Never has there been more important time for our green spaces to flourish.

Parks, large and small, in local communities throughout Northern Ireland, are vital sources of respite, places to exercise, somewhere to meet family and friends, help protect our environment and nurture places for our local habitat to flourish.

AXA is working to make a difference in local communities through AXA PARKS – a new environmental grants programme, supporting local community projects that demonstrate a real commitment to improved outcomes for our environment and our communities’ wellbeing. The €1m project will see AXA support projects across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

AXA PARKS will serve not only communities but will also look to help protect our native biodiversity – helping ensure that people, plants, and animals can thrive across the whole island.

In this grant round, over €250,000 is available for charitable organisations in Northern Ireland, and grants will be awarded proportionally across the whole of Ireland, based on population spread. We anticipate that this round will be highly competitive and up to 100 grants will be awarded across the whole of Ireland.

Along with Community Foundation Ireland we hosted a webinar outlining the criteria and sharing tips on how to make a strong application to this fund. Watch online here. 

Successful projects will include all of the following aspects

  • The green spaces will be on public land that is accessible to all members of the community.
    Exceptions apply for specific cases, for example refuges, schools, or community day care centres where the land might not be accessible to the whole community, but where the green space will be of huge benefit.
  • The green spaces and their development will encourage community engagement, participation and a sense of ownership in the local area.
  • The green spaces will improve the local environment through protecting current native biodiversity or supporting the recovery of neglected or damaged natural habitats.

For this Fund, biodiversity is defined as the variety and variability of all living things including plants, animals, microbes, fungi and people. Biodiversity and its interconnectedness, provides people with the basic elements we need such as clean air and water, food, fuel, building products and medicines, so it is vital that we make space for nature in our towns, villages and countryside for us to continue living full and healthy lives.

Eligible organisations can apply for £3,000 to £20,000 to develop and enhance a green space in their local area.

Organisations can apply only once to the Fund in 2022. Where multiple applications are received from the same organisation, none will be considered for assessment.

Grant Round Timeline

Opening Date for applications – Friday 22nd April 2022
Closing Date for applications – Friday 20th May 2022
Grants will be awarded – July/August 2022
Interim Report due – February 2023
Projects should be completed by – August 2023
Final Outcome Report due by – September 2023


Eligible organisations…

  • Can be a registered charity or a local community/voluntary group
  • Can be a non-fee paying school or non-profit pre-school
  • Must have an annual income of less than £500,000
  • Can be a local branch of a larger charity, provided the branch has an annual income of less than £500,000
  • Must be embedded in the local community and must have a track record of responding to community needs
  • Must have up to date and sufficient governing documents and financial accounts

Eligible projects…

  • Must be to enhance/develop an outdoor physical space in the local community
  • Must be accessible to the whole community or fit the specific cases above
  • Must encourage community engagement and participation in the development and use of the space
  • Must enhance or protect local biodiversity

Organisations and projects that don’t fit these criteria will not be considered for funding.

Ineligible applicants include…

  • Organisations with an annual income of £500,000 or more
  • Statutory bodies
  • Sports bodies
  • Organisations outside of Northern Ireland
  • Private companies or profit-making enterprises
  • Organisations established solely for the prevention or relief of suffering of animals
  • Individual people who are not part of a constituted organisation
  • Proposals from individuals
  • Organisations with a credit union account
  • The advancement of religion.  This includes organisations whose purposes include the advancement of religion
  • The establishment of endowment of any school or institution providing further education within the meaning of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1972
  • The provision of assistance to any Housing Association within the meaning of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1976
  • CIC Companies Limited by Shares, or CICs without an asset lock clause.  Eligible CICs must have at least three unrelated committee members, and/or the majority of the committee unrelated

Ineligible projects include…

  • Ongoing programme delivery or core organisation costs such as rent, insurance etc.
  • Green spaces that are closed off to the community apart from the cases listed above
  • Large scale construction, or land/building acquisition
  • Work on land or buildings where the applicant does not meet requirements around land ownership and permissions
  • Activities that promote religion or a political party
  • Projects that will take place before the grants are awarded in July/August 2022
  • Projects taking place outside of Northern Ireland
  • Promotion of religious or political activity, including any flags and emblems that may deem to be associated with such

Further to this the Community Foundation will not fund organisations or activities which promote causes that are contrary to our purposes. Causes and activities that are contrary to our purposes include, but may not be limited to, those outlined in our investment policy.  We will not therefore fund organisations or activities which we determine are linked to the promotion of armaments, alcohol, human rights abuses, tobacco or pornography.

Ineligible organisations and projects will not be successful, so please do not apply.

