Sheffield City Council, supported by the Friends of High Hazels Park has protected one of the city’s most-loved parks through official Charitable Trust status.
High Hazels Park, which was formerly held by Sheffield City Council on trust is now a registered charity.
With more than 800 parks and green spaces across the city, this demonstrates the council’s dedication to preserving the city’s treasured green open spaces now and in the future.
High Hazels, a 20-hectare district park known locally as the lungs of the Darnall area, includes open green spaces, accessible paths and trails, playgrounds, sports pitches and recently renovated tennis courts.
The park was originally the grounds of High Hazels House, the home of William Jeffcock, the first Mayor of Sheffield. The Grade Two listed house was built in 1850 and is now the clubhouse for Tinsley Park Golf Club, with a cafe which is open to the public.
The park was held by the Council on trust, although not on a charitable one, because the income it generated was below the threshold of £5,000, which is the statutory requirement for registration at the Charity Commission.
It was not until 2015/16 that the park exceeded this income threshold and as a result was registered with the Charity Commission.
As a charitable trust the park will be subject to all the provisions of the Charities Act 2011 and will be regulated by the Charity Commission in the same way as Sheffield’s other parks charities such as Hillsborough and Graves parks.
This means added protection for High Hazels park, which must only be used to meet the charitable objectives of the provision and maintenance of a park and recreation ground for use by the public, and any income generated from High Hazels can only be spent in High Hazels.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield has some of the best parks in the country and wherever you live in the city you will not be far away from a park or green space.
“We truly value all of our parks and we know how important they are to people who live here, that’s why we look for the best and most appropriate ways to improve and protect them.
“High Hazels Park is one of the city’s very best public spaces and with charitable status, it can only continue to thrive and grow.
“The park plays a significant role within the communities around it and I am thrilled that by working with local people and organisations like the Charity Commission, we are putting the right measures in place to make sure our parks can be enjoyed now and for many generations to come.”
An active Friends group works closely with the council to help maintain and improve High Hazels Park.
Paul Campbell, Chair of the Friends of High Hazels park said: “We are delighted that our wonderful park is now a registered charity and will be afforded the protection of charitable status now and for future generations. What we need now is for the next generation to get involved in our work so that our community continues to have a voice at High Hazels Park. The park is a vital part of community life and we welcome anyone of any age, who can spare a little time to help us keep it that way.”
Cllr Lea added: “Many people rely on their local park to get out and enjoy family time outdoors and take part in physical activity, but there is only so much that can be done with our ever-reducing budget. It’s great that parks like High Hazels have such an active Friends Group to champion the needs of their community and we thank them for their continued hard work and support. I would encourage anyone from the local area with a love for the park to get involved.”
An English Oak memorial tree was planted in High Hazels Park last year, one of 300 that will be planted as part of the city’s commemoration of the centenary of the end of World War I. The first 100 were planted in 2018 in 36 parks and public spaces across Sheffield and a further 200 will be planted in the coming year. Sheffield City Council hopes to create a Centenary Field in each of these parks protecting these public green spaces as sites of commemoration for the future.