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England’s parks set to enjoy £8million Lottery makeover

Four popular parks in England are set for a major transformation after sharing in grants totalling £8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund’s (BIG) ‘Parks for People’ initiative.

Brockwell Park in London, Whitstable Castle Park in Kent, Castle Park, Frodsham, and Hale Park, both in Cheshire, will spend the Lottery millions on regenerating and revitalising these much-loved green spaces.

Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This is wonderful news for the thousands of people who use these vital green spaces for a whole range of activities. Money from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been crucial to the renewal of hundreds of historic parks across the country, and these latest awards will mean that many more people will have a local park that they can enjoy and be proud of for generations to come.”

Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund added: “The Big Lottery Fund is pleased to be part of the renaissance of our public parks and today’s investment will help to ensure that the community gets the most of what these places have to offer. Not only will the funding help to preserve the environment for the future, it will also encourage the public to discover the natural world and enjoy the beauty of wildlife, plants and trees.”

Wesley Kerr, horticultural broadcaster and Chair of HLF's Committee for London: "The UK has perhaps the finest legacy of public parks and landscapes of any country in the world. This 'green and pleasant' inheritance needs constant maintenance, preservation and enhancement. HLF's £400 million investment in our historic environment of parks and landscapes over the past 14 years has been the biggest since Victorian times.

“Parks, gardens, pavilions, trees, flowers, waterways and conserved landscapes make our villages beautiful, our towns and cities liveable. I'm thrilled that today's four awards will help even more people enjoy and appreciate our open spaces and what they do for our health and wellbeing."

Restoring Brockwell Park to its former grandeur

Located between Brixton, Norwood and Dulwich, London‘s Brockwell Park opened in 1892. It is home to ornamental ponds, formal flower-beds, a walled ‘old English’ herbaceous flower garden, 19th-century clock tower and Brockwell Hall – a Grade II* listed historic mansion dating from 1811. The park also has a wide range of sports and recreational facilities, including Brockwell Lido, which reopened in 2007 following £500,000 of HLF funding.

This £3.5million grant will restore the historic landscaping and buildings, upgrading footpaths, entrances, furniture and signage. The Temple building, including toilets and rooms to be used by community organisations, will be repaired and refurbished and the ponds, paddling pool and children's playground will also be improved. In addition, new members of staff will be taken on to manage a programme of activities which will encourage more local people to get involved with and enjoy their park.

Whitstable’s one and only

Sited only 100 metres away from the seafront, Whitstable Castle Park is the town’s only public park. The dense green cover provided by the many mature trees gives it a secluded and intimate feel. It retains some of its original features, but unsuitable alterations to the park over many years have led to its steady decline.

With today’s grant of £2million, the Rose Garden and Lower Terrace will now be remodelled, and the 1960’s built Adams Room replaced with a new ‘Orangery’ garden room designed in the spirit of the 18th and 19th-century castle. The grant will help to restore and enhance the park, which has been cared for by volunteers for more than 30 years, and improve facilities for users.

Halton on track for park transformation

The five hectare Hale Park in the heart of the historic village of Hale, Cheshire, was once a small part of a much bigger parkland estate belonging to the residents of Hale Hall, who lived there over several centuries. Many of its features such as stone gate piers, the lodge building, prominent carriageways and boundary planting hint at this fascinating past.

The grant of £643,000 will be used to provide a community park for local people and visitors to the village, whilst still retaining its historic value. Plans include restoring original views and planting schemes. New paths to enable year round access and improved play facilities will meet the needs of modern-day users, and an exciting range of events and activities to encourage more community involvement are also planned.

Frodsham’s historic Castle Park

Castle Park was a private garden which was donated to the town of Frodsham, Cheshire in 1933 and it has been used as a public park ever since. The gardens were designed by Edward Kemp, renowned for his work on Birkenhead Park, Britain’s first public park. Mature woodland, a formal bedding scheme and an American Garden including a pond are among the many features of this beautiful green space. It is also home to Castle Park House, a one-stop shop for Vale Royal Borough Council and Castle Park Arts Centre, which houses craft retailers and provides exhibition space.

The £1.84million grant from HLF and BIG will restore the historic landscape back to Edward Kemp’s original design. The money will also be spent on improving sports facilities, the play area, and cafe and kiosk facilities.

Celebrating our parks with the Postcards from the Park photo competition

Launched by HLF and BIG to celebrate what we all love most about the UK’s public parks, the ‘Postcards from the Park’ photography competition runs until 1st August 2008, with £1,000 in Jessops vouchers up for grabs for the overall winner. The best entries from all over the UK will be featured in a national exhibition in September and turned into postcards for distribution in Lottery-funded venues nationwide.

Photographer and chief judge of the competition, Mike McCartney, said: “Last year’s competition really proved how popular parks are and I was so impressed by the standard of entries. ‘Postcards from the Park’ is once again a fantastic opportunity to introduce the nation to the great love photography can bring.”

Anyone can take part by logging onto www.postcardsfromthepark.org.uk - the website is packed with hints and tips on how to take that perfect photo. Photos taken on mobile phones can also be submitted via MMS by texting PARKS followed by the photographers name and where the photo has been taken in the subject header to 0780 3851 600. The MMS will be charged at the mobile telephone operator’s standard rate.

Notes to Editors:

  • The ‘Parks for People’ programme has a two-stage application process. At Stage One, an organisation can apply for a development grant to contribute to the costs of developing the project for a Stage Two application. If a Stage One Pass is awarded, with or without development funding, it does not guarantee a full grant at Stage Two.
  • The ‘Parks for People’ programme invests Lottery good cause money in regenerating public parks across the UK. The initiative aims to improve the local environment and put parks firmly back at the heart of community life. The two Lottery Funds are working in partnership to deliver this multi-million pound investment of up to £160million over three years. The Big Lottery Fund is investing up to £90 million (in England) and £70million is coming from HLF.
  • Grants in the Parks for People programme range from £250,000 to £5million, with two rounds of funding each year. The next deadline for applications is 30 September 2008.
  • ‘Parks for People’ is a joint grants programme for public parks in England. HLF provides funding for the programme for parks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The scheme is being administered by the HLF.
  • CD-ROM application packs can be obtained by calling 020 7591 6042. Further information can be found by visiting www.hlf.org.uk
  • Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over £4billion across the UK.
  • HLF has already invested more than £400million in nearly 300 historic public parks, gardens, squares and promenades right across the UK.
  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has invested more than £700 million on environmental initiatives to date. For more information, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
  • BIG rolls out close to £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across the UK most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project. The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.
  • Good Causes - out of every pound spent on a National Lottery ticket, 28p goes directly to good causes. The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for distributing half of the money to improve communities and the lives of people most in need. HLF distributes 16.67 % of the money to heritage projects across the UK. There are 12 other organisations responsible for distributing lottery money to good causes. www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

For further information, please contact:

Dervish Mertcan or Alex Gaskell at HLF’s press office on 020 7591 6102 / 6032

Email: dervishm@hlf.org.uk Out of hours: 07973 613 820

Jonathan Hall at the BIG press office on 020 7211 1818

Email: Jonathan.Hall@biglotteryfund.org.uk

Out of hours: 07867 500 572

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