Future Proof Parks is part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund "Kick the Dust" programme, which aims to get more young people interested and involved in preserving their local heritage.
Fields in Trust is a partner in the Future Proof Parks programme which is led by Groundwork and the National Youth Agency and is focused on heritage parks and green spaces.
As council resources for maintenance and park development are declining, more work is falling to volunteers and Friends of groups; yet these volunteers are often drawn from a narrow demographic - frequently older individuals. Crucially the Future Proof Parks project is supporting Friends of groups and local young people to work together on heritage park projects whilst increasing the numbers and range of community members who volunteer to support their local green spaces.
Overall this is a three-year programme which will engage 880 young people across England in five hub locations, to learn more about their local historic park heritage, join their local Friends of groups and volunteer to preserve the local spaces that matter to the communities they live in. The aim is to see at least 180 young people take on leadership roles within the programme and continue their support of local parks and green spaces beyond the project completion.
The programme includes training and support in working with young people specifically tailored to volunteer Friends of groups. The National Youth Agency have designed a programme which equips local groups to take on projects, address any safeguarding concerns and puts the involvement of young people at the centre of the programme.
The initiative will work with 60 Friends of groups to give them the tools, encouragement and support to get more local young people involved in their activities and to demonstrate the benefits of cross generational working. A key area is providing Friends of groups with support to map and plan their work with young people with the end goal being supporting young people to take on leadership roles within the park.
At the end of the programme a series of resources will be available to the wider Friends of movement, setting out best practice for working collaboratively with young volunteers and detailing the practical impacts of the Future Proof Parks programme.
More information and a list of participating locations is available here: