October marked the beginning of the second phase of the Breathing Places grants scheme. £4m was made available for projects that make a lasting improvement to the local environment as well as supporting the development of existing ones.
Launched in June 2006, Breathing Places is a three-year BBC-led campaign to inspire families, friends and neighbours to "create and care for green places where they live." Everywhere from neighbourhood parks, school grounds and workplaces to local nature reserves is eligible. The campaign is supported by a small cash grants programme from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).
BIG launched the scheme in June with a first tranche of £1m. Local community groups across the capital could apply for grants of up to £10,000 to transform and develop Breathing Places as an oasis for people and wildlife. The successful first round applicants were announced in October.
Among the first round winners were Clara Grant Primary School in Tower Hamlets working with Bow Arts Trust, an educational charity. They have been awarded £10,000 to organise a competition for graduate landscape designers to convert the concrete courtyard of the Trust headquarters with assistance from volunteers and Clara Grant School.
Also in Tower Hamlets, the national tree-planting charity Trees for Cities has been awarded a £10,000 grant to work with LB Tower Hamlets and the local community to develop a local inner city square.
In neighbouring Hackney, Thames 21, an environmental charity, is planning on using a £10,000 grant for their Regents Canal project in Haggerston. The project will work with the community to clean up and enhance the canalside as a wildlife corridor.
In West London, Chiswick House Kitchen Garden group promotes understanding of organic gardening, and wildlife and encourages local school children and those from deprived backgrounds to become involved in environmental activities. A £4,500 grant enabled the group to embark on a project to remove a derelict shade tunnel and convert further derelict land into an area for cultivation.
In the just-announced second phase of Breathing Places, a much wider range of organisations can access funding including schools, local health bodies, parish councils and voluntary and community groups.
For information about the Breathing Places grants programme and an application pack, go to BIG's website at www.biglotteryfund.co.uk (opens in new window) or call 0845 367 0610. More information about Breathing Places can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces (opens in new window).