DOZENS of community groups across the country are to receive funding to help turn neglected urban spaces into pocket parks and green spaces.
The communities secretary Robert Jenrick MP announced £1.35 million of funding this week as a way to mark World Wildlife Day. The money is to fund the creation of 19 new parks and refurbish 49 currently “unused and unloved” plots of land.
Transforming these sites will, it is claimed, increase biodiversity, as well as provide a pleasant environment for people.
The new parks and green spaces are expected to 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.
In Oldham and Rochdale, the Groundwork Trust is receiving over £15,000 to transform Boarshaw Clough Nature Reserve, which is currently overgrown. The project will see the construction of new paths and refurbish the disused amphitheatre.
Meanwhile, in Hull, the Dukeries Active Zone, has secured over £25,000 to transform an existing park. There are plans to turn it into a “green sanctuary”, introducing new natural zones to improve biodiversity and encourage gardening activities among residents.
“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,” said Jenrick.
The new grants will fund the third round of Pocket Parks since the Government’s scheme launched in 2016. It 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.
Pocket Parks range approximately from the size of one 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.
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.