July 17, 2017
The Friends of St Peter’s, Great Berkhamsted, has secured a National Lottery grant of almost £1m to restore and transform Rectory Lane Cemetery in Berkhamsted. The funding has been awarded through the Parks for People programme, run by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund.
The three year project will deliver many opportunities for local people such as a Garden of Remembrance, a Wildlife domain and a dedicated area for picnics and live performances. Apprentices will be able to learn skills for essential conservation work on walls, memorials and features such as the Sexton’s Hut which is being restored as an information resource. The scope of social and leisure activities will be extended with the appointment of a part-time Community Engagement Officer. More volunteers are to be recruited and trained to help with various aspects of the site such as educational tours on local history and local wildlife spotting.
The Cemetery, which was begun with public money in 1842, will be more welcoming and accessible. Better pathways and facilities for disabled visitors are a key part of the plan. Besides space to remember family and friends, there will be facilities to better understand the town’s unique history and heritage and to enjoy the wildlife living within the three acre site.
Commenting on the award, James Moir Convenor of the Project and a Trustee of the Friends of St Peter’s said, “We are delighted and of course extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund for this enormous support. This is the beginning of a very exciting journey as we commence the physical groundworks such as new paths and memorial restoration and continue working to secure the matched funding needed to ensure the sustainable future of this green haven.”
HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake, said, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “It’s difficult to overstate the importance of our public parks and cemeteries. Vital to our well-being and essential to biodiversity, they are highly valued spaces enjoyed daily by people from all walks of life. Rectory Lane Cemetery is one of the latest parks to benefit from over £900million of National Lottery funding, which over the last twenty years has played a crucial role in revitalising more than 800 parks across the UK.”
Note to editors
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We put people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year we awarded £583 million and supported around 12,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.
In September 2016, HLF published State of UK Public Parks 2016, a follow-up to its 2014 report.
This second report revealed there is a growing deficit between the rising use of parks and the declining resources that are available to manage them. Without urgent action the continuing downward trend in the condition of many of our most treasured parks and green spaces is set to continue.
Whilst new ways of working and generating income are showing potential, more support, shared learning and collaboration is needed to support those that manage public parks. Therefore, this research calls for collaborative action to deliver new ways of funding and managing public parks to avert a crisis.