Believe the green evidence

The critical importance of the green space under the management of social landlords throughout England is highlighted this week by the Neighbourhoods Green good practice guide for managers.

There's a lot of it. In some areas more landscape is managed by social landlords than the local authority parks department. And it reaches the people that many other green spaces do not reach - our most disadvantaged communities. For more than eight million people these doorstep green spaces have the potential to provide countless personal and social benefits - but only when the commitment is made to invest in them with quality design, installation and maintenance.

As the guide's best practice case studies illustrate, when well-managed, these doorstep greens have the proven capacity to build communities through training opportunities for tenants, volunteering projects, food-growing schemes, apprenticeships and more.

The need to get the importance of these spaces up the agenda of both local and national politicians has never been more urgent. New social housing has already been hit by huge capital grant cuts. Now the social housing community itself is set to come under enormous pressure thanks to coming welfare reforms.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, a Neighbourhoods Green partner, describes housing associations as "about ordinary people building great neighbourhoods in difficult circumstances, people who really understand what contributing to the community means." Politicians should be getting behind these neighbourhood builders, and as Neighbourhoods Green shows, green space is the perfect place to start.


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