£6m investment to improve green spaces across London

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a further £6m investment to the ‘Grow Back Greener’ fund to improve outdoor spaces across London, focusing on some of the most disadvantaged areas

The £1.2m Grow Back Greener fund, with £500,000 provided by Thames Water, will offer grants to dozens of community-led projects to help more Londoners access green space in their neighbourhoods.

It will focus on the most disadvantaged areas, supporting community gardens, food growing projects, pocket parks and cleaner waterways.

Separately, the new £4m Green and Resilient Spaces Fund will support large-scale green space projects, helping to tackle the climate emergency by reducing the risk of floods and keeping our city cool.

This could include restoring rivers, creating new wetlands, opening up new green connections between parks, or creating new woodlands.

Funding will be targeted where it is most needed, using cutting-edge data, including our new climate risk mapping, that highlights where Londoners are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of London’s green spaces for Londoners’ health and wellbeing. London’s parks saw the highest increase in usage of anywhere in the country during the first lockdown last spring.

Lockdown has also brought into sharp focus the inequalities in access to green space across our city.

Khan visited the Cookbook Edible Library project awarded funding through the first round of the Mayor’s Grow Back Greener Fund in December 2020.

The project has transformed an unused piece of land to create a community kitchen and a garden at St Ann’s Library, which is helping local families and young people learn to grow and cook their own food, as well as giving 14-24-year-olds the chance to learn new skills whilst participating in outdoor activities, including construction and gardening.

Great green spaces

Sarah Bentley, Thames Water CEO, said: “I’m excited we’re partnering with the Mayor of London on the Grow Back Greener scheme, which closely connects with our own aims to protect the environment and invest in the communities we serve.

“We kept Walthamstow Wetlands open during lockdowns, which meant over 650,000 Londoners could enjoy the fresh air and see the wildlife the site has to offer. It really mattered to us that we could share such an amazing space during that difficult time.

“Not everyone has a nature reserve or waterway on their doorstep though, so the creation of more neighbourhood green spaces is something I strongly support and am proud we’re co-funding this inspiring initiative to create a positive legacy for generations to enjoy.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As Mayor, I want London to lead the way in tacking the climate emergency and for all Londoners to have access to great green spaces close to where they live.

“The new funding I am announcing today during London Climate Action Week is just the start of even more investment in green spaces, nature and projects to help tackle the climate emergency.

“The community-led projects that benefit from this programme provide so much more than just improved green space for local communities.

“The Cookbook Edible Library project I am visiting today provides an educational, safe space for young people to develop new skills – providing positive opportunities and alternatives to those who might be vulnerable to getting drawn into gangs.”

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