Lottery funding for Growing Communities initiative
Released: Thursday, 22 June 2017
An innovative project to create happier and healthier communities by involving people with their local open spaces has received nearly £660,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The Growing Communities programme will work with residents in the Northbrook area of Worthing and Eastbrook in Fishersgate and is the result of a partnership between Adur & Worthing Councils and The Conservation Volunteers charity (TCV).
Growing Communities aims to harness the ideas and energy of local people and support them in improving the places in which they live, and in doing so, enhance their own health and opportunities.
It is among 1,903 projects across England sharing more than £50 million in National Lottery funding. More than £5 million of the funding goes to 201 projects in the South East.
The Growing Communities project will focus on underused open spaces in the area, working with the local community to understand their needs and supporting them to transform the spaces for people to enjoy for years to come.
Activities will be decided by the local communities themselves, but examples could include:
- Setting up mini allotments
- Courses and workshops on wildlife, trees and habitats
- A Green Gym where volunteers get exercise by planting trees or creating ponds
Councillor Val Turner, Worthing's Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“I'm delighted we have received this funding, which will help us to achieve our vision for greater community involvement in our parks and open spaces which, in turn, will have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.”
“We outline this ambition in Platforms for our Places, our three-year plan on how we aim to create prosperous, healthy, happy and connected communities.”
Councillor David Simmons, Adur's Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, added:
"We believe strongly in empowering people to play an active role in our communities to help them and their local areas to thrive.”
“We've already been working with our communities in our parks and open spaces and I'm looking forward to building on our partnership with TCV.”
Darren York, TCV's Chief Executive, said:
"TCV believes that there are significant and lasting benefits to be derived - for people's health, prospects, communities and environment - by connecting people with outdoor places and with each other.”
“After several years working in close partnership with local communities and Adur & Worthing Councils, this valuable support from the Big Lottery Fund will take our partnership to the next level. Growing Communities will provide a model for connecting people and outdoor places across the UK."
- The Conservation Volunteers charity (TCV) website
- Big Lottery Fund website
- Community Greenspaces, Garden Share and Community Gardens
Case study: New way to help an ancient woodland grow stronger
Home to elm and oak trees dating back hundreds of years, Whitebeam Woods is the only remaining ancient woodland in Worthing.
The leafy oasis in Durrington is looked after by the Friends of Whitebeam Woods, a small and dedicated group of volunteers who manage this special Site of Nature Conservation Importance with permission from Worthing Borough Council.
The woods have suffered from vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the past and the Friends are working hard to tackle this by engaging more with local people about the value of the site as well as recruiting more volunteers to run community events and help with tasks such as coppicing, tree planting and wildlife surveys.
The Friends have benefited enormously from a networking forum supported and developed by a pilot of the Growing Communities project. The forum, the Green Spaces Partnership, brings together community groups to exchange ideas, learn new skills and share best practice.
Ann Townsend, of the Friends of Whitebeam Woods, said:
“We have found involvement in the Green Spaces Partnership very beneficial. It has given us access to other groups working in the area that we have had limited contact with in the past and training opportunities locally that have enabled us to get involved.”
As a result, the Friends have linked up with two other groups, Sustainable Sussex and the Worthing Conservation Volunteers.
“Sustainable Sussex supported us throughout the day on a coppicing project. Their attitude was such that it enthused all present and this has continued well after this initial contact. The wood produced during this, and subsequent, project days has been used by Sustainable Sussex on other projects. We will be working closely with them for years to come.”
The Worthing Conservation Volunteers now regularly support the Friends of Whitebeam Woods, bringing skills, knowledge and larger numbers of volunteers that have enabled them to achieve much more.
The new Growing Communities work, supported by the Big Lottery Fund and Adur & Worthing Councils, will enable other groups to make links and work together as well as support new ones.
Photo: Volunteers at work in Whitebeam Woods
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Adur & Worthing Councils,
Worthing Town Hall,