Pocket Parks Project
At the very end of last year, GPC applied for a grant called ‘Pocket Parks’. This was an opportunity for community-led organisations, in partnership with local authorities, to apply for funding to create new pocket parks and/or refurbish existing parks. This grant was initiated by the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government to allow communities to protect and enhance vital green spaces.
“Providing good quality green spaces where people can come together, enhance their wellbeing, have access to healthy exercise, meet other people and find companionship are vital in addressing issues such as rising health costs, loneliness and division within local communities. Local parks and green spaces provide a wealth of opportunities to get closer to nature, meet up with friends, play, take physical exercise, walk the dog or even just have some quiet time in the fresh air with a cup of coffee from their local high street. They can be used to benefit the economy by hosting events which support local retailers and providing venues for business activities. They can offer communities access to space to facilitate community integration.”
Initially we hoped to transform the old play area, but when this required permission from the landowner, it became apparent that this area was no longer a secure parish asset and so instead an application was made to create a new area within the village field. This application focussed primarily on creating a space for wildlife, to include a community orchard, landscaping, planting, habitat enhancements with bug hotels, owl, bat and bird boxes – a living landscape.
The £15,500 grant was awarded and we are excited to deliver the project as outlined in the application. Although the initial aim of the scheme was to complete the park in March/April, Pocket Parks accept there can be unforeseen delays, such as the weather, heavy rainfall, ground conditions and although they probably hadn’t considered the possibility of a lockdown – I’m confident that applies too!
This is very much a community project and GPC would like to invite residents to be involved in the creation of this special space. The project does need to be completed by the end of February 2021, but there will be other opportunities to get involved.
With the help of our village wildlife experts, local residents and some advice from a living landscapes specialist, we will hopefully see an increase in butterflies, amphibians, hedgehogs, birds and other creatures reported to live right here in Gaydon! We’d like to get the community involved in planting and creating these habitat enhancements.
Access and other improvements
As part of the project GPC are also looking at improving access to the field, including a new or refurbished gate, fencing and drainage. A path is also planned as it will need to be accessible to all.
Hopefully this can be something for us all to look forward to and to enjoy once our community can resume village life as we knew it, but maybe a bit closer and better connected!