The Northumberland National Park Authority is planning to establish a charitable foundation to raise funds to cover cuts in government funding.
Tony Gates, chief executive of the park, which is part of the National Parks Authority, a public body covering 15 national parks, said his organisation would suffer a real-terms cut in government grants of 40 per cent between 2010/11 and 2016/17.
According to the NNPA’s accounts, in the year to the end of March 2013 the park received £2.9m in funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which amounted to 80 per cent of its income. But this would fall to £2.5m by the end of 2015/16, said Gates.
The NNPA said it planned to set up a charity called the Northumberland National Park Foundation that could raise funds and appoint a fundraising officer.
A report announcing the plans says that people are more likely to donate to a separate charity than to the parks authority.
The charity will receive philanthropic donations, build a network of supporters and "generally beat the drum" for the authority’s initiatives, the report says.
The charity is initially expected to try to raise some of the £3.5m match-funding required for a new national landscape discovery centre, and later maintain fundraising "to support the wider activities of the authority".
Gates said: "There is a growing realisation within the public sector that private philanthropy has a greater role to play in supporting the provision of projects and programmes for the wider public good – for example, in areas such as the environment."