View of the 2 bridges in Sydney Gardens over the canal and the trainline

Our HLF Parks for People Funding Award

A partnership between Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks Team, the Friends of Sydney Gardens, local residents’ groups and the Holburne Museum has successfully bid for £332,000 for Sydney Gardens from the Parks for People Heritage Lottery Fund grant programme through a Round One funding award. The money is the first part of a programme to secure a £3.6 million grant to improve the historic park. 

Parks for People applications are assessed in two rounds.  A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

What is happening now - our Round 2 bid

Having successfuly gone through the Round 1 stage, the Sydney Gardens project is now developing a Round 2 bid, through a Development Phase from May 2017 to August 2018, when the full grant application will be submitted.  A team of three people are working on this Development Phase in the Parks Service at Bath and NE Somerset Council: Project Manager Keith Rowe, Community Ranger Sue Palmer and Heritage Intern Hannah Myall. The project team will be working with local communities and neighbourhoods alongside organisations and stakeholders to develop these plans in more detail, along with the contracted landscape architects LDA Design. The full application will be submitted to the HLF in August 2018.

What are the plans for Sydney Gardens?

The money will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscaping works and deliver activities designed to create a 21st Century Pleasure Garden - ‘a beautiful and tranquil pleasure garden that achieves a renaissance as a unique, fun and restorative environment for all ages’.  The programme will include renovation of the play area with provision for play across all ages, and new gardens. There will be a programme of public events and activities around art, outdoor play and sport, learning, wildlife and nature as well as events inspired by the extraordinary history and heritage of the gardens, which opened in 1795. 

If the Round 2 bid is successful (we will know in January 2018) it will mean an investment of £3.3 million in Sydney Gardens over a three year project running from 2019 to 2021 - a once in a lifetime opportunity for what is thought to be Britain’s only remaining 18th century pleasure garden.

Support for the project

Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) said of the Round 1 funding award to Sydney Gardens: “I am really pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund have awarded this money, which will be used to improve what is already a fantastic park.

“We are very fortunate to have many parks and green spaces in Bath and North East Somerset. Sydney Gardens is one of our most beautiful and tranquil open spaces and this money will help to ensure it can be enjoyed by many for years to come.”

Chairman of the Friends of Sydney Gardens, Jonny East, said: “This is a great example of how the council’s Parks Team, working in partnership with the local community, can attract a substantial amount of external investment to help restore and improve this historically important, and much-loved, park.”

HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “Public parks play a vital role in our health and well-being. With this investment from National Lottery players there’s real opportunity for a rejuvenated Sydney Gardens to deliver huge benefits to the whole community.”

To date, more than £850million of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in parks since 1996 through the Parks for People grant programme.

About the Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects. 

It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. 

The Parks for People programme uses money raised by National Lottery players to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks and cemeteries. In England the two Lottery Funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks.  

Get involved and keep in touch

Contact our Community Ranger Sue Palmer with any comments or questions:

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