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Local park features in National Lottery Heritage Fund report

A new report from The National Lottery Heritage Fund features Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, Tunbridge Wells as a case study.

The report is an evaluation of Parks for People, a programme offered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund and it provides clear evidence for the value of investing in parks. It talks about the importance of the role that urban green spaces have provided as critical infrastructure supporting the UK through the pandemic.

Grosvenor and Hilbert Park is one of six parks featured in the report. In 2014 the Council was awarded just under £2.5 million of lottery funding for restoration and improvements to take place across the park and to develop community and volunteer events and activities. A further £300,000 for the project was contributed by the Council.

Cabinet member Councillor Jane March who has been involved with the National Lottery Heritage Fund project from the start said: ‘The investment in the park has revitalised a local amenity and put it back into the heart of the community. We are so grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for enabling us to make it happen. As a Conservative council we are committed to open park space for the wellbeing of residents, not only physical health but also our mental health and emotional development. This council is committing time, money and energy to the future of these vital parks, ensuring their environment is supported in the best way possible.’

The park is acknowledged in the report for its heritage (designed by renowned landscape gardener Robert Marnock) and its ecological importance, and for the role it plays in the community. The obvious physical difference The Parks for People funding has made include the new hub and play area, the restored Marnock Lake, the wetlands and boardwalk through the woods and the new and restored entrances.

Also discussed are differences that are less obvious but as important for local people, which relate to the setting that has now been created for community activity. The contribution of the Friends’ group to the ongoing success of the restored park is commented on in the report, as are the health and wellbeing benefits on offer from the varied activities organised by other local organisations that use the park’s facilities.

The full report from The National Lottery Heritage Fund can be found on the seen on the Heritage Fund website.

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