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UK parks and cemeteries to receive £34m funding windfall

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Today, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund are investing £34m in some of the UK's most precious, yet tired green spaces. These include:
 
  • Great Yarmouth's vibrant Venetian-inspired water gardens constructed as part of an unemployment relief programme after the First World War
  • Belfast City Cemetery - 'the final resting place of some of Belfast's industrial giants, including an underground wall originally built to divide Protestants and Catholics and a 'poor ground' where 63,000 people are buried in unmarked graves.'
  • Winckley Square Gardens, Preston - one of Northern England's finest Georgian squares - with notable residents including suffragette Edith Rigby and seven-times Mayor Nicholas Grimshaw
  • Stoke-on-Trent's Hanley Park - one of the biggest Victorian public parks in the UK, built for local potters and miners to relax and play sports. 
This money will transform these sites, some of which are situated in the country's most deprived communities. Disused historic buildings will be restored and used as new cafes or public facilities, helping to attract more people and therefore more income. Innovations include public wi-fi installed in Peel Park, Salford and plans to harness renewable energy from the mill pond at Victoria Park, Stafford.
 
Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said:  "This investment will breathe new life into each of these 16 historic parks and cemeteries, making them great places for people to enjoy. Britain's famous green spaces are so important for giving people a place to get together, relax and exercise, and have a vital role in strengthening our local communities."
 
HLF's Chair Sir Peter Luff, said, on behalf of HLF and the Big Lottery Fund: "We all benefit from spending time outside in the fresh air, so it's vital that we look after our green spaces, particularly in dense urban areas. National Lottery players' money will give a boost to each of these 16 historic places, helping make sure they have a great future."

To date, National Lottery money to the tune of £770million has been invested in parks since 1996 and many of these major parks projects are now central to their local community's sense of well-being.

The 16 parks and cemeteries receiving funding today are:

Earmarked funding for

  • West Smethwick Park (Sandwell) 
  • Victoria Park (Stafford) 
  • Hunstanton Heritage Gardens (West Norfolk) 
  • Great Yarmouth Venetian Waterways      
  • Springfield Park (Hackney) 
  • Thompson Park (Burnley)
  • London Road Cemetery (Coventry)

Confirmed grants for

  • Chase Park (Gateshead) 
  • Peel Park (Salford)        
  • Winckley Square Gardens (Preston)
  • Northwood Cemetery (Isle of Wight)
  • Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent. 

HLF only funded grants for

  • Belfast Cemetery (earmarked funding) 
  • Stornoway Castle Grounds 
  • Dean Castle Country Park (East Ayrshire) 
  • Wrexham Cemetery             

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