Two awards for a programme putting nature at the heart of thriving urban places

Two awards for a programme putting nature at the heart of thriving urban places

A person walks on a path under trees and next to a lake in summer
Improving access to parks and green space. Credit: Nottingham City Council.
The Future Parks Accelerator programme, a joint initiative with the National Trust, has won Social Project of the Year and the prestigious Overall Project of the Year Award.

The awards were announced at the annual APM Project Management Awards on 20 November. They recognise the programme's success in helping local authorities think ambitiously about ways to drive real change for their residents, at a time when parks and urban nature are in crisis.

The first programme of its kind in the UK

Members of the Future Parks Accelerator team stand on stage to receive the award
The Future Parks Accelerator team receiving the awards.
Photo: APM P​​roject Management Awards.

The innovative programme used ‘accelerator’ methods borrowed from tech startups to encourage innovation for green space across the UK.  

A cohort of eight places, supported by the programme, worked together to reimagine how nature and green space could be at the heart of resilient towns and cities of the future. 

The places involved have a combined population of 5 million people set to benefit from better and fairer access to nature and green space, creating thriving, healthy places to live. 

Access to green space for everyone

Drew Bennellick, Head of Land, Sea and Nature Policy for The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “As the biggest funder of public parks in the UK, we’ve known for a long time how much these amazing spaces for nature and heritage offer people living in cities. 

“Through this innovative programme we’ve been able to invest in securing the future of parks and green space across whole cities and towns, helping local authorities and their communities build thriving places to be proud of. We’re excited to receive these awards in recognition of a really different way of investing in the long-term vitality of places through an ambitious partnership."

The places delivered new solutions, from innovative ways to finance nature-rich green space for the long term to a pioneering model to map equality of access to green space. They also developed new templates for working with healthcare bodies and charities to deliver better health outcomes through accessible green space. 

A joint venture for greater impact

The partnership drew on the strengths of both organisations, combining grant funding with extensive support and advice, to get the very best results for the cohort of places. 

Ellie Robinson, Head of Urban Green Space for the National Trust, said: “We’re delighted to receive this recognition for a programme which has given us new ways to deliver on our charitable mission to bring nature to everyone. We’re looking forward to taking what we’ve learned to benefit more towns and cities, and most importantly the people who live in them.” 

Wildflowers next to a road near the city centre
Wild flowers in Kings Tamerton. Credit: Plymouth City Council.

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