Please note

  • The organisation must own the land or have permission from the landowner to develop the Green Space.
  • Proposals to this fund can include the proportion of staff time or consultation costs specifically related to the project (e.g. Ecologist consultancy costs or surveyors).
  • Budgets can include the costs of building materials, plants and flowers, equipment and furniture.
  • Budgets can also include labour costs where an external company is contracted.
  • Where possible, all materials purchased with this funding should be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
  • Budgets can be larger than the funding available in this grant round, however, your application must cover at least 75% of the total project costs.

Organisations can apply only once to the Fund in 2022. Where multiple applications are received from the same organisation, none will be considered for assessment.

Examples of eligible projects

All projects in this grant round must encourage community participation through the creation of the green space, whilst also preserving and enhancing local biodiversity.

Some examples of projects include:

  • The creation and enhancement of…
    • Community Gardens or Green Spaces
    • Sensory Gardens
    • Green Spaces at schools or pre-schools
    • Wildlife habitats such as species-rich meadows and grasslands
    • Pocket forests and urban orchards
    • Walking trails
    • Rain gardens
    • Ponds
    • Pollinator corridors
    • Native flowering hedgerows
  • Projects that broaden accessibility to a current green space
  • The transformation of concrete spaces to green spaces (e.g. living walls and roofs, bioswales)
  • The rewilding or ‘greenification’ of local towns and villages.
  • Implementation of actions in existing community biodiversity action plans
  • Projects that protect endangered habitats and species

Once developed, the space should be open for the community to use and enjoy.

For further information on this and for detailed definitions, please see our resource pack or contact

Priorities for this Strand

We anticipate that this will be a competitive grant round so proposals that include any of the following will be prioritised at the assessment stage:

  • Organisations that have a strong community engagement track record.
  • Projects that provide opportunities for community members to participate in the creation and/or enhancement of green spaces.
  • Green spaces that aim to improve mental or physical health.
  • Green spaces that allow for an educational element, such as allowing for workshops on biodiversity, planting, or citizen scientist projects etc.
  • Projects that will be sustained beyond the life of this grant.
  • Projects that adhere to environmentally friendly principles and use of sustainable materials.

Funding Available

  • Organisations can apply for funding between £3,000 and £20,000.
  • Funding should be spent by the end of August 2023.
  • Budgets must be reasonable and realistic and can include labour costs, equipment and capital costs and consultancy costs (eg Ecologist consultation costs).
  • Budgets can also include costs to evaluate the impact of the space.

Governance Documents

When submitting the application, all organisations will be required to upload digital copies of the following governance documents.

  • The Constitution or Memorandum and Articles of Association.
    • This must show the mission statement or main objects of the organisation, how any donations will be used and the winding up clause.
    • This document must be signed.
  • A current account bank statement.
    • The statement must be in the same name as your constitution.
    • The statement must clearly show the Account Name, Account Number, Sort Code.
    • The statement must be dated within the past three months. If the bank statement is overdrawn, please provide an explanation as to why the account is overdrawn.  The Foundation staff will then consider this explanation in line with our due diligence policies and procedures.
  • The organisation’s most recent annual accounts.
    • Annual accounts should include unabridged financial statements for the year, or where relevant, a monthly profit and loss for the year.
    • All applicants must declare their organisation’s annual income on the application form and this will be verified in your most recent annual accounts.
    • Organisations with an annual income of less than £100,000 should provide a Profit and Loss account for the previous year.
    • Organisations with an annual income of more than £100,000 must provide audited annual accounts.
    • Accounts should be from the last two years and must be signed.
  • A copy of your equality policy.
  • A copy of your child protection and safeguarding policies.
  • A photograph of land prior to commencement of works.

If you do not submit the correct governance documents, your application will not be considered for funding.

Reporting requirements

All grantees will be required to submit an Interim and a Final Outcome Report during the project.

Interim reports will be due at the end of February 2023 and Outcome reports will be due in September 2023.

Photographs showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ will also be required to show the difference made by the Fund.

All applications must meet the criteria above. Any organisation or project that does not meet the eligibility criteria will not be successful in this grant round.

How to apply

1.    Read through the criteria to check that your organisation and project is eligible. You will find a link to the online application form at the bottom of this page ‘Apply Now’.

2.    Read through our FAQs and our Applicant Resource Pack for additional information you might find helpful.

3.    Your online application can be saved as a draft at the bottom of the form if you want to come back to it at a later date.

4.    The closing date is 1pm Friday 20th May. We recommend you submit your application well before this deadline in case of any unexpected issues.

FAQs and contacts

It is recommended that you read the AXA PARKS Fund FAQs , our Grant FAQs and our Applicant Resource Pack before starting your grant application.

Should you have any further questions, please contact the Grants Team at

Please note that due to the high number of enquiries we may not be able to respond to queries immediately.

Apply Now