IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

‘Sponsor your local park’ call to businesses

Firms are asked to help offset budget cuts

24 March, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

Finance chief Councillor Andy Hull said: ‘Protecting our parks is a particular challenge at a time of massive government cuts’

TOWN Hall chiefs have drawn up plans under which companies can sponsor parks to protect them at a time of savage budget cuts, the Tribune can reveal.

Companies will have a small “sponsored by” sign that will be around the size of an A3 piece of paper in the park they are backing. The aim is to bring in between £10,000 and £20,000 a year through park sponsorship.

Islington Council has a sign-off process to app­rove prospective sponsors to avoid any “value clashes”. Finance chief Councillor Andy Hull said: “Protecting our parks is a particular challenge at a time of massive government cuts.

“We are relaunching a scheme under which businesses can help support our community by sponsoring a local park. In return, we are ensuring that our parks remain a fantastic resource for residents and visitors.”

The authority aims to raise more than £3million in income over the next two years to offset savage budgets cuts that total £21.4m in the 2017-18 budget – on top of £170m cuts it has had to make since 2010.

As part of that effort, in 2015 it set up iCo, a private company wholly owned by the council but independent from it. The authority charges it every time officers do work for the company.

New figures show the trading arm has raised almost half a million pounds to date.

iCo is now trading in commercial waste (raising £258,000 to date), selling memorials (raising £165,000), and has generated £33,000 by selling payroll and pension services.

A council report notes “good progress” is being made in terms of income growth. Tree services, however, have generated just £2,000 – far less than the expected £25,000 – but the company has developed a website and marketing plan and expects growth to follow.

It will soon be launching an advertising drive for its pest control service, which has raised £7,000 to date.

The Town Hall has planning permission to install a number of illuminated advertising panels which it expects will generate income of up to £10,000 each per year.

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