Purpose of Report
To draw to Members’ attention a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which if successful would enable a three-year programme of community engagement across our heritage parks and open spaces.
The bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund be supported and if successful, acceptance of the funding and the related Terms and Conditions be delegated to the Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reasons for the Decision
In recent years, the Council had seen the significant benefits to people, our communities and the park, of having a focused and resourced activity plan centred on the Boultham Park Lake Restoration. This had been supported by existing permanent staff including the Volunteer Coordinator and the Conservation Ranger (Education and Promotion), but led by the Community Engagement Officer, a post funded by the Boultham Park Lake Restoration Project. The outcomes in terms of health and wellbeing, positive engagement in our parks, building community, skills and the many benefits related to volunteering had been witnessed, evidenced and recorded as a part of the formal evaluation of that project.
The project was due to end in July 2023. Officers had endeavoured to ensure the sustainability of activities post project, wherever possible, and the impacts of the project in terms of capital works and activities would be felt for many years to come.
However, it would not be possible to continue with the same level of focussed activities without dedicated staff and budget. This, coupled with a need to broaden community engagement across the city’s open spaces, had led to the proposed project ‘Lincoln’s Green Museum.’
The benefits of spending time in well-managed green spaces were well documented. Our public open spaces were free to use, available to all, places to destress and unwind, to play and exercise, to meet people, to walk the dog, to enjoy nature, to enjoy events, to learn more about and build appreciation of our natural environment, to volunteer, building skills, confidence and employability.
For our heritage open spaces, the benefits were multiplied: heritage promoted personal and community wellbeing, it gave a sense of place and identity, it provided links to the past, a sense of perspective and a better understanding of today.
As custodians of these important assets, we were in the unique position of being able to encourage people to use and enjoy these places, and in so doing, to build on our wider understanding of them, thus helping in our management and maintenance decision. This was an opportunity to curate our heritage before it was degraded or even lost, gathering memories and information into an online publicly accessible archive.
The programme of activities would be carefully designed, flexible and constantly evaluated, so that opportunities to engage with a broad range of people were maximised. It would seek to understand barriers to engagement and to break them down, with the aim of involving people who would not normally visit these places or engage in heritage related activities.
The total value of the project was £299,925. In addition to the £249,925 requested from the NLHF, a further (equivalent value of) £35,000 would be provided through volunteer works and in-kind contributions, and £15,000 would be found through other external funding. That £15,000 if not achieved by external funding, would be found from grounds maintenance budgets over the duration of the project.
The project would run for three years, with the new Community Engagement Officer post leading on activities and evaluation, supported by a part time support officer, and answering to the Community Services Manager. It is hoped that, if successful, the project would start in the summer of 2023.