Council’s vision for re-imagined public spaces continues with launch of Islington Greener Together programme

Islington Council’s efforts to re-imagine public spaces and create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough are continuing with the launch of a new programme to support local people to create, plant, and care for new green spaces in the borough.

As part of its mission to tackle the climate emergency, the council is revitalising the borough’s streets, parks and open spaces to make them as environmentally-friendly and attractive as possible.

The council has an exciting vision to green its public spaces, and has planted nearly 700 trees this year to improve its already impressive canopy cover of 25% – significantly above the England average of 16% – is bringing attractive new street planters to its people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, and is turning grey to green by turning unused concrete areas into valuable green space, such as community gardens and parklets.

Islington in Bloom – the borough’s favourite horticultural competition – is also returning in 2022, to encourage local people to reap the mental and physical health benefits of gardening.

The council has local people at the heart of its vision for a cleaner, greener, healthier borough, and is today launching Islington Greener Together so that residents, businesses and community groups can apply for council funding to bring their own ideas to life.

This can help transform unused, unpleasant or unloved spaces into green oases. The council will design, install and launch the green ideas with residents, who will then be responsible for maintaining the new spaces.

Project ideas could include:

  • Food-growing areas for neighbours to come together
  • Community orchards
  • Raised herb gardens
  • Wildlife corridors
  • Pocket parks and parklets

The council is also recruiting Islington Greener Together Champions, who will be provided by the council with support and a training programme to help them to make the most out of the new green spaces.

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We’re reimagining Islington’s public spaces, to help create a more attractive, environmentally-friendly, and biodiverse borough that everyone can enjoy.

“That’s why we’ve planted nearly 700 trees this year to boost our already impressive tree canopy cover, and it’s why we’re working hard to make our borough greener through our annual Islington in Bloom competition and the introduction of on-street planters in some of our people-friendly streets neighbourhoods.

“Islington Greener Together is the latest step in achieving our bold ambition, and will help maximise the borough’s spaces, and support and empower local people to turn grey areas into green oases. If you have an idea that can make your area more biodiverse and attractive, why not apply through Islington Greener Together to make it a reality? The programme is open to gardeners of all abilities, including those that have never planted before, and the council will support you to maintain your lovely new spaces.”

To mark the start of Islington Greener Together, green-fingered residents and volunteers from Elizabeth House Community Centre and Octopus Community Network came together on Wednesday, 2 March for a special planting at the community garden at the Highbury Quadrant estate.

A spokesperson for Elizabeth House Community Centre and Octopus said: “Elizabeth House Community Centre and Octopus have been delighted to come together with Islington Council and local residents to transform three unused spaces, previously overgrown and inaccessible, into an oasis of green tranquillity on Highbury Quadrant estate.

“We started the project in February 2020 with funding from the Mayor of London’s Greener City Fund and support from the council. It is the local people, supported by our partnership and community approach, that have made the green transformation possible, driven by the permaculture ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares.”

Through Islington Greener Together, local people will be able to apply for green spaces in their area through thecouncil’s website. Applications close on Friday, 29 April 2022, with the first projects set to be delivered by Spring 2023.

Notes to editors

Islington Greener Together will support other council initiatives to make the borough cleaner, greener, and healthier. Planting nearly 700 trees this year supports the council’s ambition to achieve 27% tree canopy cover by 2030, with the London average being 21%.

People-friendly streets neighbourhoods are already bringing more pleasant streets, and the introduction of planters to the schemes will help make the borough’s streets even more environmentally-friendly.

Through Islington in Bloom, which is due to launch in the coming weeks, local people – including those that have never planted before – will be able to take up gardening by sprucing up their gardens, creating a colourful window display, or by growing gorgeous houseplants

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