Two Manchester neighbourhoods have been chosen for a new UK-wide project aiming to put communities at the heart of plans to “restore nature”.
It’s widely-known that being close to greenspaces, and in and amongst nature, is not only for our physical health, but also for our mental wellbeing too.
But sadly, recent statistics published in the People’s Plan for Nature – which set out recommendations to reverse the country’s shocking declines in nature back in March – revealed that, despite three-quarters of Brits being worried about the state of nature, the UK is in the bottom 10% of countries globally for protecting it.
The People’s Plan for Nature notably called for greater investment in ways to help communities take action to protect and renew nature at a neighbourhood level.
The Nature Neighbourhoods initiative has been launched as a direct response to the concerns raised in the People’s Plan for Nature, and aims to help more people benefit from all the advantages nature can bring.
As part of the project, 18 community organisations will receive support from three of the UK’s largest nature charities, as well as funding from the National Lottery, and an extra helping hand from the Co-op, to create “people-powered plans for nature” in their local area.
The three charities, the WWF, the RSPB, and the National Trust, have all come together as part of the Save Our Wild Isles campaign – which is an ongoing partnership to take action for nature’s recovery in the UK.
Each Nature Neighbourhood will be created by bringing local communities and decision-makers together to ensure their specific plan centres on their community’s priorities for tackling the nature and climate crisis, and will particularly focus on working with urban communities, as while most people live in towns and cities, there’s often said to be “substantial barriers” to accessing nature in these areas, along with higher social and economic inequalities too.
The charities will work closely with local organisations – such as community centres, social enterprises, and volunteer food growing collectives.
Here in Manchester, Newton Heath and Platt Fields have been chosen to take part in the project, and two established community organisations from the area, Sow The City and Manchester Urban Diggers, will benefit from funding and support.
Sow The City is a social enterprise that’s focussed on repurposing derelict urban sites into attractive, useful green space, and involving local residents in the process of doing so, while Manchester Urban Diggers is a volunteering organisation that focuses on food systems and growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs for local communities.
The Nature Neighbourhoods initiative has been funded by a £750,000 grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, and an additional £300,000 from Co-op.
Speaking on the launch of the new UK-wide project and why it’s so important, Rory Crawford – Project Manager for the Nature Neighbourhoods partnership – explained: “Urban nature doesn’t tend to be the focus of wildlife documentaries, but most of us live in urban areas, and they present the biggest opportunity for people to access and take action for nature on a day-to-day basis.
“Efforts to improve access and tackle the biodiversity and climate crises have not tended to focus on neighbourhoods experiencing high levels of deprivation.
“But the local community organisations involved in this project are at the forefront of addressing this, through community gardens, improving parks, connecting young people to nature, community inclusion, creating new green spaces and supporting safe, active travel.”
Featured Image – RSPB
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”