New campaign urges public to give a little back to parks and green spaces

Parks have been a lifeline during lockdown. We have launched a campaign to enable people to give a little back for the many benefits they have derived from their local green space in recent months.

‘Give A Little Back to Local Parks and Green Spaces’ urges Leeds residents and businesses to support our small grants programme which will be distributed later this year to community groups around Leeds passionate about improving their local park.

Projects in local spaces ‘discovered’ during lockdown because of restrictions on travel will be prioritised, as will applications from groups seeking to recruit new park volunteers or get existing volunteers back out in their much loved green spaces.

The campaign will take place online and in and around some of the bigger park sites in Leeds over the summer, and will culminate in a Love Leeds Parks festival of free events and activities between 8-16 August.

‘One of the positive aspects of the past few months has been that it has made us appreciate our local green space even more, whether that’s a community park, woodland, recreation ground or allotment,” said Lynda Kitching, chair of the Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum and a founding member of Love Leeds Parks.

“Life during lockdown would have been much more difficult without these spaces. They are not just nice places to visit. They are crucial for our health and wellbeing as they provide us with space to relax and exercise in, spend time with loved ones and connect with nature.”

The importance of green space was hugely amplified during lockdown but parks’ role in key public policy areas such as tackling climate change, halting biodiversity loss and reducing childhood obesity were increasing pre-Covid.

People can support the Give A Little Back campaign by making a donation online via our fundraising page or at cash donation stations in park cafes and tearooms open to the public again. Cheques can also be made out to Leeds Community Foundation which currently hosts the grants fund.

We are also inviting businesses, especially those close to parks, to support the campaign by holding a fundraising activity over the summer or sponsoring the grants programme. More information can be found at http://loveleedsparks.org.uk/give/businesses/.

Last year we distributed over £23,000 in small grants to community groups in our first grants programme. A diverse range of activity was funded including a wildflower meadow to attract bees and other pollinators; planting trees to protect a playground in a built-up area from pollution; and organising nature walks for people who are socially isolated.

For more information go to www.loveleedparks.org.uk or contact Hannah Coyle by emailing Hannah.coyle@leeds.gov.uk or calling 07891275289.

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