Living spaces annual review launched

Green spaces minister Baroness Andrews today launched the living spaces annual review 2004/05 that shows more than 3m has been given out to local communities in the North-West as part of the government’s living spaces scheme.

The initiative has given hundreds of local people the opportunity to revitalise open spaces, with successful projects ranging from a Burnley-based group which created fencing and gates for a community garden, to the regeneration of a play area in Walton le Dale, near Preston.

Nationwide, 600 living spaces projects have been completed since the scheme began, with the equivalent of two community gardens a week and two skate parks a month, being created or improved across the country this year.

Baroness Andrews says: “It has been another successful year for living spaces, with 3,040,976.3 being awarded to 132 community groups in the North West to transform public spaces. The pace of change nationwide has been impressive with the equivalent of one project a day being completed, showing just how effective local action is in driving forward change.

“Whether it’s play areas or community gardens, living spaces is making a real difference to the local environment and people’s quality of life. At the same time, it is encouraging people to take pride in where they live, helping to create a sustainable future for all.”

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is collaborating closely with Groundwork, the environmental charity, which manages the living spaces scheme with support from GreenSpace.

Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Groundwork, says: “Nearly 25 years of working with communities has shown us that people have lots of great ideas but sometimes lack the know-how to turn them into reality. Living spaces bridges that gap, providing the support to help local residents get involved in improving their neighbourhoods.

“Now more of these projects are coming to an end, we can see what a legacy the programme is leaving 100s of groups, creating valuable community spaces from woodlands to wildlife areas and play areas to pocket parks. Groundwork is very proud to be playing a role in helping local people help themselves.”

Living spaces is a government scheme that has provided grants to local groups throughout England, to make improvements to open spaces in their neighbourhood and create valuable places for the whole community to enjoy. This is part of the government’s commitment to creating cleaner, safer, greener communities, for all.