Nine Lambeth parks have been recognised among the very best in the country in a national awards scheme.
The green spaces have been awarded prestigious ‘Green Flags’ which means they have met the very highest standards of cleanliness, safety and attractiveness.
Singled out for the awards are Archbishop’s Park, Hillside Gardens Park, Kennington Park, Milkwood Park, Myatts Field Park, Ruskin Park, Vauxhall Park, St. Paul’s Churchyard in Clapham and St. John’s Church Gardens in Waterloo.
All nine have maintained their current high standards this year to ensure they retain their Green Flags, with local communities playing a key role in securing the awards.
Councillor Sally Prentice, Cabinet member for Culture, said:
“We have some fantastic green spaces across Lambeth and it’s not hard to see how popular and valued they are.
“We have been working all year round with our parks friends groups and grounds and tree maintenance contractors to ensure Green Flag standard and keep them there. Being awarded Green Flag is a huge achievement, but with the criteria so challenging, retaining them from year to year is equally impressive.
“What really makes the difference between a good park and a great park is the role played by local people. We simply couldn’t have achieved these awards without the commitment of our dedicated park user groups, who have worked so hard to make these green spaces safe, attractive and welcoming. This is what being a Cooperative Council is all about.”
The Green Flag Award is the national standard for parks and green spaces in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and parks gaining Green Flag Award status must satisfy exacting standards.
Examples of some of the work with local Friends groups and other stakeholders that has helped to secure Green Flag status includes:
• In Archbishop’s Park, the Friends group manage a community orchard and fundraise for various projects in the park. A community garden exists for educational purposes for local schools. The shelter in the park which was constructed by the London County Council before the Second World War has recently been restored.
• Hillside Gardens – The Friends run a successful Community Garden project on the site. They have donated two benches to the park and fundraise to provide free regular tennis and football coaching for young people.
• In Kennington Park, the council has just completed improvements to a skate park. The Friends of Kennington Park run a volunteering scheme to help maintain and improve the park.
• Myatts Field community greenhouse is actively supported by local residents and volunteers offering the chance to develop horticultural and social skills. The café is run as a social enterprise and offers training and volunteering opportunities. The council’s parks team are working with local charities to train up young gardeners.
• Ruskin Park – The charity Trees for Cities have built a wild orchard garden which will enhance the biodiversity value and includes an outdoor educational area. They hope to have a community tree planting project each year in partnership with the Friends of Ruskin Park.
Paul Todd, Green Flag Award Scheme Manager, said:
“We are thrilled to announce yet another record-breaking year for Green Flag Award parks and green spaces. A Green Flag Award provides national recognition for the achievements of all those whose hard work and dedication has helped to create these fantastic places for all to enjoy.
“I must also thank all this year’s 800+ volunteer judges for their magnificent efforts in assessing an astounding number of applications.”
The Green Flag Award Scheme is managed in the UK by a consortium, comprising Keep Britain Tidy, The Conservation Volunteers and GreenSpace. Known collectively as the Green Flag Plus Partnership, the consortium manages the scheme in England on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government and in Wales for the Welsh Steering Group.
Green Flag Award recognises well-managed, high-quality green spaces. Any green space in the UK is eligible to win this award providing it is freely accessible to the public. 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.