'Green spaces' or 'green infrastructure' are terms used frequently by funders or other decision-makers, but what are they referring to? Parks, green roofs, cycle paths, SuDS, allotments, gardens, woodlands, meadows, street planters and trees all come under the umbrella term of green spaces. Green infrastructure tends to refer to urban systems and can include storm-water management, whereas green spaces are more often used by community groups to talk about publicly accessible natural assets like local parks.
You may have also heard of 'blue infrastructure' which refers to things like rivers, lakes, ponds, canals and docks – basically water based assets.
So what do green spaces do for your community?
Some of the benefits of green spaces include:
– Improving health by decreasing air pollution and providing opportunities for outdoor recreation
– Increasing mental well-being by decreasing stress levels and reducing noise pollution
– Enhancing community cohesion by providing places for people to meet, exercise, or socialise
– Boosting economic productivity by making spaces more attractive to live or work in
– Improving ecosystem resilience to extreme weather by slowing the flow of flood water and providing habitats for wildlife
It is no surprise then that green spaces are championed and protected by communities Wales-wide. As well as benefitting visitors or residents, green spaces also provide the backdrop for a vast array of community projects including sporting, learning, befriending and therapeutic activities.
Examples of green space projects and support organisations:
An innovative scheme to better manage rainwater to make Grangetown a cleaner, greener place to live. Using the latest techniques, this scheme will catch, clean and divert rainwater directly into the River Taff instead of pumping it over 8 miles through the Vale of Glamorgan to the sea. Work is expected to be completed in June 2018 and will include new trees, planters, grass channels, kerb drainage and rain gardens.
Groundwork: Green Spaces
The Green Spaces team supports neighbourhoods to develop pride in their communities, by developing open spaces to make them cleaner, greener and safer. The team offers landscape design expertise to facilitate the development of well designed community gardens, parks, play areas, footpaths and natural spaces.
Keep Wales Tidy: Green Flag for Parks Awards
The Green Flag Award is all about connecting people with the very best parks and green spaces. An enormous variety of green spaces can apply for the Green Flag Award, from small urban parks to huge country parks, university campuses, housing estates and even cemeteries. There is also a Green Flag Community Award for community managed spaces such as allotments, woodlands, local nature reserves and community gardens.
How can you start or expand a green space project?
Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme
A new Welsh Government grant funding programme, delivered by WCVA, to help communities living within 5 miles of certain waste transfer stations or landfill sites take action for their local environment. Grants of between £5,000 and £49,999 are available for projects focusing on one or more of the following themes:
– Waste minimisation and the diversion of waste from landfill
– Wider environmental enhancements
The first round of funding is now open with a deadline of 26 July 2018.
If you would like to know more about the fund and how to apply, there will be funding surgeries available at the events listed below.
Helping Nature Work for Your Community
These free events will share experiences from projects using nature to deliver better health, recreation and skills whilst also protecting our natural resources and wildlife for future generations. You'll also hear from funders and support bodies that can help you do the same.
– Tuesday 19 June 2018 – CAVS, Carmarthenshire
– Thursday 21 June 2018 – Glyndwr University, Wrexham
– Friday 22 June 2018 – Butetown Community Centre, Cardiff
– Understand the policy framework around natural resources in Wales
– Learn about setting up and running a nature-based community project from practical project examples
– Find out about grant funding available for projects and organisations to benefit nature and communities in Wales
– Increase your knowledge of good governance, networking, and publicity support available to groups
If you would like to know more about setting up or running a green space project, check out the Environet webpages for more advice and guidance.
Get in touch!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more advice on sources of funding, potential project partners, and good governance. If you already have a green spaces project you want to shout about we can also promote your good work through our e-newsletter and social media.