greenspace scotland is delighted to be delivering two grant programmes for local authority parks on behalf of Scottish Government using the Levelling Up Parks funding allocated by the UK Government.

The funds aim to support nature restoration and enhance biodiversity in parks through action plans to naturalise approaches to greenspace management; improve access to quality greenspaces and nature, particularly in more deprived areas; and support tree planting activity in Regional and Country Parks.

There are two grant programmes which are now open for applications from local authorities.

Expressions of interest must be submitted by noon on Monday 30 January 2023

These programmes have now closed for expressions of interest. Shortlisted projects were contacted and invited to submit full applications. The panel has now assessed all the applications received and successful projects have been contacted. An announcement about projects supported by these funds will be made in early March.

(1) Supporting nature restoration in parks

This programme is open to all local authority parks.

Revenue grants of up to £35k per Council to support the development of action plans for nature restoration in parks, plus up to £6k per Council to support quick-win actions.

This can include approaches to naturalise horticultural, grassland and wetland management in parks. The revenue funding can be used flexibly and could, for example, cover expert input from ecologist and landscape professionals, for surveys and plans, as well as for community engagement. The case study provided by Dundee City Council illustrates the type of strategic approach that could be supported by this funding.

The quick-win funding can also be deployed flexibly to support development and implementation of the action plan(s). This could include purchase and sowing/planting of wildflower seeds, plug plants and trees; equipment and machinery to support changing management practices (including shared equipment purchases between two or more Councils); signage, interpretation and other comms assets to support communication and engagement.

Activities supported by this grant could also inform future work by Councils on Nature Networks and projects that might be taken forward using Nature Restoration Funds, as well as supporting the outcomes of the recently published Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.

Funded projects will be invited to participate in a learning cohort facilitated as part of the Park Managers Forum

To apply: Complete short Expression of Interest form by noon on Monday 30 January. Shortlisted projects will then be invited to submit more detailed proposals. We expect to provide grant funding to 5 or 6 Councils with a 6-month period for development and delivery. There is no match-funding requirement for this grant.

Submit Expression of Interest Frequently Asked Questions

(2) Tree planting in Regional and Country Parks

This programme is specifically for Regional and Country Parks

Grants of up to £40k per Council to support tree planting in Regional and/or Country Parks.

For some parks, it is anticipated this funding will be used to provide an uplift and add value to tree and woodland planting which is already planned and/or underway. In other areas, it may support new tree planting plans and activity. There will be a rapid turnaround of grant applications to enable planting to be undertaken this year.

The grant can be used to cover the costs of preparation, purchase, planting, or other related cost of tree planting. There are no restrictions on types of tree or size – it is important that the right trees are planted in the right places - with the emphasis on planting native species. In some parks, there may be opportunities to support planting in areas which experienced significant tree loss and damage during Storm Arwen, in other areas the focus may be on increasing canopy cover, climate adaptation and resilience, biodiversity enhancement and naturalising greenspace management. There is potential for planting of fruit trees and community orchards to be supported. We are also open to exploring flexible and creative approaches to tree planting outwith the current planting season so long as funds are fully committed by 31 March 2023.

To apply: Complete short Expression of Interest form by noon on Monday 30 January 2023. Shortlisted projects will then be invited to provide some additional information. Grants will be awarded in February. We expect to provide grant funding to 5 or 6 Councils. There is no match-funding requirement for this grant.

Submit Expression of Interest Frequently Asked Questions

Any questions?  Please contact Ian Goodman if you have any questions about your application(s).

A short briefing and Q&A session will be held on Wednesday 18 January – invitations will be sent via the Park Managers Forum mailing list.

Please note: Applications can only be accepted from local authorities.
We anticipate many Councils will be working with Friends and other community groups and third sector organisations, and we welcome applications led by Councils on behalf of wider partnerships.

These programmes are supported by funding from the Scottish Government

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