We’re regularly asked these questions about who we are, our fundraising and what we’re aiming to achieve.


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Surely my council tax pays for parks, why ask me for more?

BCP Council spend approximately £13 per resident each year managing more than 450 parks and open spaces. The parks cover almost 2,500 hectares of green space, so the majority of your council tax is used for maintenance, such as cutting grass, pruning, mending broken fences and benches, emptying refuse and dog waste bins, etc.

Why should I donate to parks?

Many of the parks in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have undergone some ad-hoc updating over the years, with some improvements to play parks, skate parks, re-planting, etc taking place. However, in truth, the majority are very similar to when they were first created and, for many, that was almost 100 years ago. For parks to meet our needs today and those of our children in the future, we need to raise money in order to create improved spaces.

Who are you? The Council?

We’re The Parks Foundation, a small charity formed in January 2015. We work closely with BCP Council but are independent and rely on public donations for our funding. We are focussed on enhancing and transforming the area’s parks to be relevant to how we want to use them today and in the future. Further information about our relationship with BCP Council can be found on this document.

We aim to create inspirational urban parks that improve people’s health and wellbeing, reconnect them with nature, and bring diverse communities together.  We don’t know what the future holds, but we can be sure that more brownfield sites and areas where nature flourished are being diminished due to the need for housing and infrastructure. Parks are our oasis of green in our urban environments, so need to be cared for and enhanced, to ensure they are there for our children and grandchildren.

We are the UK’s first Parks Foundation and were founded through NESTA’s Rethinking Parks Programme (funded by the National Lottery Heritage Lottery & National Lottery Community Fund) in recognition of the ongoing reductions in local authority parks service budgets.

So what have you achieved?

Just a few of our achievements include:

  • Opening a community café in Winton Recreation Ground and a visitor centre on the Stour Valley Nature Reserve which provide environmental community spaces and volunteering opportunities for people from the local community (predominately, for vulnerable adults).
  • Fundraising to re-design and build Bournemouth’s rescue bird aviary.
  • Created an ecotherapy programme – Parks in Mind – which delivers more than 150 park-based activities, each designed to aid health and mental wellbeing, get communities talking and to improve our parks.
  • Engaged with 120 GP Champions, Job Centres, Community Mental Health Teams, social prescribers and other local partners to refer clients to Parks in Mind activities.
  • Awarded £700,300 from the Future Parks Accelerator project (from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Trust and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) to deliver a strategic change in park management and development.
  • Encouraged up to 250 people per week to attend free Park Yoga.
  • Created a wildlife bus (part of the town’s bus fleet) to encourage people to explore wildlife on their doorstep.
  • Live-streamed wildlife camera footage and nature walks, to bring nature into people’s homes for those unable to access it.
  • Prototyped and rolled-out contactless donation units (thanks to a grant from Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme of £92,500).
  • Mentored new Parks Foundations that are being established (including Bristol & Bath Parks Foundation, Love Leeds Parks, Cleveland & Redcar Parks Foundation and Ealing Parks Foundation).

Surely there are more important causes out there at the moment?

This is an incredibly uncertain time for many of us. Some people are furloughed, whilst others have lost their jobs or their businesses, or are facing the prospect of redundancy. Right now, this is about making sure that you look after yourself and family first. However, once you have done so, if there is a little left, please donate it to our parks. Every gift has the power to help transform our parks into spaces that continue to aid our health and our mental wellbeing.

There’s been a big call for the Government to fund parks. Why don’t they give more money instead of me?

Quite rightly, the Government (and many of us) has committed money to frontline services, such as the NHS and other healthcare providers. As a consequence, the charity sector, like others, is facing an uncertain future. If the Government were ever able to redirect any monies, it would be used by Councils for short term projects, such as maintenance, rather than longer-term improvements and future innovation.

How much of my donation will go to the project and how much is spent on admin?

We’re a small charity with low overheads. We work as prudently as possible to ensure that as much of your donation as possible goes towards our amazing parks. Like all organisations, we need to cover costs such as our office running costs (electricity, gas etc.), insurance, IT and staff overheads, meaning that 85% of your donation (85 pence for every pound you donate) will be spent on directly improving the local parks in our town.

How are you governed?

We are registered with the Charities Commission who ensure that all donated funds are used to advance our charitable objects and improve our parks. We are also regulated by the Fundraising Regulator and we adhere to their Codes of Fundraising Practice. Should you wish to complain about any aspect of our fundraising activity, you can find more information at Fundraisingregulator.org.uk


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