A new research project which could benefit parks in West Leeds has been launched, following growing concerns over the future of public parks and spaces, writes Kerry Murphy.
The project considers the role local people and businesses can play in improving and sustaining public parks for future generations.
The University of Leeds and partners from local charity, community and public sectors have developed an online survey to find out what individuals and businesses think about charitable giving to improve their parks and green spaces.
The project is part of a national scheme called Rethinking Parks that aims to develop promising and innovative new operating models for parks across the country. The scheme is funded by Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Nesta.
The Leeds project is based around Leeds Parks Fund, a charitable initiative hosted by Leeds Community Foundation that provides an opportunity for people to make charitable donations to fund community led initiatives that will improve access and engagement as well as facilities in parks.
Money raised through the Fund will go towards improving parks and other public green spaces in Leeds, providing grants to communities for restoration of historic features such as bandstands, planting new floral displays, providing wildlife habitats and improving playgrounds, paths, sports facilities and much more.
Lynda Kitching, Chair of Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum, said
“The Forum is delighted to be involved with this national project to investigate new ways to generate funds for public green space. If Leeds Parks Fund is successful, community groups will be able to apply for a grant to improve their local park or green space. Evidence shows that the natural environment has many benefits, including for peoples’ mental and physical health, so any opportunity to make them more attractive to visitors is to be applauded”
Parks are used by 91% of the city’s residents and West Leeds boasts one of the top five used parks with Kirkstall Abbey.
Residents are encouraged to fill in a survey giving their views on parks, which will help with potential funding opportunities. The survey can be found here and has a closing date of 31st December 2018.