The Bradgate Park Trust is a charity, established to care for Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood. When the Trust was founded all its funding was provided by local Councils.

Bradgate Park Trust Sources of Income 2017-18

Bradgate Park Funding Sources Pie Chart 2017 -18

Twenty years ago this funding was around half of the costs for caring with the Estate, with other income coming from trading (such as the Visitor Centre admission charges, rents, sales, honesty boxes and events), alongside that from government agencies. Nowadays, support from local Councils is just 1% of the £1.2 million it costs to care for the Estate each year. These costs include:

  • provision of welfare facilities for visitors;

  • maintaining paths and car parking;

  • educational activities, including our free-to-visit Visitor Centre;

  • care of the deer in winter;

  • removal of litter;

  • and of course managing the historic and wildlife rich landscapes and features that are of national importance.

The gap in funding is now supported by income from the two Trust Tearooms, car parking, retail sales, rents from our land and buildings and income from events. We also receive support for our conservation work and habitat management from national and European agencies. The future of this is uncertain, following the UK's decision to leave the European Union, so in recent years the Trust has worked hard to be more financially self-reliant. 

In all of our work we actively seek grants and support from funding bodies for events, conservation projects and development work for community and educational delivery. In 2016-17 the Charity received significant support from the Heritage Lottery Fund through their Transition Programme to help us in our work to develop our new Strategy, increase sustainability and develop pilots in our work with volunteers and new educational programme. 

Funded with Heritage Lottery Funds Logo

Memorial Wood funded by the Leicester and National Masonic Charities

A recent example of this has been the 2017 project funded by local and national Masonic charities to develop Memorial Wood. Income from plaques in this area will provide a sustainable income stream in future years. 

Another way we work is through partnerships for fundraising. The Rotary Club of Leicester has championed this in recent years, raising over £175,000 for our Visitor Centre redevelopment.

Inside the Visitor Centre

Finally, as a charity we rely on donations and gifts from businesses, groups, Foundations and Trusts and, of course, individuals who love the Park. The latter includes monthly giving, gifts in wills and donations through boxes across the site. We are thankful for all help we receive.

In 2018, a number of local charitable trusts/foundations have assisted with support towards our plans for increased learning and community work, and also to our appeals to locate more defibrillators across Bradgate Park, as part of our work to become a Heart Safe Park.

We are open and transparent about funding and each year our audited accounts are sent to the Charity Commission and published in our annual report, which can be downloaded here.