The new report, Charitable Giving to Parks and Green Spaces, comes at a time of increased concern about the future of public parks, with more than 90% of park managers having experienced funding cuts in the past decade. 

The report formed part of a national Rethinking Parks programme. Findings were based on surveys carried out with 1,434 park users and 141 business leaders who were asked about their attitude towards charitable giving (among other funding options) to parks in Leeds. In addition, 45 business and civic participants took part in focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Report authors argue that charitable donation initiatives are operating in the context of a long-standing belief that parks are a public service, managed by local authorities and funded through taxation. 

Leeds has experienced a 50% cut to its parks budget since 2010 and, like most local authorities, has had to diversify its income base to offset the reduction, generating revenue from cafés, shops and visitor attractions, events, concessions and business sponsorship.  

Leeds City Council, along with Leeds Community Foundation and Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum, has set up a charitable fund for parks. Leeds Parks Fund provides businesses and individuals with a platform to support community-led enhancements to parks across the city.