Businesses Back New Community Grants Scheme for Urban Parks

Thirteen environmental groups and community organisations have been awarded funding to improve their local park by a new grants scheme which highlights the environmental benefits of urban parks.

The groups received grants of £500 -£2500 through Love Leeds Parks, a partnership initiative involving Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum and Leeds City Council, aimed at protecting and improving public green space in the city.

Most of the £23,000 distributed in grants was generated by business donations, while visitors at cafes and shops on busy park sites also contributed to the fund.

The initiative comes at a time of increased recognition of the benefits of urban parks in cleaning the air and mitigating the impact of climate change, and growing calls for business investment in environmental causes.

Projects awarded funding  include, the restoration and extension of a heavily silted pond in Gledhow Valley Woods, tree planting to provide shade and improve biodiversity around an urban playground, and strengthening river banks in North Leeds to reduce flooding risk.

Simon Burke of playground supplier KOMPAN which supported the grants programme, said: “KOMPAN are honoured to support Love Leeds Parks which offers groups the opportunity to improve their local spaces with localized grants – an invaluable gift to communities.”

“We understand the importance of these vital community spaces as they assist communities to engage together; play, relax, and simply enjoy the fresh air.”

Kate Hainsworth, Chief Executive of Leeds Community Foundation, said: “It’s great to see so many projects funded. Protecting and developing green spaces is key to offering experiences for all in Leeds and investing in our environment by supporting schemes that play their part in tackling climate change.”

Martin Calvert, chair of Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods: “We are delighted and very grateful for the Leeds Parks Fund grant which will help us create a permanent, sustainable pond and new habitats for wildlife including newts, dragon flies, insects and butterflies. The pond can be visited by the general public and will encourage local schools to get involved in our work.”

Love Leeds Parks is part of a cluster of initiatives across the UK to make parks more sustainable by promoting community and business support of parks. Park Foundations have been set up for this purpose in the Lake District, Bournemouth, Bristol and Bath, and Redcar and Cleveland

The first grants round was heavily over-subscribed and Love Leeds Parks are seeking business partners to support another community grants round later this year.

For more information or media queries contact Hannah Coyle at Love Leeds Parks by emailing hannah.coyle@leeds.gov.uk or calling her on 07891275289.

For information about how to get your business involved in supporting the project go to http://loveleedsparks.org.uk/give/businesses/ or call  0113 3781608

Pictures supplied are of Leeds Coppice Workers which received funding, a Friends of Gledhow Valley Wood volunteer, Love Leeds Parks merchandise, and KOMPAN visiting a summer roadshow event

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