Liverpool's award-shortlisted strategy for the city's green spaces is already being translated into action on the ground thanks to funding from Liverpool Primary Care Trust (PCT).
More than 120 applications have flooded in for the new Natural Choices grant created for Liverpool community groups that want to improve people's health and wellbeing through environmental projects in the city. The types of projects eligible range from creating allotments to getting people out and about on woodland walks, with the PCT making a total of £100,000 available.
The scheme has been developed in partnership with The Mersey Forest as part of Liverpool's Decade of Health and Wellbeing. Groups were able to apply for a grant of up to £7,500, with the overall monies eight times over-subscribed after an outpouring of great project ideas from the local community.
To meet the criteria community groups had to demonstrate that their scheme makes positive use of the natural environment and helps people achieve as many as possible of the five ways to wellbeing, which are Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.
You can find out more at www.projectdirtliverpool.com/naturalchoices.
The PCT have also funded the setting up by The Mersey Forest of a regular 'green infrastructure forum' for the city. Launched earlier this year, representatives from key organisations from the planning, health and environment sectors have been coming together at regular meetings to help turn the strategy's recommendations - from making green spaces a crucial part of new developments, to promoting green roofs - into action.
The Mersey Forest and the PCT are also working with local residents, schools and community groups to green West Everton. It is intended that the project will include tree planting, the creation of wildflower areas and new street greenery to provide a brighter, healthier neighbourhood and to encourage people to take ownership of and explore the green spaces on their doorsteps. Alongside improvements by the Council's Sustrans funded Connect2 Everton project, which provides safer road crossings, traffic calming, lighting and signage, residents will have safer routes on which to choose alternative ways of healthy travel, such as cycling and walking to and from workplaces and learning centres.