Thames Water is co-funding an ambitious new £1.2 million project to help more Londoners enjoy the benefits of nature on their doorstep.
The Grow Back Greener fund will provide grants to dozens of projects to improve access to green spaces in some of the capital’s most deprived areas.
Thames Water is providing £500,000 towards the project in partnership with the Greater London Authority, with community gardens, food growing schemes and pocket parks among those set to benefit.
Last year more than £700,000 was awarded to 34 projects. Thames Water’s funding this year means the programme can now be expanded to reach significantly more communities, helping achieve Mayor Sadiq Khan’s goal of all Londoners living within a ten-minute walk of a green space.
Launching the fund with Mr Khan in London, Sarah Bentley, Thames Water CEO, said: “I’m excited we’re partnering with the Mayor of London on the Grow Back Greener scheme, which closely connects with our own aims to protect the environment and invest in the communities we serve.
“We’ve seen during the pandemic how important access to green spaces and nature is to people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“We kept Walthamstow Wetlands open during lockdowns, which meant over 650,000 Londoners could enjoy the fresh air and see the wildlife the site has to offer. It really mattered to us that we could share such an amazing space during that difficult time.
“Sadly, not everyone has a nature reserve or waterway on their doorstep though, so we’re really supportive of the ambition to make sure every Londoner lives within 10 minutes of green spaces and am proud we’re co-funding this inspiring initiative to create a positive legacy for generations to enjoy.”
An additional £4 million under the separate Green and Resilient Spaces Fund will help protect against climate change by replacing hard surfaces with sustainable drainage and natural flood management schemes; tree-planting to increase shade and reduce the heat given off by roads and buildings, and the restoration of waterways.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I want London to lead the way in tacking the climate emergency and for all Londoners to have access to great green spaces close to where they live.
“The new funding I am announcing today during London Climate Action Week is just the start of even more investment in green spaces, nature and projects to help tackle the climate emergency.”
As well as a shared ambition for a greener, healthier and more equitable London, Thames Water has over a decade of experience administering similar funds across the south.
Since 2015 alone the company has invested nearly £10m through its own Community Investment Programmes with a variety of partners, from large wildlife organisations to small community groups.