adrian oates head of fundraising and marketing at nene park trust13/07/21

Adrian Oates, Head of Fundraising and Marketing

For those who haven’t heard already, we were thrilled to receive a phone call on the 17th June telling us that our Delivery Phase application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Your Community Greenspace had been approved by their Committee. This meant that £1.965 million of funding has been granted to Nene Park Trust to deliver our project over 5 years starting from October 2021. This was fantastic news, and most likely the largest single grant we will secure for Nene Park for a long time to come! 

As the title suggests, Your Community Greenspace is a project that will make Ferry Meadows a welcoming space for all of Peterborough. Amongst other things, the funding will allow us to establish a wide range of events and activities that are more reflective of our multicultural city, and we can expand our volunteering capacity to meet the growing demand, delivering increased health and wellbeing benefits whilst also helping to conserve the precious natural heritage of Nene Park. You can read more details about the project here or watch a short video here.

Of course this did not happen overnight! In fact we have been working on the project for over 4 years now. When I started as Head of Fundraising in 2016 one of my first priorities was to secure Parks for People funding from what was then the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Plans were derailed slightly when HLF discontinued their Parks for People funding programme in late 2017. After a few tweaks we submitted ‘Bridging the Gap’ to the HLF mainstream Project Grants programme in 2018, but alas this was unsuccessful. We regrouped, took on board HLF feedback and undertook more consultation work before resubmitting to the renamed National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) with a significantly reworked bid - “Peterborough’s Community Greenspace”. Success!

In August 2019 we began the official project Development Phase with £185,000 of NLHF funding. We used this time to test our project ideas, consult widely with community groups, users and non-users of Ferry Meadows and other stakeholders, and appoint and work with consultants and designers to develop plans for capital works and prepare the Delivery Stage application. But things never run smoothly. Firstly we lost our Project Manager and then – as you all know – Covid-19 struck! This made consultation and development work under lockdown restrictions very difficult, but we persevered and finally submitted the Delivery Stage application, renamed “Your Community Greenspace” to highlight how we want our local communities to view the park, in March 2021.

The application itself was no small job. It consisted of 65 separate documents, including Business Plan, Activity Plan, Management Plan, Communication Plan, Evaluation Plan, letters of support etc. etc., oh, and the application form itself. I wonder if the total number of characters, if not words, in the submission documents are more than the grant amount itself! It was very hard work pulling everything together, but it has been well worth it and I am very proud and grateful for the small team who helped me prepare the application, and for everyone who worked with us to develop the project.

We hope you are as excited as we are about all the positive things Your Community Greenspace will deliver. We will keep you updated about the progress of the project as it gets off the ground later in the year.