17 Jul 2008 07:00 AM
Transformed inner-city park joins list of best green spaces announced today

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (178) issued by The Government News Network on 17 July 2008

The best parks and green spaces across the country will be announced today by Baroness Andrews.

A record 743 green spaces across the country, all freely accessible to the public, have received a Green Flag Award - the national standard for quality parks and green spaces. Winners are judged to be welcoming and well maintained with the support and involvement of the local community.

Baroness Andrews personally commended the local community and the volunteers whose efforts had transformed Bellingham Green from a neglected corner of Lewisham into the community designed and inspired area that has won the coveted green flag for the first time.

The Green Flags scheme is currently expanding nationally and internationally - three parks in Northern Ireland, 1 park in the Republic of Ireland, 5 parks in Scotland and 2 parks in Holland have this year also received a Green Flag Award due to ambitious pilot projects.

This year's winners will be announced from Green Flag Award-winning Bellingham Green, in an area of Lewisham highlighted by government as a transformed area of regeneration, demonstrating how residents working together with public agencies can transform deprived neighbourhoods. The Green is vibrant, lively and has significantly improved the livelihood and well-being of the local community.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Baroness Andrews said:

"I would like to congratulate all those whose hard work has resulted in this year's green flag winners. In our busy modern lives, parks and green spaces are invaluable as areas where young and old can come together to relax, exercise and play.

"Bellingham Green is a great example of this and shows just how important green spaces can be for everyone in the community. The regeneration of green spaces is just as important as the creation of new ones and Bellingham Green is a shining example of how we can take up this challenge and transform little used and neglected areas into centrepoints of the community."

Paul Todd, Green Flag Award scheme Application Manager, said: "The increasing number of Green Flag Award winning parks and green spaces highlight the important role they play in bringing people together and improving their quality of life. Congratulations to all the management, staff, and in particular, thousands of volunteers whose hard work and dedication has brought this award of excellence."

Following today's announcement at 2.30pm, information on all winners can be viewed at: http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk

There are many fascinating stories behind our award winning green spaces - see below for examples:

How Bellingham Green became the hub of a reinvigorated community http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/winners/case-studies/green-helps-to-regenerate-london-borough/

Deal with developers establishes community park for all http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/winners/case-studies/deal-with-developers-establishes-community-park-for-all/

Big garden project has great impact on community at High Woods CP in Colchester http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/winners/case-studies/big-garden-project-has-great-impact-on-community/

This year's winners will celebrate their achievements and collect their flags at a major ceremony in Liverpool on Thursday 24th July.

Photo opportunity available at 2.30pm at Bellingham Green in Lewisham.
Images are available of all award winning parks and green spaces.

Notes to Editors

1. Bellingham Green was refurbished in 2003 to include lighting, benches, a multi-sports court area, a young people's area, garden area and under 5's play area. A Sure Start building provides regular events to support parents and their children. Judges' feedback from 2007: 'Bellingham Green feels like the hub of community activity - a far cry from its previous days as a no-go area and it has led other improvements in the area.'

2. The Green Flag Award scheme, launched in 1996, is managed by the Civic Trust on behalf of Communities and Local Government and the Green Flag Advisory Board which comprises founders of the scheme, sponsors, winners and judges. It is sponsored by Communities and Local Government, English Heritage, Natural England and in Wales by the Countryside Council for Wales, the Design Commission for Wales, Environment Agency Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

3. Any green space that is freely accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. Awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag status. A Green Pennant Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups. Green Heritage Site accreditation is judged on the treatment of the site's historic features and the standard of conservation. This year, 73 community run sites received a Green Pennant Award and 42 Green Flag Award sites achieved Green Heritage Site Accreditation.

4. The Civic Trust is an independent, national charity, founded in 1957. It works with people to promote thriving towns and villages, developing partnerships between communities, government and business to deliver regeneration and local improvement. It is the umbrella body for 850 civic societies across the country, representing over 250,000 individuals committed to improving and caring for places where people live and work. http://www.civictrust.org.uk

News Releases: http://www.communities.gov.uk/newsroom