With parks providing the perfect location for families during the school holidays, four of Merton’s parks have been recognised as being among the country’s best green spaces with a prestigious Green Flag Award today (Wednesday July 28, 2010).
Green Flag Awards recognise and reward the best parks in the country. For the first time South Park Gardens in Wimbledon was a winner and can proudly raise its Green Flag along with John Innes Park, Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field and Colliers Wood Recreation Ground. The parks all stood out after impressing the judges with their quality use of green space, well-maintained facilities and welcoming atmosphere.
This year has seen the highest number of awards handed out – a record 1,200 Green Flags across the UK compared to 1,013 in 2009.
Only green spaces that are free to enter and open to the public are eligible to win an award through the scheme, which is run by environmental charities Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) and GreenSpace.
Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability Councillor Andrew Judge said: “This is great news for Merton. We live in a beautiful borough and it is wonderful to see our parks rewarded for being among the best in the UK. Our parks staff and friends of those parks should be very proud, as it is through their efforts that we have won these prestigious Green Flags.”
Green Flag award scheme manager Paul Todd, said: “It’s a remarkable achievement that so many parks have successfully reached Green Flag Award status this year. The staff running the parks work very hard throughout the year to ensure their facilities are maintained to a high standard and enjoyed by the entire community.
“As the recession bites and people look closer to home to enjoy the outdoors, the provision of high-quality, free open spaces is of particular importance.”
The awards could not come at a better time as Green Space’s Love Parks week takes place between July 24 and August 1, during which people will be encouraged to enjoy the nation’s parks and green spaces.
Find out about Merton’s parks and open spaces: http://www.merton.gov.uk/parks
Notes to editors
1. South Park Gardens were restored to their former glory last year following a successful grant award of £1,158,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The council contributed £269,000 and the Friends of South Park Gardens raised £20,000 for the works. An additional £1,000 was donated by the Wimbledon Society. Improvements to the park include re-laid paths, new trees and a wide variety of plants. Thirty new benches have been installed along with waste bins, new notice boards and railings. The funding will also cover event management, marketing and school liaison work.
2. The Green Flag Award Scheme is managed by a consortium, comprising Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV and GreenSpace. Known collectively as the Green Flag Plus Partnership, the consortium manages the scheme in England on behalf of Communities and Local Government (CLG) and in Wales for the Welsh Steering Group.
3. Green Flag Award recognises well-managed, high-quality green spaces. Any green space is eligible to win this award providing visitors can enter free of charge. Previous winners include parks managed by local authorities as well as those run by community groups and trusts.
4. The applications for the Green Flag Awards are judged against eight criteria: a welcoming place; healthy safe and secure; clean and well maintained; sustainability; conservation and heritage; community involvement; marketing; and management.
5. The Green Flag Award vision is that by 2020, 50 per cent of green spaces in England and Wales will be of Green Flag standard – a staggering 15,000 sites.
6. For more information visit: http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk