of the local council and had its official opening in 1937 to celebrate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

If you would like further information, please email or click here to visit the Kick the Dust website.