About us

The National Trust has brought together a range of partners to explore an alternative future for parks.  Together we created a vision for parks and green spaces in which they provide more benefits to more people and enjoy secure long-term, sustainable funding.


Our original feasibility work was part funded by the Rethinking Parks programme - a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Nesta – which provided a £1m fund to find and support organisations and partnerships to develop, implement and spread new approaches to sustaining and making the most of UK public parks.


Our project, 'Endowing parks for the 21st century' was one of eleven successful UK projects selected to take part in Rethinking Parks. We received grant funding of up to £100,000 and a package of non-financial support to develop, implement and test our idea through to December 2015. 


National Trust worked with Social Finance and Shared Assets to test the feasibility of an endowment model for parks and present the findings of this work in this toolkit.


We are now working in partnership with Newcastle City Council as they look to establish a charitable trust to care for many of their parks and green spaces.


You can find out more about the partners below. 

National Trust

We're a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy.  More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything we do. We look after special places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for ever, for everyone.  
As a charity we rely for income on membership fees, donations and legacies, and revenue raised from our commercial operations. We have over 4.5 million members and 62,000 volunteers. More than 20 million people visit our pay for entry properties, while an estimated 100 million visit our open air properties. We protect and open to the public over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments.
Our national ten-year strategy, Playing our part (PDF, 1.92MB), asks what the nation needs from the National Trust in the 21st century and encourages us to contribute to special places beyond our own properties.
We know that parks are immensely valued by communities and provide important environmental benefits. That's why we're working with others to explore transformative solutions to the funding and management of parks and urban green spaces.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

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. More than £850million of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in parks since 1996.


Our recent report, State of UK Public Parks 2016, outlined the financial challenges facing parks in light of local authority budget reductions and called on local and national government, communities and businesses to explore innovative ways to fund and maintain public parks.


We awarded Newcastle City Council £237,500 to test one such possible approach. HLF has invested more than £12million in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund to restore and upgrade some of Newcastle’s historic parks. This further funding will help protect that past investment and progress and further test ideas developed through the HLF-funded Rethinking Parks project. By sharing the development of these projects it is hoped that all those who manage and fund parks will learn from this pioneering work.


Social Finance

Social Finance is a not for profit organisation that partners with the government, the social sector and the financial community to find better ways of tackling social problems in the UK and beyond.
Our unique 70 member team comprises individuals with substantial financial, consulting and social expertise who share a common passion for solving entrenched social problems.
Since we started in 2007, Social Finance has mobilised over £100 million of investment and designed a series of programmes to tackle social challenges. These include support for 2,000 short sentence offenders released from Peterborough Prison, 380 children on the edge of care in Essex, 2,500 young people at risk of becoming NEET and 1,400 rough sleepers in London. We are also alleviating fuel poverty for over 4,000 families in Sunderland, enabling 15,000 families to access nursery places and free children’s services, and providing 7,500 affordable micro loans in Wales.
We are keen to apply our experience and expertise to solving the question of the future of parks. 

Shared Assets

At Shared Assets we make land work for everyone. We support the development of new models of managing land that are sustainable and productive, create livelihoods, enhance the environment, and involve local people in making decisions about the places they care about. We provide advice, support and training, undertake research, and advocate for changes in the way we manage land.
Shared Assets is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with the aim of developing and promoting new models of common good land use. Since we launched in 2012 we have rapidly developed a growing reputation as experts in this pioneering field.
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