£7m investment in rural community green spaces

28 March 2024
A new fund of up to £7 million has been announced by the government to boost access to nature and support rural communities across England wanting to become more green-fingered.

The new Community Green Spaces Fund will provide funding to help communities create, restore and enhance their green spaces.

Grants of up to £75,000 will be provided to help communities plant fruits, vegetables and trees, creating orchards and kitchen gardens for all to access and enjoy. Landscaping projects could also create raised beds and improve areas to plant different flowers around village hall facilities and other community green spaces, making space for pollinators and nature to thrive.

Expansion of natural play facilities

Funding will also be awarded to support the expansion of natural play facilities that encourage children to spend more time outdoors, in addition to projects that focus on improving access to green spaces such as new paths and seating. To make the spaces more accessible to disabled people, funding will also be available for the creation of disabled parking spaces.

Further support for village halls

An additional £5 million of funding for village halls has also been announced to support capital improvement projects, such as building extensions and the installation of wi-fi. This follows the £3 million of funding made available to mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

Potential to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents

Richard Quallington, Executive Director at ACRE said:
“We welcome the government’s commitment to supporting rural communities so they can make the most of green spaces. The fund has the potential to support a wide range of initiatives that contribute to Net Zero and biodiversity net gain, as well as improving the health and wellbeing of local residents.

“We know from our experience of administering recent grants to village halls that the availability of capital funding can catalyse new projects, many of which have had an environmental focus. We stand ready to support this new scheme.”

The Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) is working with Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) to scope the Community Green Spaces Fund with applications expected to open in early summer.