Greenspace Scotland study gives more clout for funding

Scottish project data puts social return on environmental investment at £17 for every £1 spent.

A report claimed by green-space leaders to be one of the most comprehensive of its kind suggests that every £1 spent on activities in the urban landscape delivers up to £17 in benefits.

Greenspace Scotland looked at 10 environmental community groups as part of the two-year project, which attracted £100,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The environmental charity said its publication Greenspace is Good - So Prove it!, launched last Friday, was the largest single set of social return on investment (SROI) reports produced and proved that green space was good for health and quality of life.

SROI incorporates social, environmental and economic costs and benefits to calcul- ate value. The groups evaluated by Greenspace Scotland for the project included Bridgend Growing Communities, the Friends of Sunnybank Park in Aberdeen and the Gorbals Healthy Living Network in Glasgow.

"The SROI reports revealed that every £1 invested in environmental community activities delivered between £2 and £17 in benefits," said programme manager Karen Carrick.

She added: "We wanted to apply the SROI methodology across different groups of an urban nature. They can use this to make the case for investment, raise their profile, influence decision-makers and establish new partnerships."

Friends of Sunnybank Park chair Sinclair Laing said: "This has forced us to focus our thinking and helped us to identify exactly where we can have our biggest social impact for the people and community with whom we work."

Gorbals Healthy Living Network director Helen Trainor agreed. "Being involved with the programme has enabled us to present a more professional case to assist in funding."

Inside view

"This provides powerful evidence that investing in green space is good value for money, increasingly important in these challenging times. Small investments lever very real benefits in preventative spend. Green spaces deliver big returns in health, improved safety and less antisocial behaviour." - Julie Procter, chief executive, Greenspace Scotland

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