Boris Johnson invites community groups to apply for pocket park funding

London Mayor Boris Johnson, is calling on volunteers and community groups to apply for grants of up to £20,000 each to help create 'pocket parks'.

The Mayor's office wants to create 100 of the tennis court-sized parks from unloved urban spaces by March 2015.

The £500,000 community grant fund is part of a £2m investment. From sensory gardens and treehouses to edible bus stops and rooftop orchards, around 60 projects are already underway, 11 of which are led by community groups.

Among the community-led ‘pocket parks’ already underway is a previously unused space on Yorkshire Grove housing estate in Hackney where thanks to a group of 20 volunteers and £9,800 from the Mayor this patch of green has been planted with 1,000 bulbs and a new ping pong table installed, with more gardening to follow.

Another is springing up in Haringey thanks to £16,500 from the Mayor which is helping to transform a dilapidated children’s play area into a sensory garden, treehouse, and mud play area due to complete next month.

Johnson said: "It is so exciting to see my ‘pocket parks’ springing up all over London as this fantastic project to reinvest pint-sized pots of land goes from strength to strength. With help and support from local communities we are turning small and forgotten urban spaces into small green havens within the city and making London an even better place to live, work and invest."

Madlyn Ray-Jones from Yorkshire Grove Play Area in Hackney said the group was really pleased with its project.

"We have received such a positive response from the local community. It was fantastic to see so many community members involved in helping us plant 1,000 bulbs which were donated as a result of publicising our project through Project Dirt."

The ‘pocket parks’ community grant scheme is being delivered by Groundwork on behalf of the Mayor. It will build on the work of Groundwork’s Transform initiative which began as a key part of the London 2012 Changing Places programme and has forged close links with many small community groups.

Groundwork London director Anita Konrad said: "We were delighted with the imaginative pocket parks proposals that local groups submitted in the first round of the scheme. These prove that small-scale community-led initiatives have the power to transform local neighbourhoods."

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