The Friends of St Peter’s Berkhamsted have received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) for the Rectory Lane Cemetery project, it was announced today. The aim is to restore the heritage of the town’s burial ground and to enhance it to become a truly sustainable community asset. Development funding of £73,600 has been awarded to help the Friends progress their plans to secure a full grant of £952,200 in 2017.
The project aims to carry out essential conservation work on memorials, pathways, seating and walls, improving access and interpretation on site, enriching wildlife as well as digitising information on the 1,000 memorials and 7,000 burials that have taken place there. In addition to telling stories of the lives of local dignitaries such as the Cooper family of the agrichemicals business and the Smith–Dorrien family, there are also 27 war graves recording the local loss of lives in the First World War and Second World War.
The Cemetery was founded by public subscription in 1842. Demand for space meant that two further ‘terraces’ were opened and consecrated in 1894 and 1921 respectively making three acres in total. With over 200 trees it is one of the precious few green spaces in the town.
James Moir, a Trustee of the Friends of St Peter’s and Convenor of the Rectory Lane Project said: “We are truly thrilled that the National Lottery has recognised us with this support. It will enable us to step up a gear in the work that is planned to take the Cemetery from a ‘Dead’ to a ‘Living’ Space. There is something for everyone in the community to get involved in from the care of wildlife to stewarding at live events. We are looking for many different skills and all are welcome. Check our website http://www.stpetersberkhamstedfriends.org.uk or chat to us at our market stall on the last Saturday each month.”
Today’s news comes as part of a £32million funding announcement for parks and cemeteries across the UK. Explaining the significance of the support, Head of HLF East of England, Robyn Llewellyn said, on behalf of HLF and BIG, “Our parks and cemeteries provide vital connections to our history, our communities and our natural heritage. However we use them, public open spaces are an important part of life, which is why we’re delighted to be investing National Lottery players’ money in parks from Bristol to Helensburgh to carry out vital restoration and create some wonderful opportunities for communities and wildlife.”
Notes to editors
About the Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery
This investment comes at a challenging time for UK’s public parks due to local authority budget cuts. HLF’s report State of the UK Public Parks 2014 warned that unless innovative ways of funding parks can be found, they are at serious risk of decline or loss.
The research shows that maintenance budgets are being reduced, capital will be less available for improvements, facilities are becoming more costly to use and some parks may simply be sold or transferred to the care of others. Park usage is increasing and communities are also taking on a greater role. The study ends with a call to action and five key challenges for the future. HLF will commission and publish a second State of the UK Public Parks report in 2016 to monitor changes in the condition, quality and resourcing of the UK’s public parks.
The Parks for People programme uses money raised by National Lottery players to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks and cemeteries. In England the two Lottery Funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks. Find out more about how to apply at hlf.org.uk/parks
*Parks for People applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.
About The Friends of St Peter’s
Launched in 2013 it is a Registered Charity (Registered Charity Number 1160314). The Friends encourage a wider appreciation of the church and its churchyards as a rich store of local and architectural history. Together with the Cowper Society they are responsible for the management of concerts, recitals and other events in St Peter’s Church. They organise social and fund-raising events and act as a focus and resource for all who are interested in the continuing history of our town. The Friends provide an opportunity for individuals, families, local institutions and businesses to become involved in the care and conservation of this irreplaceable heritage.
HLF Press Office – Rebecca Lamm 020 7591 6027 / Lamm@hlf.org.uk or Katie Owen 020 7591 6036
Big Lottery Fund Press Office – Anupa Devi 020 7211 1888 / Devi@biglotteryfund.org.uk
For Friends of St Peters: Elaine Mercer 07866118749 firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr James Moir 07545 786372