Green Space Research Confirms Positive Effect
Living in urban areas with more green spaces - including community-run sites such as gardens farms and orchards - can significantly improve mental health and well-being for local residents, according to a new study from the University of Exeter.
Data drawn from 10,000 people over 18 years showed that they showed significantly lower mental distress and significantly higher wellbeing during the times they were living in areas with access to local green spaces.
Researchers say the findings could help urban planners and have an impact on society at large. The study has now been published in the journal Psychological Science.
Guide For Landowners Published in Scotland
A new Guide aiming to encourage Scotland’s landowners to make more land available for community growing has been welcomed by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, at an event at the Scottish Parliament.
The Guide For Landowners, produced by the Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS) in Scotland, provides comprehensive information and advice to help landowners play their part in the surge in community gardening and food growing across Scotland.
The publication is a response to recent evidence, including research conducted by Scotland’s Grow Your Own Working Group (GYOWG), which shows community groups can struggle to find land in order to expand and strengthen the capacity of their local community. Meanwhile, many landowners are keen to support such projects, but lack the knowledge of how to go about it, are worried about statutory responsibilities or find the process of lease negotiations too daunting.
The Guide has been created to provide key information on issues such as site suitability, leases, planning and land use and the law. It was written by CLAS in conjunction with the Grow Your Own Working Group, Scottish Land & Estates and The Scottish Government. CLAS is managed by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.
FCFCG supports sugary drinks duty
FCFCG is one of more than 60 organisations backing recommendations in a new report which calls for Budget 2013 to implement a sugary drinks duty.
The report, ‘A Children’s Future Fund – How food duties could provide the money to protect children’s health and the world they grow up in’ has been published by Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming.
It proposes that the money raised from a duty on sugary drinks should be ring-fenced for a ‘Children’s Future Fund’ to spend on programmes to improve children’s health and future well-being.
Pointing to the high levels of diet-related illness which is costing the NHS £6 billion every year, the report makes three recommendations for Budget 2013 to:
- Introduce a sugary drinks duty for the UK which, for example at 20p per litre, would raise around £1 billion a year.
- Ring-fence the majority of money raised from a sugary drinks duty for a Children’s Future Fund, which could be spent on improving children’s health by, for example, providing free school meals, or sustainably produced fruit and vegetable snacks in schools.
- Give an independent body the responsibility to oversee how the sugary drinks duty is implemented and make sure the revenue is spent effectively.
The Big Dig Day
The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) is helping 24 towns and cities to be part in the biggest ever community gardening volunteering day on 16th March 2013, as part of The Big Dig.
At least 200 gardens across England will be taking part in the nationwide event, which is part of The Big Dig, a project which aims to engage thousands of people in community food growing projects.
To date The Big Dig, co-ordinated by Sustain and funded by the Cabinet Office, has recruited 5,000 new volunteers and created over 18,000 opportunities for volunteers to take part in community gardening. The project will hope to tap into and channel the enthusiasm that exists both for gardening and volunteering and promote the positive effects that this can have on the health and wellbeing of individuals and their communities.
FCFCG is involved in The Big Dig through the Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS), an initiative which aims to help make more land available for community use. Experts from CLAS have run successful training events in a number the Big Dig towns and cities.
FCFCG To Run Green Flag Community Award
The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens will play a central role in a new partnership to run the Green Flag Award scheme for the next five years.
FCFCG will be the lead organisation on the Green Flag Community Award, which recognises high quality green spaces in the UK that are managed by voluntary and community groups.
Keep Britain Tidy will run the overall Green Flag scheme, under licence from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), with the aim of increasing the number of well-managed parks and green spaces throughout the UK and licensing the scheme for use internationally. Keep Britain Tidy will manage day-to-day operations in England, with delivery in other UK nations being overseen by its sister charities Keep Wales Tidy, Tidy Northern Ireland and Keep Scotland Beautiful.
In addition, the development and growth of the scheme will be supported by a number of other key partners including GreenSpace, supporting training and international expansion and the National Housing Federation who will support the expansion of the Award into the affordable housing sector.
Growing Together initiative launched
FCFCG is leading a unique, innovative partnership called Growing Together which aims to unlock land for community growing use and support the development of hundreds of sustainable community growing projects, through a new model of finance-raising.
It will do this by blending ‘alternative philanthropy’ (the donation of land, time and skills) with cutting-edge fundraising, such as crowd-funding, community share issues and land donations, to give local community groups the finance, land and resources they need.
The Growing Together initiative (which brings together 19 different community and environmental sector organisations) has been launched thanks to a grant from the Innovation in Giving Fund, which was launched in September 2011 as part of a £34million package to increase levels of social action.
Page 3 of 6