The Parks Trusts’ Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2015-16 have been published. The long-term future of the Trust is looking bright as we continue to move toward financial sustainability.
The statements for the year ending March 2016 show the charity has grown due to the success of its commercial property and investments.
David Foster, Chief Executive of The Parks Trust, said: “We have managed to grow our property portfolio to some £89million and also have financial investments valued at around £38m. Part of that growth has come from new endowments as we have taken on new land as the city has continued to expand and part from astute commercial management and investment over the years.
“As a result, the Trust is in pretty good financial shape but we are all too aware of what another recession could do to the Trust. In 2008 we had around 30% wiped off the value of our assets and had to cut expenditure and shelve a number of projects that we are only now able to bring forward again. We still need to continue to grow our asset base if we are to be able to weather financial storms that may come our way in future. You have to remember we are entirely self-financing, the cost of maintaining the parks is not getting any less and we have this job to do in perpetuity. ”
The Parks Trust cares for 25% of the city and continues to take ownership of additional areas of green space as Milton Keynes expands.
Maintaining the green space is the primary aim of the Trust, but we are also committed to enhancing biodiversity, delivering environmental education, providing exciting leisure and recreation facilities and events.
David added: “All of our work is funded through our commercial property, our investments and various enterprises on our parkland including the commercial leisure activities at Willen Lake and our farming.
“The success of our business model means that we have been able to spend more than ever this year (over £7.5m) looking after our parks, lakes and woodlands and are able to put plans in place to introduce new facilities into the parks and invest further in the operation of Willen Lake to make it an even better all year round attraction in the years to come.
“Most importantly, the parks, lakes and landscapes under our control are in good shape and are being well used and greatly appreciated.”
Looking ahead our three priorities for the coming year remain:
1. Continue to maintain the parks to a high stand and improve the biodiversity.
2. Continue to build the asset base to ensure the Trust can be financially sustainable for the long term.
3. Introduce new features and facilities in the parks;
- We hope to be able to pursue our plans for a major restoration project in the grounds of Great Linford Manor. We are awaiting the outcome of a bid with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
- Planning permission is being sought for an adventure golf course and café at Furzton Lake.
- And we’ll shortly be consulting on plans for exciting new facilities in Campbell Park and Willen Lake.
To download The Parks Trusts’ Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2015-15 visit: http://www.theparkstrust.com/downloads/final-2015-16-annual-report.pdf