Crowdfunding for green space evolves

by Jonathan Adams

First of a series of crowdfunding awareness-raisers was held in Manchester as part of the #crowdfundmy park2017 campaign started by Growing a Greener Britain (GGB), a charity and a contractor, idverde. GGB trustee Rob Pearce and Green-tech marketing manager Kate Hume are touring the UK to encourage the launch of green-space crowdfunding projects. They are giving talks to an audience of community groups, businesses and third-sector organisations.

Established by The Landscape Group (now part of idverde) and crowdfunding platform Spacehive last year with a £50,000 endowment, Growing a Greener Britain is an independent charity. Pearce, who heads corporate projects at idverde, said that as The Landscape Group decided to fund community projects, crowdfunding came up as the perfect way.

“We found it hard to find suitable projects to fund in the beginning – and how do we know that these projects are wanted by the community? I found crowdfunding and a third of the projects were about green space. Clearly they have support from the community around that park and green space. We can make our money go further, which ticked another box.

“The whole concept of crowdfunding is it gets new people involved. Crowdfunding isn’t a panacea, projects are typically between £5,000 and £25,000. What it should do is raise the profile of parks and show that they can be vibrant. They are projects that bring people together with all different organisations to improve their spaces. If a number of stakeholders have an interest in an outcome, it builds momentum. Everyone can come together and they can contribute.”

Crowdfunding has been the buzzword over the past few years, used for funding projects which range from scientific studies to raising funds for buying toys for children at shelter homes. Examples of highly successful crowdfunding campaigns include creating the Peckham Coal Line which has reached £75,157 so far, surpassing the target of £64,132.

Local authorities are now resorting to crowdfunding for raising funds locally. The crowdfunding platform, Spacehive, has signed up with 84 local authorities for improving local civic and community spaces. Out of the 154 projects pledged by them, 28 are dedicated to green living. One-fifth of all campaigns by Spacehive are committed to environment and green space which include parks, gardens and food and farming.

“Green space campaigns have a 52 per cent success rate (our platform average) on Spacehive. This is significantly higher than other platforms where less than a third of projects hit their target,” says Spacehive content marketing manager Aaron O’Dowling-Keane, who also points out that Spacehive expects more local authorities to come on board in 2017.

“This can be attributed to a number of factors – people are more likely to support projects in their local communities that everyone can use, our all-or-nothing funding model that motivates people to hit their set target and the £1m in additional funding from our partners.”

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