Who said there’s no such thing as a “magic money tree”?
Croydon is to receive £85,000 from a government fund towards improving its parks with tree planting, after the borough was determined to be among those which “rate highly on the Index of Multiple Deprivation and have limited access to green space”.
The Department for Levelling Up announced this morning, “We are making £9million available in equal grants for the creation or significant refurbishment of green spaces in urban areas that need it most across the UK.
“In England, this will go to local authorities in areas with the least access to green space which rate highly on the Index of Multiple Deprivation.”
Someone at the council only has to “opt in” to the programme by the first week in September to automatically receive the cash.
No one at the cash-strapped, and apparently clueless, council was available this morning to comment on whether they would “opt in” to the government scheme, nor to say what they might use the money for.
Croydon is one of 85 local authorities around the country which have been judged to need what might be described as “seed funding” under the scheme. In London, more than half of the capital’s boroughs – Croydon and 15 others – have been judged as needing this particular kind of levelling up.
“The Levelling Up Parks Fund will create new and improved parks in urban areas, helping communities to come together and enjoy the outdoors,” the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced today. More than 100 “new and improved green spaces on their doorstep” are expected to be created with the fund.
“The government hopes each new or improved green space will be an oasis for the local community, boosting creativity and positive mental health whilst also contributing to net zero ambitions.”
Whitehall says that “the cash will be given to councils to create or significantly revamp existing parks in 85 neighbourhoods most deprived of outdoor space”.
They say, “The new parks will significantly increase access to quality green space for those who need it most, particularly supporting people without a garden to spend time with friends and family in the natural world… Councils will be able to choose the nature and location of the new or improved parks in their local area, meaning that each green space will be as unique as the community it serves.”
Greg Clark, who recently took over from Michael Gove as the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, said, “Parks and green spaces are at the heart of our communities, providing sanctuary from the bustling streets of our towns and cities and spaces for people to relax and come together.
“Over the past few years, the importance of spending time with loved ones and getting outdoors has become even more apparent, and this latest government funding will help people living in urban areas do just that.”
Of the total amount of funding, £2million will be used specifically for tree planting.
“Big or small, green areas help us to connect with nature and support the health of our communities,” said Tony Juniper, the chair of Natural England, which is backing the government scheme.
“Our research showed that 4-in-10 people said visiting green and natural spaces had been even more important to their wellbeing since the pandemic began.
“This investment will create new habitats for our precious wildlife and build beautiful places for everyone to enjoy, with our data and expertise supporting the development of green spaces in areas where communities say they are needed the most.”
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