The government will renew the Green Flag Award licence making sure that Britain’s best parks and green spaces will be recognised and rewarded for another five years, Parks and Green Spaces Minister Marcus Jones has announced.
The minister made his announcement in Rugby, a town that boasts not one but four Green Flag winning parks, many of which were originally derelict sites that have been transformed by the hard work of the community and the local council.
For 20 years, the Green Flag Awards have been recognising the best of outdoors spaces in the UK, allowing visitors to easily find quality parks and other green spaces to enjoy and setting standards for park managers across the country. Many parks have won the award, but winners also include more unusual spaces such as social housing developments, cemeteries, canals, and shopping centres.
The awards are run on behalf of the government by Keep Britain Tidy, an environmental charity that campaigns for people’s right to live and work in a place of which they can be proud. Parks and Green Spaces minister, Marcus Jones said: “I am very happy to confirm that the Green Flag Awards will be continuing, championing Britain’s excellent parks and green spaces and the people behind them. These awards are valuable not least because they reward local authorities and communities for their dedication to the great outdoors – and give locals and tourists an easy way to find quality spaces to get outside, exercise and play.”
Centenary Park in Rugby is an example of a leading Green Flag park. The minister met volunteers who had helped turn a neglected allotment into a space for the whole community. The park now boasts a large play area, a games area, a green gym and nature area, including flowers to attract bees and butterflies.
The Newbold on Avon Community Association and Rugby borough council fought hard to secure over £215,000 to transform the neglected land. In addition to a well deserved Green Flag Award, Centenary Park was also named the most improved park by Fields in Trust in 2016 and received an award from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for providing an excellent home for bees and other insect life.
Another Rugby park benefitted from a share of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s £1.5m to encourage urban communities to turn small, often derelict, pieces of land into ‘Pocket Parks’ for the benefit of all.
Rugby’s Gladstone Green Pocket Park received £10,000 and now contains a vegetable patch for neighbours and a picnic spot to enjoy the produce they’ve grown themselves. This is part of a wider plan to encourage the New Bilton community to grow their own food. Gladstone Green won a Green Flag Community Award in 2017, a special award created to celebrate the hard working volunteers behind the nation’s favourite green spaces.
These are just two examples of the almost 1,800 brilliant green spaces in the UK that have been awarded Green Flag status.