Our plans to launch a new charitable body to manage and fundraise for London’s Royal Parks have been given the go ahead by the government.
We’ll be joining forces with The Royal Parks Agency to create a single charitable organisation that will take over the role of managing the parks and build on the role of fundraising currently undertaken by the Royal Parks Foundation.
Of the £36.6m annual cost of managing the parks, about 65% is currently generated through events, sponsorship, donations, catering, grants, lottery funding, licences, rental income from lodges, filming and photography. The rest of the parks' income comes from a Department for Culture, Media and Sport grant.
With more than 77 million visitors a year and decreasing government funding, this means maintaining high standards and a public satisfaction rate of 98% is becoming increasingly challenging. Our new charitable public corporation will be able to manage the parks more efficiently, with better services provided at a lower cost while maintaining excellent visitor satisfaction.
We’re now working with The Royal Parks Agency to create the new charity, which it is hoped will be launched by the end of this year. As part of this, a new board of trustees will be appointed. Recruitment for its chair will begin shortly with the role publicly advertised – the appointment of other trustees will follow soon after.
Andrew Scattergood, chief executive of The Royal Parks, said: “This is an exciting new era for the Royal Parks – one which will see evolution rather than revolution. What the public see from the parks won’t change dramatically, but how we manage them will.”
Sara Lom, chief executive of the Royal Parks Foundation, said: “The Royal Parks are one of Britain’s greatest national treasures. They offer precious freedom for people and wildlife in the middle of our city – and in return they need everyone’s support.
"Generous private donors, sponsors and supporters have, to date, contributed more than £16.5m through the Foundation for the benefit of visitors and wildlife in the Royal Parks and this wonderful new charity, created by two organisations, will build on this success.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “The Royal Parks are a tremendous asset for our capital, offering Londoners an oasis of calm from the hustle and bustle of city life. I fully support the creation of this new organisation, which will give the parks a stronger financial footing, and it’s now vital it remains shackle-free to attract further investment to maintain the phenomenally high standards for the millions of visitors it attracts each year.”
18 February 2016