DOZENS of community groups will receive funding to transform neglected urban spaces into thriving green havens for the whole community to use, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced today.
Announced on the UN World Wildlife Day, the £1.35 million funding will help community groups to create 19 brand-new parks and refurbish 49 currently unused plots of land, breathing new, green life into towns and cities and increasing biodiversity across England.
Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP commented on the announcement: “Pocket parks are used for everything from exercise and gardening to socialising and relaxing.
“They have huge benefits for our mental and physical health and allow us to take a moment out of our busy lives to connect with nature.
“We are determined to protect our nation’s parks for future generations to enjoy, and on World Wildlife Day, I am delighted to announce the recipients of the extra £1.35 million for the Pocket Parks fund – adding 68 new parks, which will take the total we’ve backed to 352.
“Creating more pocket parks is part of this Government’s ambition to ensure that communities have a real sense of identity and place, and that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy green spaces in their local area.”
The new parks and green spaces will provide new areas for children to play, outdoor fitness facilities for residents and places for families and friends to come together, helping encourage community integration and tackling loneliness.
These new grants will fund the third round of Pocket Parks since the scheme launched in 2016.
The government has now funded 352 grants to support community groups to create 146 new parks and give a vital boost to 206 derelict urban spaces in towns and cities in every region of the country.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy which runs the Green Flag Award scheme for parks and green spaces, added: “This is great news for people and for the environment, creating more parks and green spaces at the heart of communities.
“We look forward to seeing many of these sites achieve the Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award in the years to come.”
Pocket Parks range approximately from the size of 1 tennis court to the size of 16, between 0.02 to 0.32 hectares.
They inject green space into towns and cities and provide opportunities for the whole community to benefit from spending time in nature.
Among the successful schemes to be funded are:
- The Groundwork Trust in Oldham and Rochdale are receiving more than £15,000 to totally transform the currently over-grown and unloved Rochdale Boarshaw Clough Nature Reserve into ‘a pocket of peace and tranquillity’ for local residents. They will build new paths through the reserve, improving the whole community’s access to nature. They will also breathe new life into the disused amphitheatre which will become a new focal point in the neighbourhood – a space for different community groups to encourage people to spend time outdoors.
- Dukeries Active Zone in Hull are receiving more than £25,000 to totally transform an existing park with plans to turn it into a green sanctuary which encourages young families, teenagers and adults to get outdoors. They will introduce new natural zones to improve the area’s biodiversity and involve residents in the creation of a new mural – giving local residents a sense of community pride. They will also encourage gardening activities and provide improved equipment to increase physical activity among people of all ages.
- Chacewater Projects and Chacewater Parish Parks Group in Cornwall are receiving more than £15,000 to develop brand-new community allotments, encouraging local residents to socialise, exercise and reap the rewards of being outdoors. The Community Garden will be a vibrant and safe space, offering support for elderly residents and people with physical or mental disabilities as well as young families and teenagers experiencing isolation or loneliness. The allotments will be a new hub for the community and ‘instil a sense of pride in the neighbourhood.’
The government is working with the Parks Action Group, which represents leaders from across the parks sector, to support community empowerment programmes, professional development for the parks workforce and alternative park management models to ensure our parks are fit for the 21st Century.
Alongside today’s announcement the government are supporting Parks Action Group to establish a reference group of parks managers who are responsible for delivering government policy on the ground.
You can view the full list of successful applicants to the 2019 to 2020 Pocket Park grant here