With only a few packages left, time is running out for communities to apply for Keep Wales Tidy’s Local Places for Nature scheme.
A choice of free pre-paid ‘starter’ packages are being offered to community groups and organisations to create help reverse nature’s decline. They include all the plants, tools and materials needed to create small gardens.
There are also free ‘development’ packages available that will enable communities to create larger-scale projects, including food growing areas, wild gardens and rainwater gardens designed to help with localised flooding.
Deputy Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy, Louise Tambini said:
“We’ve had a fantastic response to Local Places to Nature and it’s exciting to see so many new gardens taking shape. Groups and organisations of all shapes and sizes are getting involved, benefitting the well-being of their communities as well as the nature on their doorsteps.
“There’s only a limited number of packages still available. So, if you know an area in your community that needs some TLC, I’d urge you to apply now.”
A panel of experts are assessing the applications each month and have already awarded 486 packages. Practical work to install the gardens is now underway across the country.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
‘’Over the last few months, we have all seen how important nature is for our mental well-being. Our £5m Local Places for Nature programme encourages communities to get involved with creating nature ‘on their doorsteps’. I am delighted Keep Wales Tidy are supporting communities to come together in a covid secure way and are adhering to latest guidelines. I do hope volunteers across Wales apply by 30 September and get involved in projects to restore and enhance nature, in their local communities.”
421 sites have been awarded starter packages. The latest sites to be awarded include:
Carmarthenshire Youth Support Service has been awarded a wildlife starter package. It will help improve the youth centre’s garden, creating an area to boost well-being and encourage mindfulness.
Bulldogs Veterans Allotment, Neath Port Talbot are restoring an overgrown allotment to help local veterans with issues such as PTSD and anxiety. The Local Places for Nature fruit garden will form part of the improvements. The aim is to empower the veterans to deliver lessons to schools on growing and planting.
Gwynedd Warws Werdd is a social enterprise situated on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Caernarfon, offering work experience and day care to 20 adults with learning disabilities. They hope that their fruit garden will be enjoyed by everyone working on site, visiting or passing by.
Hafal Wrexham is a charity working with clients with serious mental health issues. The wildlife garden will be enjoyed and maintained by the occupants with the hope they will develop new gardening skills and create their own pockets of green space in the future.
65 sites have been awarded the larger development packages. The latest sites to be awarded include:
National Autistic Society, Neath Port Talbot has been awarded a wildlife package. The site adjoins several supported living residential properties in Neath Port Talbot, housing a number of adults on the autism spectrum. This project will allow local residents to work alongside their autistic neighbours and begin breaking down barriers and misconceptions – allowing everyone to feel they have a valid contribution to make within their neighbourhood.
Brighter Futures Consortium, Denbighshire have taken on a derelict pub and have transformed it into a thriving community centre. They hope that the community food growing package will enhance their outside space and create an area where all the groups can grow herbs and vegetables, relax and experience a small bit of nature in the heart of an urban area. The creation of the garden will be linked to the Fareshare food poverty programme which operates in the area.
The initiative is part of a wider £5m Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ fund committed to acquiring, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’.
To apply for Local Places for Nature, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru/nature