The UK Government has recently announced a total of £39 million to refurbish parks in areas of the country with the lowest access to green space.
Alongside the existing £9m UK-wide Levelling Up Parks Fund (which provides direct grants to deliver over 100 green spaces in the communities with the lowest access), a new £30m parks fund will deliver up to £1m to at least 30 local parks in England for refurbishment with an emphasis on facilities for young families.
Over the past two years, access to parks and green space has become increasingly sought after, with the pandemic emphasising the importance of health and well-being. This new investment initiative will help to ensure that everyone in the country has access to a quality park, regardless of where they live.
Keep Britain Tidy manages the Green Flag Award on behalf of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and, while the number of parks reaching the international Green Flag Award standard – the mark of a quality green space – has increased each year, there are far more award-winning parks in London and the South-East than in the rest of the country.
Commenting on the announcement, the charity’s Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “It is fantastic to see the Government recognise that access to quality parks and green space must be part of the levelling-up agenda.
“We know from our research that for parks to be able to contribute to improvements in health and wellbeing, they must be accessible, well-managed and maintained and offer something for everyone within the community.
“Parks funding has been significantly reduced over time but this targeted money is a first step in the right direction and an acknowledgement that parks are a vital part of our country’s green infrastructure.”
As part of this initiative, Manchester will see the development of a former industrial area, Mayfield, into 6.5 acres of parkland. Comprising an urban square, open greens for lawn sport and informal play; adventure play areas; floodable meadows and biodiverse ecological areas beside the river; and sheltered structures to ensure it’s a park for all weathers, this will be Manchester’s first city-centre public park. Wildflower Turf Ltd will be providing 3000m² of bespoke Wildflower Turf® for this project and we will continue to keep you updated as this exciting project progresses.