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Chance for communities to enhance natural spaces

Published December 08, 2022 9.32am

Those looking to create or enhance areas in their neighbourhood can put plans into action through council funding.

Peterlee Community Garden

Peterlee Community Garden

Applications are now open for our It's Your Neighbourhood scheme (IYN).

Managed by our civic pride team; local organisations, schools and individuals can apply for a grant of up to £500 to run a community project in their area.

Visions for community

Over 100 groups have benefitted from the funding so far, which has been used towards projects such as churchyard works, planting wildflowers, developing a community allotment, and restoring disused land into a nature reserve.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, our Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and partnerships, said: "This funding is a fantastic opportunity for individuals and groups to see their visions for the community come to life. Each year we share the grant between ten organisations. In this way we have been able to boost the wellbeing of neighbourhoods across the county over the last eight years.

"Not only does this grant provide significant community benefits, it also helps the county's natural environment by creating areas which promote biodiversity and support wildlife in line with our Climate Emergency Response Plan. We are encouraging groups to get in touch with us to discuss their ideas, and we're particularly keen to hear from organisations with plans to carry out activity which supports our ambition to tackle the county's ecological emergency."

The IYN grant scheme is open for applications until Friday 20 January 2023. Those interested in applying for funding can contact

Peterlee Community Garden

Peterlee Community Garden has been a recipient of the funding for the last two years, enabling the organisation to carry out projects at its site in Woodhouse Park.

The group has used the grant to install a sensory garden, a 'Walk on the Wild Side' animal sculpture trail, a Mediterranean garden, a pond and wildflower area, as well as raised planters to grow produce to donate to local food banks.

George Pratt, from Peterlee Community Garden, said: "The It's Your Neighbourhood funding has enabled us to progress the garden and the vision we have for the area.

"With the funding, we have installed a pond in our 'Walk on the Wild Side' area, which is enjoyed by families and young children. We have also fixed guttering to the fences surrounding the garden to collect rainwater to water our plants and flowers.

"The garden is used, supported, and enjoyed by groups, residents and community members of all ages and without this funding we would not be able to carry out this work and also be proud recipients of the Northumbria in Bloom awards."

Successful groups

Other groups to be successful in receiving IYN funding include Friends of Jubilee Fields, in Shildon, which used its money to regenerate a disused pathway behind a housing estate into a nature pathway, featuring local artwork.

Friends of Riverside Park, in Chester-le-Street, used the funding it was allocated to create planters of vegetables and herbs for the community to use, as well as litter picks which supported the town's bid for Northumbria in Bloom.