Rethinking Parks case study

Initial feasibility work was carried out as part of the National Trust's project 'Endowing parks for the 21st century'. This was one of eleven successful UK projects selected to take part in Nesta's Rethinking Parks programme. 

Rethinking Parks - a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Nesta - was 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.
As a Rethinking Parks grantee 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. The grant enabled the National Trust to work closely with Sheffield City Council to test the feasibility of the endowment model.
By working with a local authority we were able to test assumptions in a live context, enabling us to be more confident that our recommendations are robust. Assumptions used as part of the development of the model have also been benchmarked against National Trust operations and other parks trusts in order to produce an operating model that is as accurate as possible.
A final report about the Rethinking Parks programme was launched in February 2016 and can be found on Nesta's page, Learning to Rethink Parks.

The Parks Trust journey

In the Rethinking Parks pilot, we did not start out with the aim of modeling a Parks Trust. Our aim was to test options for a city-wide, strategic approach to managing parks that protected them from cuts and enabled them to deliver more public benefits. We ended up with the concept of a People's Parks Trust. 


The following diagram represents the journey that emerged from our work in Sheffield and might be useful when considering the components that your project team will need to consider. 

Illustration showing the Parks Trust journey, from setting up a project team to implementation


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