Tesco carrier bag charge to fund Hackney park

Abney Park cemetery could benefit from £5,000 funding to spruce up the greenery. Pic: Tarquin Binary

Abney Park in Hackney could win up to £5,000 to fund a Wildflower Project, thanks to Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative.

The Wildflower Project, shortlisted by Tesco employees, will engage local volunteers to sow and manage several wildflower meadows in Abney Park – the splendid and wild Victorian cemetery in Stoke Newington.

“The project will provide tools, materials and training for the Abney Park volunteers. They will learn the ancient techniques of wildflower and meadow management, from preparing the ground to sowing the seed,” says Tom Simpsons, Hackney Council’s Abney Park manager.

“Depending on funding, the project will create between two and eight wildflower meadows on site, each will feature different species of flowers and grasses depending on location.”

The wildflower meadows will enhance biodiversity and bring some cheerful colour to the park.

Importantly it will improve access to park memorials that have often been obscured by overgrown plants. Organisers hope the project will also provide habitats to attract more native species.

Tesco Bags of Help is an initiative funded by the proceeds generated from the 5p carrier bag charge.

The money raised by Tesco bags go to fund local green projects across the United Kingdom.

The projects aims to aid the development of environmentally-friendly projects focused on sustainability and community awareness, and incentivise use of open-air spaces.

Community groups such as Parish Councils, schools, or charities can apply for Tesco Bags for Help to win a grant to fund a project that meets the criteria.

Tesco is working in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, which assesses the applications. Once eligible projects have been selected, Tesco employees directly decide which schemes will go forward to the public in-store vote.

Tesco customers can drop green tokens into one of three boxes to vote on one of three shortlisted local projects in each region. The most popular will receive £5,000, the second £2,000 and the third £1,000 at the end of the month. Over 7,000 projects are funded through the scheme every year.

Customers can vote for their favourite project from December 1 – 31 in Hackney, Haringey, Waltham and Enfield Tesco stores. The £5,000 winner will be disclosed in January.

Abney Park cemetery was Hackney’s first designated Local Nature Reserve, and has been featured on the BBC’s Autumn Watch, and in Britain and Ireland’s Wild Places, written by Christopher Somerville.

For information on volunteering at Abney Park, email volunteering@abneypark.org

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