Historic Kennington Park has joined eight other Lambeth green spaces to be ranked among the very best in the country by a national award scheme.
The park has been awarded a prestigious ‘Green Flag Award’ for the first time this year, through a scheme which recognises those parks and open space judged to be among the best maintained and with the best facilities for the public.
Kennington’s “Green Flag” means Lambeth now boasts nine “Green Flag” rated parks.
Archbishop’s Park in Waterloo, Milkwood Community Park in Herne Hill, Myatt’s Fields Park in Brixton, Ruskin Park in Herne Hill, St. Paul’s Churchyard & Eden at St.
Paul’s in Clapham Town, Hillside Gardens Park in Streatham Hill, St. John’s Church Gardens in Waterloo and Vauxhall Park all retained their Green Flags for another year.
The awards are a result of year round hard work from local residents, working with council parks officers and staff from the council’s grounds maintenance contractor, Veolia ES UK.
Cllr Florence Nosegbe, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and the 2012 Games, said: “Kennington Park has a rich history but it’s the park’s recent past, which has seen the Friends of Kennington Park working with the council on a range of improvements, that make it so special today and that has led to this award.
“We have some truly wonderful parks in Lambeth that provide a vital breathing space for local residents to come and relax, play, enjoy wildlife or play sport. The fact that we now have nine Green Flag parks, up from just one five years ago, is tremendous.
“What separates out great parks from merely good ones is the role played by residents and local parks friends groups. All of Lambeth’s Green Flag parks have achieved the award because of the role played by local people who have taken ownership and are involved in day to day decisions about their management. They are great examples of what we mean when we talk about the ‘Cooperative Council’ approach – local people being involved and working hand in hand with the council to deliver better services that residents really want to use.”
Rich in history, Kennington Park was the site of public executions until 1800, and was also South London’s ‘speakers corner’ where Methodist founders George Whitefield and John Wesley were some of the illustrious orators to speak, and were reputed to have attracted crowds of 30,000.
Nowadays it is a popular and highly accessible open space containing a variety of facilities and attractions for all ages, abilities and interests, such as a café, a children’s playground, tennis courts and sports pitches, attractive ornamental flower beds, and fitness and nature trails.
The Friends of Kennington Park have worked tirelessly with not just the council but numerous other organisations and funders to ensure it is always serving the needs of local people. The Friends recently raised over £240,000 for an exciting project which allowed Lambeth Council to completely refurbish the children’s playground with new equipment and landscaping, and create a new wildlife learning trail within the park for use by children of all ages, as well as by local schools and community groups.
Phil Barton, Green Flag Plus Partnership chairman said: “I would like to congratulate this year’s winners, who have worked hard throughout the year to keep their parks and green spaces at a high standard and ensure they are pleasant and enjoyable spaces for the whole community.
“The Green Flag Award Scheme, and its growth, is essential in driving up the standards of our parks and green spaces. Access to quality green space is something we all desire and the scheme plays a key role in providing it.”
Notes to Editors
- 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.
- 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. The scheme was set up in 1996.
- In 2011 1,288 parks and green spaces have been awarded the Green Flag and Community Award.
- Green Flag’s 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