PLANS to create a community woodland in memory of former MP Jo Cox have been given a huge cash boost.
Spen Valley Civic Society has been awarded a £28,000 grant towards the project, which will see disused land off Quaker Lane in Liversedge turned into a ‘celebration wood’.
Thanks to the Biffa Award funding, which helps community and environmental projects across the UK, the site behind Liversedge FC and adjacent to the Spen Valley Greenway can be transformed by creating new fences, paths and gates, installing picnic tables, benches, a mini open-air classroom and restoring the woodland for wildlife.
A wide range of native trees are to be planted, together with perennial wildflower plants and nectar producing flowering plants that are attractive to insects. Nesting boxes, bat boxes and an insect hotel will also be incorporated.
Civic society chairman Max Rathmell first submitted plans last year and was waiting for the funding bid to be accepted.
Following the society being given the green light, preparatory work started last month with volunteers removing most of the derelict fencing – saving the best timbers for re-use when creating edgings for the new paths.
After the initial scrub-clearing work and installation of paths and fences, volunteers – including children from 10 local schools – will help to plant the trees, hedges and wildflowers needed to create the woodland during the winter of 2019/20.
In conjunction with the Jo Cox Foundation, a Jo Cox oak tree will be planted in early 2020 before the site officially opens to the public.
Mrs Cox’s family have worked closely with the civic society in planning the project, and her sister Kim Leadbeater has been part of the volunteer team.
She said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Spen Valley Civic Society for developing this fantastic project in Jo’s name; it is an honour and a privilege to play a small part in it.
“Jo was passionate about nature, she would love the idea of an outdoor facility which can be used by the whole community. And her children will be very excited to come and spend time in ‘Mummy’s wood’.
“I look forward to seeing the project develop in the coming months and would like to thank Biffa Award for its generous support in making it possible.”
The wood will be free to enter and open 365 days of the year. It can be reached easily from adjoining footpaths and the greenway cycle route, and will be the only public woodland of its kind in the area.
There will also be easy access into and around the site for disabled visitors.
Mr Rathmell said: “This is a terrific scheme which will create a community asset that can be enjoyed by everyone. Just as importantly, it will also benefit wildlife through the nature-friendly habitat we’re developing.”