Twelve voluntary groups have been awarded over £155,000 for community projects across the capital.
The grants will pay for initiatives including night athletics sessions for disabled people at Parliament Hill, delivered by Highgate Harriers; a volunteer-led habitat enhancement project in the Square Mile, with the help of Friends of City Gardens and an environmental community outreach schools scheme run by Field Studies Centre.
All 12 projects are funded by the City of London Corporation’s Central Grants Programme, which supports community, cultural, environmental, educational and employment projects across the capital. It is administered by City Bridge Trust, the City Corporation’s charitable funder.
Other projects receiving grants include Alzheimer’s Association’s ‘Singing for the Brain’ dementia support project in Epping Forest, and the Capital Cricket Club’s women’s and girl’s physical activities scheme in West Ham Park in Newham.
Graeme Smith, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, said:
“It makes me proud to award these great organisations funding to carry out their important work.
“These schemes provide much-needed support for their local communities and Londoners which we serve.
“I hope this trend continues and look forward to seeing more organisations applying for these grants in the future.”
Graham Norris from Highgate Harriers Athletics and Cross Country Running Club said:
“We are thrilled to have been successful with our grant application. This will allow us to continue our community work with two new projects.
“The first is a new running fitness weekend group on Hampstead Heath with a twist – the group will run to an area that needs work, such as a pond clearance, gardening work or general tidy up, complete the work then run back.
“We are particularly keen to attract local residents who may not otherwise have considered running on the Heath.
“The other is a new Tuesday evening disability session that will link with Special Olympics Camden. Our club has been heavily involved with disabled athletics in Camden for a number of years. This funding will help give opportunities to people with any disability, physical or intellectual, to enjoy athletics at the fantastic facilities of the running track at Parliament Hill”.
Sarah Hudson from the Friends of City Gardens said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded funding to support biodiversity enhancements in public green spaces across the City.
“We plan to install more bird feeding stations and bird baths; train more volunteers to survey plants, pollinators and bats and substantially increase the number of observations we record on the Green Space Information for Greater London database.
“We will be continuing to support the population of Black Redstart birds, protect and nurture our newly discovered bat population and also provide weekly gardening and biodiversity discovery sessions for children at the City of London Primary Academy Islington.”
The City of London Corporation protects and conserves 18 major green spaces in London and south-east England – including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest – and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile.
It manages important wildlife habitats including ancient woodlands, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.
Its green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve. They are funded by over £29million a year from the City Corporation, together with donations, sponsorship, grants and income generated on site.