Heritage Lottery Fund, Parks For People

Under this funding stream, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) are funding projects in parks that make a lasting difference to heritage, people and communities.

This heritage includes many different things from the past that we value and want to pass on to future generations, for example in a park it can be:

  • The landscape design layout
  • Surviving or lost historic features or buildings
  • Collections of plants and trees
  • Cultural traditions such as stories, festivals, fairs
  • People’s memories and experiences of the park
  • The history associated with individual features such as memorials or veteran trees

HLF are interested in what difference we want to make. How will their funding change the park, change the people and community. How will people know more about their heritage?

  • Under heritage, HLF want to see how their investment gets the park into better condition and is better managed; and how the park’s history is better explained and interpreted.
  • Under people, HLF want to see people with better skills, learning about heritage and volunteers.
  • And under communities, they want to see that the local area is a better place to live, work and visit; have less environmental impacts; and more people and a wider range of people engage in their heritage.

The Stage 1 application was submitted end of February 2017 and we will hear if we go through to Stage 2 in June 2017. We will then have usually 18 months to work up the full application, with business plan and activity plans which take us into Dec/January 2019. We will hear the final result in summer 2019.

We are in an excellent position with partners: KD21 Scout group, Emily Jordan Foundation/Twigs, Community Payback scheme (run by Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Service) and Kidderminster College Horticultural courses.

We are also including Kidderminster Photography Club, Foley Park and Sutton Park First Schools. A main outcome for HLF is around training and development. All these organisations offer really good opportunities to develop skills and learning. Opportunities for volunteering and learning for the general public will also be included.

It’s fairly easy to identify the physical heritage improvements we want to make in Brinton Park. The heritage things we want to put back which have been lost over time. We can also include things that improve people’s experience whilst they are in the park.

We are looking at:

  • improving the paths, entrances, boundary fencing, car parks, toilets, seating
  • developing the Sons of Rest building
  • landscaping the ground in front of the bandstand
  • restoring a pond water feature
  • tree work
  • create new refreshment outlet – café/kiosk
  • create circular route around the park
  • repair stone walling/banks
  • possible WW1 memorial and panoramic view of Stour Valley

We also want Worcestershire County Council to look at vehicular access into the park, the road junctions and pedestrian access – since we are hoping to develop the number of people visiting the park and staying longer while they are there it’s important that safe access is a priority.

A big part of having a successful HLF project is the range of activities we will do with people and communities around heritage and learning. Walks, talks, heritage research, oral history, fauna and flora, photography, events – development of partners activities for example:  schools using the park more for education and recreation activities; students do planting, maintenance, litter picks, selling to the public, possible food preparation in a cafe, etc.

As part of a successful application we could employ an additional member of staff to work in the park. This role could focus on the heritage, training, education and learning opportunities that could be developed.

One of the things we would like to happen is that a Brinton Park community group is started once again. In 1887 a Parks Committee was formed and more recently we had a Friends group from 2005. With the strong partnership the Council has with the 4 organisations that are already based in the park it will be great if an independent group wants to get involved in the park’s future development. Feedback from the survey carried out last summer showed that the splashpad had had a big impact. Toilets are still a big issue. People would love a refreshment outlet and for antisocial behaviour and feelings safety to be improved.

How much this will all cost and who is going to pay for it? To draw down the funding WFDC and partners are expected to put in a minimum of 10% cash funding into the project. For every £100k we can find in cash we can apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £1million. The present cost of the project is up to £3million including professional fees etc.

For the Stage 1 application we don’t have to confirm the partnership funding. This can be worked up during the Development Phase and final budgets agreed when the Stage 2 application is submitted in January 2018.

It’s fair to say that this project won’t cover all of the aspects of the parks development so there are things that may need to be addressed at a later date such as the sports, physical activity & play provisions.

The HLF Project Group have visited similar successful HLF Parks For People projects such as Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, Gheluvelt Park in Worcester and Hendesford Park in Cannock. These are on a similar scale as this proposed scheme and we have everything crossed that we can be successful – but it’s called the Lottery so there are no guarantees.

Support from Julian Brinton has included the design of this website.

With our communities support and lots of good luck we could be meeting one day in summer 2019 to celebrate our successful Heritage Lottery award!