Financed by proceeds from the Starbucks 5p cup charge, the £1.2 million Greener Communities Fund from environmental charity Hubbub and NHS Charities Together aims to create and improve UK green spaces.
Grants of between £29,000 and £200,000 are being given to ten chosen NHS charities for up to two years to fund projects that aim to improve the health and well-being of the public, including NHS staff.
The projects must create or improve community spaces and increase access to nature for people who have had limited access to green spaces, such as hospital patients and visitors, people living in urban communities or specific community groups.
Some of the selected projects include a therapeutic woodland space for young people in mental health crisis in Birmingham, a nature trail, green spaces and workshops for patients with long-term health conditions in London and an accessible play area for a children’s respite service in Norfolk.
Hubbub says the selected projects demonstrate “clear social and/or health benefits”, such as improved mental health, reduced social isolation and access to healthy diets, as well as a positive impact on the local environment.
During the pandemic, it became abundantly clear how important green spaces are for our health and wellbeing.
Commenting on the fund, Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said: “During the pandemic, it became abundantly clear how important green spaces are for our health and wellbeing. There is sadly however significant inequality in access to these spaces, which is why we’re so pleased to be working with Starbucks and Hubbub on this new fund.
“Working with the local NHS charities who have been selected, we look forward to seeing the impact this funding makes for NHS staff, patients, and communities around the UK.”
The fund was open for expressions of interest from NHS charities from 7 December and shortlisted projects were invited to submit full applications in February 2023. The winning projects will be selected by a grant panel including representatives from Hubbub, Starbucks and NHS Charities Together.
Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder at Hubbub, commented: “This fund has the potential to make a positive difference not just to people’s wellbeing, but also to the environment. As well as the direct environmental impact of more green spaces, studies have shown that spending time in nature makes people more likely to make environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.
“We are delighted to partner with NHS Charities Together to draw on their expertise in health and wellbeing and it is great to see so many of the selected NHS charities partnering with groups who can provide expertise in greening projects to support project delivery.”