Collaborate with us to win new innovation money for parks

Michael Grimes - 21 December 2017

£2m pot for parks

You may have come across Rethinking Parks. It's a £2 million fund to support innovative work in UK parks and has been launched by The Big Lottery Fund, The Heritage Lottery Fund and Nesta.

Work with us to strengthen your bid

We would love to help you bid for some of it, by taking advantage of our sophisticated digital management tool for incentivising positive changes in behaviour and learning from them.

Innovative uses of digital tools can build community engagement with parks, at scale, and rapidly generate robust evidence for designing visitor experiences and developing strategies. We know this first-hand, because we built our platform to do precisely that.

Rich insights

For example, Birmingham City Council’s Wellbeing team needed to demonstrate the value of ‘informal activity’ that fell outside the scope of structured exercise, so they commissioned the BetterPoints active parks programme from us. Using our platform, they motivated 80% of previously inactive people to become active (as defined by Sport England).

They also collected invaluable insights into the socio-economic profiles of park users, the relationship between activity in parks and Indices of Multiple Deprivation, activity levels by group and individual changes over time.

12,000 park visits in Birmingham thanks to BetterPoints

The programme was so successful that what started as a six-month pilot in 2014 kept going for two years. In that time, programme participants burned a total of 35 million calories, traveled 1.6 million miles and made 12,000 park visits. 47% of them were from highly deprived groups (measured by cross-referencing postcode data with Indices of Multiple Deprivation), 50% said their overall health improved and 66% said BetterPoints made them more active.

And you don’t need to take my word for it. Karen Creavin, Head of Birmingham Wellbeing Service, said they were on a journey to understand how to shift behaviour to get people more active: ‘part of that journey of behaviour change has been in the work we have done with Betterpoints,' she said. 'Their approach moved 80% of the research group from inactive to active, and generated data that was extremely valuable in relation to how people use their parks’.


We would love to talk to you if you’re thinking of applying to the Rethinking Parks fund because we’ve done half the work for you already. The funders want to ‘replicate and adapt proven models’ to support innovation in parks and that’s exactly what we can bring to the table.

If you’re interested in exploring this with us, contact Chris Bristow, 01183 216 116.