Applications for Local Places for Nature have reopened, and communities are being urged to apply now to avoid missing out.
Since launching in 2020, more than 1,000 gardens have been created, restored and enhanced across Wales. Community groups and organisations of all shapes and sizes have been involved. Last year, this included emergency services, youth groups, sports clubs and disability charities.
The free packages range from small gardening projects to community orchards and large-scale food growing and wildlife gardens. Each one includes native plants, tools and materials, guidance on how to install the garden, and practical support from Keep Wales Tidy.
A great example of a package in action is Caldicot Town Council’s Community Orchard, which began life as an underused area of mown grass. Volunteers involved in the installation planted 12 fruit trees as well as hundreds of bulbs encouraging interest from further volunteers to maintain the space.
The orchard encourages the principles of healthy food, and has created a productive site, producing food that would otherwise be bought. An unexpected benefit has been the alteration of the management of the wider space around the orchard, to incorporate a relaced mowing regime to benefit wildlife.
Owen Derbyshire, Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy, said: “Local Places for Nature was first and foremost developed to help fight the climate and nature emergencies. But the benefits have gone far beyond creating vital habitats for wildlife; the new gardens have helped bring communities together and provided a much-needed boost to people’s health and wellbeing.
“We can’t wait to see more groups and organisations getting involved over the coming months, creating new spaces for nature that will be enjoyed for generations. We’re expecting a lot of interest, so apply now to avoid disappointment.”
The initiative is funded by the Welsh Government, part of a wider Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ programme committed to creating, restoring, and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’.