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A slice of the Big Apple coming to a neighbourhood near you

09 November 2015

Funding is now available to transform some of England’s most unloved small spaces into Manhattan-style 'pocket parks'

Funding is now available to transform some of England's most unloved small spaces into Manhattan-style 'pocket parks'. Community groups supported by local authorities will be invited to apply for a slice of £1.5million funding, which could see up to 100 under-used sites turned into small parks for people to enjoy right in the middle of some of the country's biggest towns and cities.
Pocket parks were first created in New York in the 1960s as people increasingly looked for green spaces among the towering skyscrapers. The most famous example is the award-winning Paley Park in Manhattan, which includes a 20-foot high waterfall and an overhead canopy formed by locust trees.
Proposals could include creating wildlife habitats, transforming run-down gardens or simply creating green oases in bustling neighbourhoods. Pocket parks are defined for this funding as a piece of land of up to 0.4 hectares, although many are around 0.02 hectares - the size of a tennis court.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said, "Parks and green spaces give us all a chance to relax and unwind from the rigours of modern life. They breathe life into our bustling towns and cities, and provide valuable space for communities to socialise, take part in exercise and children to play. Today's £1.5 million funding for pocket parks will help transform scores of unloved spaces across our country, providing communities with parks that will be enjoyed for years to come."
Communities Minister Marcus Jones said, "Parks are the gateway to the great outdoors and can provide a real boost to people's wellbeing. They are particularly important in town centres where many don't have their own gardens. That's why with this new funding we are regenerating underused spaces and helping to make sure everyone has access to the green space they deserve."
The programme will build on the success of a similar scheme in London, which has seen a number of pocket parks created across the capital. Examples include St Luke's Wildlife Garden in Hackney which has transformed a courtyard in the centre of a residential housing estate into a new natural play space and the Dinosaur Play Park in Haringey, which is turning a poor quality and underused play area into a space for local families to enjoy. 


More information:

  • The project invites communities, with the support of their local authority, to make an application for up to £10,000 capital and up to £5,000 resource funding per project. The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on Thursday 10 December.
  • The funders are particularly interested in enabling communities living in deprived urban areas who currently have less access to green space to take the lead in improving their public space and as such would welcome applications from urban areas where there are significantly deprived wards.  
  • There is no prescription on what a pocket park should look like - both innovative and traditional proposals are welcome. They are also keen to see applications from projects aiming to improve their local town centre or high street with a community green space. The aim is to increase access to good quality green space in a sustainable and community-led manner.
  • The application form and frequently asked questions can be found here. Any questions please contact [email protected]