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Council and community organisations secure £20,000 for pocket parks

RUGBY Borough Council has joined forces with community organisations to secure £20,000 from the Government's new Pocket Parks programme.

The council worked with New Bilton Community Association and Benn's Friends to bid for funding from the programme, which aims to create or improve green spaces in urban areas.

And the Department for Communities and Local Government has now announced both bids have been successful, with each receiving a £10,000 grant.

New Bilton Community Association and the council have drawn up plans to create Gladstone Green Pocket Park, in Gladstone Street, complete with seating, fruit trees and raised beds for the growing of fruit, vegetables and herbs - an expansion of the council's successful edible borders project.

Sheela Hammond, chair of New Bilton Community Association, said: "We're delighted our application for Pocket Park funding has been approved.

"This will create a community leisure facility for all residents to enjoy fresh air, exercise, growing fruit and vegetables, and, in future, open air events, all through transforming a piece of waste ground."

Meanwhile the council and Benn's Friends plan to build a new mini multi-use games area at Craven Road's Millennium Green, with football and basketball facilities.

When completed, the council plan to rename the pocket park, Whistance Millennium Green, in memory of the late ward councillor Brian Whistance, who played an instrumental role in the creation of the park at the turn of the century.

Amber Merrick-Potter, secretary of Benn's Friends, said: "We are delighted by the news.

"The funding will mean we can start making real improvements to this much-loved park, which will make a huge difference to local people."

Work on both projects should be completed by late spring.

Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for sustainable environment, said: "We're proud of our track record in working in partnership with communities to develop parks and green spaces which meet the needs of our residents.

"The grants from the Pocket Parks programme promise to make a real difference to the Benn and New Bilton wards and I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the work later in the spring."

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