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£900k fund to link ‘friends of’ park groups with young people

Groundwork, Fields in Trust and the National Youth Agency have today (August 23) launched ‘Future Proof Parks’, a £900k National Lottery-funded programme that will link ‘friends of’ park groups with young people in a bid to protect heritage parks.

The programme will work with 60 ‘friends of’ park groups to give them informal youth work skills so they can share ideas with the skills of young volunteers.

The three organisations hope that Future Proof Parks will engage 880 young people across the UK in the West Midlands, East of England, West of England, North West and North East, so that they can ‘learn more about their local historic park heritage, encourage young people to join their local friends of park groups and volunteer to preserve the local spaces that matter to the communities they live in.’

Graham Duxbury, national CEO of Groundwork, said: ‘Future Proof Parks is a vital tool in helping to unlock the time and talents of young people and supporting ‘friends of’ groups in their invaluable efforts to protect local our parks and green spaces.

‘We look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of the programme over the next three years.’

The three-year programme has been awarded funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Kick the Dust programme, which aims to enable more young people to be involved in the UK’s heritage.

Helen Griffiths, CEO of Fields in Trust, said: ‘Our research shows that parks and green spaces bring economic and welfare benefits to people across the UK.

‘At a time when many are under threat it is vital that we encourage the next generation to care for and support our parks and green spaces so that people, both now and in the future, can continue to benefit from them.’

Leigh Middleton, Chief Executive Officer, National Youth Agency, said: ‘Young people have shown time and time again that they are passionate, innovative and real ambassadors of positive change when given the opportunity.

‘It is absolutely vital that young people are given the opportunity to participate in their local areas. Future Proof Parks is an excellent way to allow young people to exercise their unique potential and at the same time support them to develop their skills and abilities and we are proud to be a part of that.’

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