In the 2020 awards we have achieved Green Flag Awards for four of our city centre parks. Two of the parks have kept their awards – Jesmond Dene for the 7th consecutive year and Walker Park for the 4th consecutive year – and Exhibition Park and Leazes Park have been recognised for the first time since 2011.
A Green Flag Award is an international mark of quality for parks and green spaces and reflects the incredible standard of these city centre parks. We benefit from working with dedicated Friends Of Groups and fantastic volunteers to maintain this standard, and the new Urban Green Clean program has allowed people to continue volunteering through the pandemic to keep Newcastle’s green spaces clean and tidy.
James Cross, our CEO, said: “We’re delighted to have doubled the number of green flag awards across the city. The Green Flag Awards are a sign of how well kept the parks are and so I’m thrilled to be able to share our ambition that all 33 parks across Newcastle will have a Green Flag Award over the next ten years. We’re aware that this is a huge ambition, but with our amazing team and our wonderful partners we’re sure to achieve it.
Over the coming months we will begin meeting with the local communities to cocreate a shared vision for each of our parks, this includes the creation of Park Action Groups made up of members of the local community, who will come together to help identify challenges and opportunities, help point us towards other groups and projects where we can work better together, and support us in delivering key initiatives across our parks. We are also setting up a new group – Urban Green Connect – with a particular focus on exploring ways of engaging with those who are not currently using our green spaces to find out what we could be doing differently.
This year more people than ever are realising the importance of Newcastle’s green spaces and their impact on our mental and physical well-being. Throughout the pandemic our staff and volunteers have been working hard to ensure these spaces remain open and safe to use. The fact that we have not only maintained the parks but achieved an additional Green Flag Award in such a challenging time is a testament to their hard work and we look forward to more over the coming years.”
This success comes in a record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme, as more than 2,000 green spaces across the country have been given an international quality mark. The scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.
Commenting on Urban Green’s success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.
“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, Urban Green Newcastle has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award in four of their parks.”
For the full list of winners for the 2020 Green Flag Awards go to: www.greenflagaward.org