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A project to help communities make the most of their green spaces has now produced a book to help and inspire others.
Now nearing the end of its final year, the Our Green Space project has enabled five communities in Asby, Barrow-in-Furness, Burgh by Sands, Newbiggin (Penrith) and Wasdale to undertake a mixture of physical improvements, as well as education and celebratory events centred around their local green spaces. It also provided training and resources to many other communities across the county about how to protect and care for their town and village greens.
Led by Friends of the Lake District, and ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, Our Green Space's achievements include: creating a brand new village green with pond, wetland and sports areas at Burgh by Sands, to turning a derelict old railway site into a community garden in Barrow in Furness. An 113 year old listed maypole was renovated and resited at Wasdale village green. Ancient village wells were restored at Newbiggin, and an annual well-dressing festival begun in Asby.
The Our Green Space Case Studies book highlights the key issues the groups faced in their quest to restore, protect, develop and enjoy their local green spaces. It captures many of the achievements made and provides tips and information for anyone wanting to undertake similar work in their community.
Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary for the Open Spaces Society was a speaker at the case studies launch event and said: 'What has been achieved for green spaces in the five Cumbrian communities is tremendous, and will be an inspiration to others. The work of Our Green Space is all the more vital during these tough times, when government proposes to make it much harder to register and protect land as town and village greens, and the planning system is in turmoil. Here in Cumbria you have shown how with energy, enthusiasm and determination it is possible to create and manage green areas for all to enjoy.'
Carol Douglas, Our Green Space Project Officer said: 'The enthusiasm and commitment from all the volunteers has been truly inspirational, proving that the best people to manage and care for local green spaces are those who use and value them.
It has shown how strongly communities care about their green space and how effective they can be given the right support. Once Our Green Space ends however, there is currently nothing in place to provide the support that communities need. Today the threats to our local green spaces remain ever present, so we are working hard to secure funding to build on the achievements of the project and enable this support to continue in the future.'
Several resources have been produced as part of the project and all are available from Friends of the Lake District, including easy to read guides to managing open green spaces, gaining legal protection, and managing them for wildlife.
For a copy of the Our Green Space Case studies book, the Community Green Space: Essential Green Infrastructure advocacy pamphlet, the Open Space Guides or an Outdoor Education pack please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01539 720788. All documents are also downloadable from www.ourgreenspace.org.uk.