In the third staff blog of our 'Summer of Parks' our Events & Membership Officer, Shannon Newton, discusses how Fields in Trust can offer guidance and support on obtaining funding for your local park or green space.
Sadly, money does not grow on trees.
Fields in Trust works to protect the parks and green spaces (and the beautiful but not money-growing trees found in them!) that are important to our communities. While that protection is at the core of what we do, we also work to ensure these green spaces remain healthy and vibrant and provide real benefits to the millions of people in the UK who use them on a regular basis.
The hard truth of 2019 is that for years local governments have faced budget cuts across departments, and these cuts have had a profound effect on parks and green spaces. Maintenance budgets have been cut, activities and projects reduced or cancelled, and more and more pressure has been shifted to Friends groups, local sports clubs and park users to take on the work of maintaining their local park or green space.
This trend of cost cutting is projected to continue and current uncertainties in our political climate often pushes the discussion around supporting and maintaining our parks and green spaces out of the centre of the debate on public spending.
As part of our aim to champion parks and green spaces across the UK, Fields in Trust serves as a resource for these volunteer groups, tireless local parish clerks and town councillors and front-line park and green space managers who are searching for additional funding to maintain and improve their green spaces.
We offer an online Knowledge Base, which includes information on topics as diverse as animals to insurance including an up to date list of potential funding sources for parks and green spaces as well our own funding programmes, which we offer in conjunction with our green space protection. Recent funding includes our Active Spaces programme, delivered in partnership with the London Marathon Charitable Trust, which included activation grants for a newly protected site. We also provide information on other funding opportunities for parks and green spaces on our website. It is an excellent place to start if you are looking for additional funds for your park or green space.
Fields in Trust has been a membership organisation almost since our founding more than 90 years ago. As part the benefits to our organisational members, we work with partners in the sport, play and amenity sectors to provide discounts on play equipment and related services. Organisational members include local authorities, town and parish councils and local community groups who can benefit from significant discounts as they are working to improve their local park or green space. More information on membership can be found here.
If only we could find money on the thousands of lovely trees in the beautiful parks that we here at Fields in Trust are proud to protect forever! In the meantime, we work to provide as much help as we can to everyone who loves the parks and green spaces that make the UK such a wonderful place to call home.
Favourite childhood park: Timrod Park, in Florence, South Carolina. I grew up exploring this 18 acre park which has a wonderful playground, a beautiful outdoor amphitheatre, nature walks and tennis courts. I used to peek inside the tiny one room schoolhouse, named for local poet Henry Timrod and for whom the park is also named.
Favourite local park: Preston Park in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. This lovely park includes part of the old railway line between Kemble and Tetbury and has a newly installed trim trail as well as views of the local farmer's heritage sheep and a small herd of rescued alpacas.
Favourite overseas park: Central Park in New York City. As a long-time resident of the city, I must give pride of place to the jewel in the crown of New York City. It is the most visited park in the United States, with more than 37 million visitors a year. I have attended weddings, concerts and countless brown bag lunches in Central Park when my office was right around the corner.
Favourite park memory: Walking through Hyde Park early one misty morning on my first trip to London. It was so lovely I knew I could move to the UK and not worry about missing my beloved Central Park!
Favourite thing to do at the park: Walk our hound dog George in Preston Park and watch her chase the rabbits, foxes and squirrels to her heart's content. She is less sure of the Alpacas!
Shannon Newton is Fields in Trust Events & Membership Officer. She can be contacted by any of the below means.
t: 020 7427 2118
Shannon Newton is Fields in Trust's Events & Membership Officer, having joined the organisation in 2010 in the lead up to the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. Originally from South Carolina in the United States, she began her career managing fundraising campaigns in New York City, including the 25th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, the re-opening of the Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History and Mentoring's Big Night, the annual fundraising event that included performances by Tony Bennett, Jon Stewart and Bette Midler.