The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced 34 community projects which will be receiving grants worth almost £700,000 through his Grow Back Greener Fund with a focus on areas of deprivation where residents are less likely to have access to green space.

The Grow Back Greener Fund is part of the Mayor’s programme to secure a green recovery from COVID-19. A total of £699,000 has been awarded to community projects that will be delivered between now and September 2021. They include community gardens, mini parks, greening streets, allotments to benefit the local community as well as new training opportunities for 1000 Londoners.

The fund is a key part of the Mayor’s Green New Deal for London mission which aims to support those most likely to experience cold, damp homes, poor air quality and with limited access to green space.

The importance of access to green space, to help Londoners’ physical and mental wellbeing, was brought into sharp focus during lockdown. Projects were prioritised in areas of the city that have poor access to open space and nature, especially where these are also areas of deprivation; and projects that work with or are led by Londoners who are less likely to access green space. This includes BAME and lower income Londoners, and over-65s.

More than 90 per cent of projects are in areas of deprivation and over 80 per cent are in areas where less than half of households have good access to open space*. The fund will also support projects that help Londoners to adapt to the impact of climate change in neighbourhoods that are most vulnerable to these risks such as overheating and surface water flooding.

The projects will improve more than six hectares of green space - around the size of 11 football pitches - and create almost half a hectare of brand new green cover helping London adapt and respond to the climate and ecological emergency. They will also create opportunities for more than 2,000 Londoners to get involved in volunteering outdoors, of which 1,000 will take part in training opportunities, including in horticulture and other green skills.

Through funding these projects, the Mayor will support environment charities and grassroots groups as they recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The list of projects comprises:

  • Sunnyhill Nature Garden, led by London Borough of Lambeth and Sunnyhill Nature Garden Umbrella Group, which will create an accessible community garden from a currently overgrown, closed off site in Streatham
  • The Wardle Street Project, led by Core Arts, which will green the route between Homerton High Street and Homerton Hospital in Hackney, with a community orchard, a new meadow and a green wall
  • Allotment of Refuge, led by Action for Refugees in Lewisham, which will transform an unloved allotment into a food growing and training space for refugee, asylum seeker and No Recourse to Public Funds families.
  • Cookbook Edible Library, led by London Borough of Haringey, Volunteer It Yourself and Edible London, which will transform an underused area at St Ann’s Library in Tottenham into an educational garden space, whilst providing training for local young people
  • Nurturing Nature in New Cross, led by The New Cross Gate Trust, which will revitalise a community garden and establish a new gardening club for local people
  • Pavement Plants for People, led by South London Botanical Institute, which will green the high street between Tulse Hill and West Norwood in Lambeth, including ten depaved beds and three rain gardens to reduce surface water flooding
  • Swinbrook Estate Greening Project, led by Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Swinbrook Residents’ Association, which will establish a mini-park along Acklam Road in North Kensington, forming the starting point for a borough-wide “bee superhighway”
  • Grow Back Greener Estates, led by Incredible Edible Lambeth, which will create spaces for nature and food growing at six housing estates in Lambeth, providing a template and catalyst for transforming how housing land is managed across the borough
  • Green Up Priory, Let’s Go, led by OrganicLea, which will work with residents to create a network of green corridors and communal gardens at Priory Court Estate in Waltham Forest
  • Northolt’s Breathing Spaces, led by Building Bridges Careers Services, which will turn three unused and neglected sites into community “breathing spaces” including at Radcliff Estate and Medlar Estate in Ealing
  • Grow Back Greener with Nature Vibezzz, led by Nature Vibezz, which will enhance three sites in Lambeth with community-led greening activities including new hedging, trees and wildflower meadows.
  • Bethnal Green Wetlands Rescue, led by Bethnal Green Nature Reserve Trust, which will restore the wetlands areas at the reserve in Tower Hamlets whilst delivering a training programme for young BAME Londoners.
  • Creation of Northcote Local Nature Reserve, led by London Borough of Hounslow and Friends of Northcote Nature Reserve, which will transform a green space with limited wildlife value into a diverse range of habitats in Isleworth
  • Green Health in our Hands, led by Company Drinks, which will run a 6-month greening and training programme with vulnerable women in Barking and Dagenham.
  • PiPs and Seeds, led by Pursuing Independent Paths, which will revive the community garden at Randolph GP surgery in Westminster, working with adults with Learning Disabilities, Autism and mental health challenges

The Grow Back Greener Grant was agreed earlier this year as a response to COVID-19 and builds on the Mayor’s previous investment since 2016 through the £13 million Greener City Fund, which has already supported:

  • the improvement of over 400 hectares of green space, including £3.3M awarded to over 180 Community Green Space projects, and 6 major Green Capital projects.
  • the planting of over 280,000 trees, with funding committed for a further 5,000 street trees this winter, and two new major woodland creation projects creating 84 hectares of accessible green space in the Green Belt
  • This is part of the London Recovery Board’s ambition to double the size of the green economy in London to £100 billion by 2030, an ambition that would kick-start greater job growth over the next decade. The London Recovery Board’s nine recovery Missions can be found here (p.6):

Full project summaries, with breakdown of boroughs, can be found here: