Sustainable Spaces update #WorldEnvironmentDay

Sustainable Spaces update #WorldEnvironmentDay

We are announcing a brand new project in partnership with Groundwork to put carrier bag levy monies to good use investing in community projects that increase access to sustainable spaces for all.

Andrea Rudge (second right), Central England Co-operative Member and Community Council member and Nigel Smith, Store Manager (far left) meet the Groundwork team at The Green Patch, Kettering

Community spaces, particularly within deprived communities, are often just about surviving financially. Recent reports from the National Trust and the National Education Union suggest £5.5billion is needed to level up access to urban green space and Government spending on school buildings has been cut by £1.1bn over the last two years.

We know that parks and green spaces have become our classrooms, gyms, meeting space and even our workplaces. The National Trust research shows that during the coronavirus pandemic usage was up 25 per cent in May 2020 compared to May 2018.​

Covid-19 has exposed deep inequalities in access to green space:

  • 295 deprived neighbourhoods of 440,000 people are grey deserts, with no trees or accessible green space
  • In areas where over 40 per cent of residents are from ethnic minorities, there is 11 times less public green space than in areas where residents are largely white, and it is also likely to be of poorer quality
  • Black and Asian people visit natural settings 60 per cent less than white people, despite the fact that ethnic minority communities statistically value parks more than their white counterparts​
  • In the poorest 20 per cent of households, 46 per cent don’t have a car, so urban parks and green spaces are their only opportunity to have contact with nature

We've shortlisted 12 sites that will be visited over the next month and will announce a minimum of four sites for investment over the summer. Groundwork will be working closely with our colleagues, neighbours and community organisations to make sure these spaces enrich and improve communities - designing spaces that fill need in the community and are sustainable for the long term.

You can see below some of the exciting ideas for these sustainable spaces.