24 January 2015

New funding for Myatt's Field Park announced

The Myatt's Field Park project has been awarded £14,500 in new funding after a successful bid to the borough's Pioneer Business Development Fund. The winning application, which was supported by Lambeth council, is the subject of a written question from Vassall councillor Annie Gallop at next week's council meeting.

On behalf of Vassall's councillors, Cllr Gallop asked:

It is excellent news that the application from Vassall's Myatt’s Fields Park Project to the Pioneer Business Development Fund has been successful following support from Lambeth. Can the Cabinet Member outline what this successful application will mean for the park and what improvement residents can expect to see?

Answering this question, the cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Jane Edbrooke, said:

Lambeth’s cooperative parks programme is one of the council’s major service transformation programmes, which seeks to involve local communities and residents more in their respective parks. 
The mandate for this locally-driven service model has been provided by {Lambeth's} cabinet and its future direction and scope will be tested with our communities, as part of the broader creative communities consultation which will commence shortly.

To help us achieve our cooperative ambitions, we have established the Parks Pioneer Business Development Fund.  Although this fund is not set up for direct use on parks services, it aims to support our local communities and residents who wish to take on increased responsibilities in our parks by making small grants available to support their initial start up and organisational development needs.  As background information the business development fund guidance is attached for reference. 

The Myatt’s Field Park Project (MFPP) Group are one of our parks pioneers who are planning to independently manage Myatt’s Field Park, subject to final approval.  Their successful application to the business development fund was for feasibility studies, exploring income generation potential in the park, and to support the development of their business plans.  This resource will help them meet our public interest test requirements in due course; providing assurance to the council that the MFPP Group are ready for their increased responsibilities and have a financially viable model in place.  

Although this fund is not set up for direct use on parks services, we anticipate that by helping MFPP Group establish themselves as a robust organisation, we are welcoming their vision for Myatt’s Field Park to be at the heart of a green and sustainable neighbourhood.  One where Myatt’s Field Park is transformed into a local food and community hub that makes a difference to the people that use, visit, and live around it.  This is because we will be supporting:

         a more locally accountable, not-for-profit group that shapes the services around the needs of local community and delivers locally set priorities; creating a sense of local ownership and better quality of services for local residents and park users.  

         greater efficiencies with an enhanced and locally driven focus on income generation and new partnerships (e.g. exploring more volunteering opportunities)

         fewer layers of management

         model that is more attractive to grant funders.

This innovative model will start to be fleshed out over the coming months in partnership with the council, ward councillors, and the local community.