The Government has announced a new £1 million pot of funding and your community could apply for a grant.

parks and gardens stock image

14 January 2019

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is inviting applications from communities who want to create or refurbish green spaces.

The funding is expected to be given in grants of up to  £15,000 for new 'pocket parks' (small play parks or quiet oases in urban settings)and up to £25,000 for the refurbishment of existing parks. The grants will be administered by County, District and Borough Councils, and community groups have until the 25 January to apply.

The idea behind Pocket parks is to create small areas of land which can be used by the community in a variety of ways from traditional play areas to quiet oases in an urban setting. Some pocket parks are as small as 0.02 hectares - about the size of a tennis court - but all should bring benefits to their local community.

Cllr Hilary Bastone, Executive Member for Customer First at South Hams District Council said: "The benefits of green spaces and parks are well known, enhancing wellbeing and tackling loneliness and isolation. It's great to see this scheme helping community groups to create new spaces or refurbish derelict ones. "

The department launched the pocket park scheme in 2015, giving local communities the chance to build and own public spaces, in partnership with local authorities, voluntary organisations and businesses. Some 86 pocket parks around England have been funded by MHCLG since 2015.

Any piece of land up to 0.4 hectares which is unused, undeveloped or derelict can be turned into a pocket park.  Similarly, existing parks which have fallen into disrepair or can no longer be used safely are also eligible for the scheme.

Cllr Annabel Roberts, Lead Member for Customer First at West Devon Borough Council said: "There's no official description of what a pocket park is or looks like. The aim is to increase access to good quality green space in a sustainable manner led by the community who will be using it. Communities may be looking to provide a better quality space, increase opportunities for healthy living, relaxation, play, food growing or contact with nature - any of these schemes could qualify for funding."

Constituted community groups have until the 25 January to apply for the scheme. Groups are required to obtain match funding towards the grant awarded and must be supported by the relevant local authority. More information is available online at Gov.UK.