Holly Hennell, York Cares Manager (left), and Beki Johnson, Environment and Community Officer, City of York Council (right)

Employee volunteering charity, York Cares with partner City of York Council is gearing up to breathe life and vitality into North Street Gardens after securing a £6,000 grant from Nature Hubs fund, in partnership with Starbucks.

Nestled in the heart of York City Centre, overlooking the river Ouse and the historic Guildhall is North Street Gardens. This under-used and often-missed open space is given essential maintenance and is also packed with potential for residents, visitors and local workers as well as providing a habitat stepping-stone in the York Green Corridor network.

To develop green space initiatives and increase vitality within key green spaces, environmental charity, Hubbub has offered 50 groups up to £6,000 of funding. York Cares is using this to revitalise North Street Gardens as part of the Nature Hubs initiative.

The Nature Hubs project promises to bring life back to North Street Gardens, transforming it into a vibrant wildlife-friendly hub; increasing biodiversity, and providing a safe, multi-use space where visitors can enjoy a slice of nature in the centre of a bustling historic city.


Over the next year, York Cares will work with the Council’s Environment and Communities team to host a minimum of five sessions to tidy up the gardens and protect them against the impacts of climate change by planting drought and flood-resilient plants to support and increase opportunities for pollinators and wildlife, improving biodiversity and installing hanging baskets to create pollinator-friendly stepping stones. Each session will engage approximately eight volunteers.

To encourage biodiversity within the city, York Cares will also be teaming up with nature reserve and environmental charity, St Nicks, and the City of York Council’s Environment and Communities team to connect habitats for wildlife and create a natural green environment for residents and visitors around York. In addition, York Cares will be partnering with York BID to install murals within the garden to add to tell the story of York’s rich heritage.

Laura Williams, Assistant Director – Customer, Communities and Inclusion at City of York Council, said: “I’m grateful to our partners York Cares for securing this funding and supporting the Council to revitalise a valued green space in the city centre.

“Bringing together large city employers and the voluntary sector to add to Council resources shows the power and potential of partner working, and is a great way to improving the gardens and other community resources.”

Holly Hennell, York Cares Manager – “We’re delighted to have received funding from The Nature Hubs Fund to support improvements in North Street Gardens. We did some work in the gardens as part of our Big Community Challenge in 2023 and have since had several volunteer groups undertake work in the gardens. We are very excited that we now have some resources to support this work and make the gardens a vibrant and multi-use space for all to enjoy.”

Established in 2005, York Cares is an independent employee-volunteering charity bringing businesses, employees, and communities together to make the city of York a better place.