Volunteers gardening at Highbury Quadrant in March 2022 to mark the launch of Islington Greener Together

Vision for greener borough continues as 38 community-led projects move forward

Islington Council’s vision for a cleaner, greener, healthier future is continuing, with 38 environmentally-friendly, community-led projects moving forward to help create more green spaces in the borough.  

This summer has brought soaring temperatures which in turn has led to wildfires and homes being destroyed, in another reminder of the impact the climate emergency is having. That is why the council is so committed to creating a cleaner, greener, healthier borough, as doing so will secure a better future for present and future generations. 

As part of its efforts to tackle the climate emergency, the council launched Islington Greener Together earlier this year. The programme allows residents, businesses and community groups to help shape a more environmentally-friendly future by bringing their green ideas to life.  

The council will design, install and launch the green ideas with residents, who will then be responsible for maintaining the new spaces. Through the programme, the council is supporting and empowering local people to transform spaces in their neighbourhoods into green oases. 

Having received 95 applications, the council can today (Wednesday, 7 September) announce that 38 community projects are set to be delivered through Islington Greener Together, subject to public engagement and detailed feasibility assessments.  

One of these applications was from local charity and social enterprise Artbox, an art school for people with autism and learning difficulties. As part of their efforts to become net zero carbon, Artbox have applied for a new community “dye garden”, which will allow them to grow plants to harvest ink and dye, lessening the need to buy paint in plastic bottles.  

The space would also allow Artbox participants to socialise and interact with nature, boosting their mental health and making their premises on Bemerton Estate more welcoming.    

Madeline Alterman, Co-Director at Artbox, said: “We’re a small charity, but we still have a responsibility to the environment. Whether you’re an individual, a small group, or a huge organisation, we all have a responsibility to become more environmentally-friendly.    

“Through Islington Greener Together, we want to create a dye garden, which will allow us to grow our own dyes and inks for our artists to work with. It’ll mean that we can cut down on the number of plastic bottles of paint we’re bringing in, but will also act as an enjoyable activity for our participants.    

“People with learning difficulties and autism are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, and with Covid we’ve seen a rise in the number of artists coming to us with anxiety, feelings of sadness, and depression.   

“The dye garden is one of the ways that we can work with them to promote mental health, before they need to turn to the NHS, medication, or therapy. Gardening and exercise all helps with mental health, and we want to give our participants the opportunity to work hands-on with soil and nature.”  

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality, and Transport, said: “This summer’s soaring temperatures were another painful example of the immediate impact of climate change, and of the responsibility we all have to create a cleaner, greener, healthier future.  

“Through Islington Greener Together, the council is supporting and empowering local people to play their part by helping to create green oases in their neighbourhoods, to boost biodiversity and help improve air quality. We’ve received many fantastic applications, and we’re delighted to see local people from across the borough working together to re-imagine spaces in their neighbourhoods.    

“The 38 projects that are now moving forward will help to create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough, and will bring people together to maintain their lovely new spaces.”   

Each of the 38 projects will be subject to public engagement exercises with the local community, to help determine whether they should progress further. The first projects are expected to be delivered by Spring 2023. 

Notes to editors  

Eligible applicants that are not among the 38 that the council is currently proceeding with will be placed on a reserve list, in the hope that they can move forward if and when future funding opportunities arise.  

Islington Greener Together supports the council’s ongoing efforts to green its public spaces. The council planted nearly 700 trees last year to improve its already impressive canopy cover of 25% - significantly above the England average of 16%. These include 200 trees donated to the borough by Forest for Change, in a joint project between the council and local group Islington Clean Air Parents, who crowdfunded £15,000 to cover the cost of transportation and after-care of the trees.  

In addition, the council is bringing attractive new street planters to its people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, and is turning grey to green by turning unused concrete areas into valuable green space, such as community gardens and parklets.   

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.