About this toolkit

This toolkit shares our learning from our project to develop a sustainable, alternative model for the financing and management of public parks.


With initial feasibility funding from Nesta's Rethinking Parks programme, the National Trust worked with Sheffield City Council and partners to design and test a new model for financing and managing parks. 


The toolkit is primarily designed to support local authorities interested in the Parks Trust model by sharing with them with the wealth of insight and advice that we have gathered over the past two years of research and testing, not just as part of the Rethinking Parks project but other related work. It highlights the key stages that we understand a local authority will need to go through, and highlights the key questions that need to be answered at each stage. You can find out more about the partnership behind the model and toolkit in About us


The toolkit has been endorsed by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and author of HLF’s State of UK Public Parks 2016, Peter Neal.


"With over 20 years' experience of investing money raised through the National Lottery, HLF realises the urgent need to identify and explore sustainable new approaches to funding and managing the UK’s public parks. We are delighted to see this toolkit being made available to all and look forward to seeing how it can be used to help protect ours, and others', past investments in the UK’s parks and green spaces" - HLF.


"The State of UK Public Parks 2016 report highlights that a growing number of local authorities are now exploring alternative management models for their parks and green spaces. Parks Trusts and Endowments offer important options to consider and this toolkit provides a useful set of resources to inform this process" - Peter Neal.

The toolkit is designed to follow the journey of a Parks Trust - from setting up a project team to implementation. We've produced this toolkit in the spirit of sharing learning, and it is a snapshot of our learning to date. It will continue to evolve as our work develops. If you have any feedback on the toolkit, we would be grateful if you could take a minute to complete our survey on the Your feedback page. Your responses will help us shape future content on this site. 
The model is based on informed assumptions, but local circumstances mean this is not a one-size fits all approach; local authorities should still carry out their own due diligence to check feasibility. 
Photograph of a strimmer cutting grass in a park