Caring for the Parish

In 2009 the Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme awarded between £2,000 and £5,000 to 21 parish councils to employ or contract a Parish Caretaker to look after their local environment and community assets.

LEADER then funded ‘Caring for the Parish’ in December 2009, a scheme run by YDMT in partnership with Nidderdale Plus. The scheme supported parishes with employed or contracted Parish Caretakers in the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale AONB and surrounding area.

The aim of ‘Caring for the Parish’ was to promote greater community-led action in rural areas.

What does a Parish Caretaker do?

The Parish Caretaker role is a mix of the traditional ‘Parish Lengthsman’ with a very strong environmental and heritage focus. The caretakers’ duties are decided by members of their own local community, and can include:

  • Creating meadows on village greens
  • Roadside verge management
  • Installing maintaining signs and way markers
  • Looking after playgrounds and church yards
  • Putting up nest boxes
  • Maintaining village halls

Co-ordinating the scheme

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust co-ordinated ‘Caring for the Parish’ providing information, expert advice and bespoke training. We helped deliver health and safety training for roadside verge work, ran funding workshops and facilitated advice from partnership organisations such as Nidderdale Plus, North Yorkshire County Council, Yorkshire Dales National Park and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The Future

The Caring for the Parish project came to an end in December 2012. By encouraging Parish Councils to work with each other and with partner organisations, and to engage in relevant training we hope to have enabled Parishes to get the best out of their Caretaker scheme. You can read the Caring for the Parish Final Evaluation Report here

The funding for this project was made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.

Click here to find out more about European Funding.


Caring for the Parish leaflet
Caring for the Parish Final Evaluation Report