25 September 2017, by Sarah Cosgrove
The Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust in south London has secured a near £95,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help its development.
Wandle’s Beddington Park seen through its bridge. Image: The Living Wandle Team
The money, from the HLF’s Resilient Heritage programme, will help pay the trust to:
- Develop a comprehensive five-year sustainable business model
- Form new models of governance and management
- Recruit and train new trustees and board members
- Safeguard the Wandle Valley’s heritage
- Generate income for the trust, through an asset transfer
- Disseminate learning to a local and pan-London audience
- Deliver a “Wandle Ranger” volunteer programme
- Appoint a full-time officer to support its work
- Produce a delivery plan for the regional park through a comprehensive consultation process with partners, stakeholders and local communities
Added to other support of £71,000 from Clarion Housing, Wandle Housing, the Greater London Authority, the Architecture Heritage Fund, Awards for All and idverde, the trust will have £166,000 to develop its plans to become a robust, sustainable organisation, capable of attracting investment to enhance public green infrastructure in the Wandle Valley.
Chief executive Sue Morgan called the funding “a real game changer”. “The management, creation and funding of public green space is rapidly changing as London grows and local authority budgets continue to be under pressure. We want to demonstrate that the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust can offer a viable means to align and coordinate investment to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits,” she said.
“The funding will give us the opportunity to explore innovative ideas and new models of partnership, working to deliver green infrastructure strategically in a sub region.”
Since it was established in 2013 by the London boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Croydon, plus a number of other national and local organisations, Wandle Valley has secured more than Ј1.6m of investment, under the stewardship of Morgan, who is only contracted to work two days a week.
With more staff time dedicated to the trust, it is hoped Morgan can take on more of a strategic role and her team can gather significantly more investment and assets to enable the trust to deliver services and projects in the future.
Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust chair, Nic Durston said: “The crucial investment the HLF and our match funders have made enables us to address some of the things that have held the trust back. Now we can realise the vision to deliver a really significant piece of green infrastructure.”
Durston praised the enormous amount of hard work Morgan had put into the project so far and thanked both her and the funders for giving the trust the opportunity to develop.
“Sue delivers hugely over what she’s formally contracted to do. It has been about her drive to get the trust as an organisation on a much better footing. This brings in support for her to be able to do what she’s paid to do. The end of this will very much be a new Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust capable of delivering what all the partners want a regional park to be.”
Recruitment for the new officer post and external consultants to support the work will take place in the next few weeks.
The Wandle Valley Regional Park is a network of over 40 green spaces, and 12 nature reserves, linked by the riverside Wandle Trail, covering some 900 hectares.