Rundown landscapes gain grants for regeneration

Jaded landscapes and grimy canalsides across England have been thrown a cash lifeline to encourage young people to help turn them into teeming social hubs.

The £3.6m will help improve 15 areas, with the biggest grant to help regenerate public spaces in Perry Common, Birmingham.

Almost £390,000 from the lottery will fund volunteering jobs, improve biodiversity and give horticultural training for youngsters.

Nearly £370,000 aims to draw people from deprived areas of Hartlepool into the town's green spaces by paying for new volunteers, environmental training and events.

A grant of £125,000 will help improve wildlife and heath around Rochdale Canal in east Manchester and provide learning opportunities.

Natural England runs the Access to Nature scheme, which helps people of all backgrounds use and improve their local environment.

Richard Benyon, under-secretary for the natural environment, said the grants would allow people to create natural environments that everyone could enjoy.

Natural England chief executive Helen Phillips said: "This builds on the idea of helping communities make their own choices on how to use local environments."

Big Lottery Fund chief Peter Wanless added: "These projects improve people's life chances."

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