Severe cuts threaten Bankside Open Spaces Trust projects

London Borough of Southwark councillors meet next week (Tuesday 8 February) to discuss a drastic 78 per cent cut to the council's environment and ecology grant programme over the next two years - a move that threatens the future of several projects including the highly acclaimed Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST).

In a letter to BOST supporters, director Helen Firminger says without the funding that supports the trust’s core parks work and enables it to bring in further funds, it is unlikely BOST could continue.

The total grant for seven projects is expected to fall from £311,536 for 2010-11 to £67,534 in 2012-13.

BOST has improved and maintains numerous green spaces in North Southwark with active involvement from the local while community including the Diversity Garden, Mint Street Park and Red Cross Garden which was originally laid out by the Victorian reformer Octavia Hill in 1887 and restored by BOST. More recently the trust has taken on responsibility for Lambeth’s Waterloo Millennium Green.

In its response to Southwark’s consultation on the cuts, the trust said: "The majority of these projects are vital to local communities providing a life affirming resource to focus active citizenship, volunteering, mental wellbeing and community action."

The other projects affected by the proposed cuts are: Centre for Wildlife Gardening, Surrey Docks Farm, Walworth Garden Farm, the Pumphouse, TRUE and Groundwork London.

The consultation document on the proposed cuts can be found at: www.southwark.gov.uk/forms/form/25/have_your_say_on_the_budget.


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