|* Cllr Jackie Smith|
by our staff reporter | Greenwich
Twelve of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s parks have won the national Green Flag Awards for providing high quality, well managed parks and open spaces for all to enjoy.
The Green Flag award recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country and is a sign to the public that they are of the highest possible standards, are well maintained and have excellent facilities.
Each park was independently inspected and scored on its attractiveness, cleanliness and local involvement, as well as heritage and sustainability.
The Royal Borough’s 12 award winning parks and open spaces come in all shapes and sizes, and each has its unique local features that have proved popular to visitors throughout the years:
Avery Hill Park
East Greenwich Pleasaunce
Eltham Park North & South
Fairy Hill Park
Well Hall Pleasaunce
Blackheath (a joint award with Lewisham Council)
The Royal Borough benefits greatly from close working relationships with its local Friends of Parks groups. As well as leading on events such as PARKSfest, they play a major role in ensuring that local parks are well used, well-kept and groups also work with the Royal Borough to help secure funding for future development and improvements.
As part of the annual PARKSfest, many of the Royal Borough’s parks have provided a busy two month programme of music, dance, sports, entertainment and social events for the whole community. Funded by the Royal Borough and delivered by Friends of Parks groups, PARKSfest encourages thousands of visitors of all ages to experience fun-filled days out in a local park.
Residents who would like to play an active role in their local park are encouraged to join their local Friends of Parks group, or speak to the Royal Borough about establishing a new group for a park which doesn’t currently have one. One of the advantages of creating a Friends Group is that some available funding bids for local groups are not open to councils to apply for directly.
|Rockliffe Gardens, Plumstead. (Credit: RBG)|
Another positive example of working in partnership took place earlier this month with the opening of the first phase of major improvements at Rockliffe Gardens in Plumstead. The Royal Borough has worked with local residents to help form the local Friends of Rockliffe Gardens Group and establish a long term plan to restore the Gardens to their former glory.
Improvements so far have seen major grounds and tree maintenance works to open the park up and make it more accessible to visitors. This includes the refurbishments of historic paths and walls, carried out as part of the Royal Borough’s ‘HILL’ (Highways Improvement Local Labour) scheme, which also provides work and training to unemployed Royal Borough residents
These are just some examples of how positive partnerships between residents and the Royal Borough can make real improvements to local parks and open spaces. The Royal Borough is also working with the Friends of Queenscroft Park to identify areas for future improvements.
|New changes at Rockliffe Gardens, Plumstead.|
Councillor Jackie Smith, Royal Greenwich Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment said: “Providing inspirational and enjoyable green spaces for the whole community to enjoy is such an important part of making the Royal Borough a great place to live and to visit," adding “The success of these Green Flag awards marks the years of experience and hard work of our highly skilled teams who ensure that our parks stay looking attractive and welcoming."
“It also reflects the huge community involvement of our Friends of Parks Groups and other local volunteers who dedicate their time to ensure our parks and open spaces continue to be well-used integral parts of their local communities."
“The good news of our Green Flag status comes as we start the Summer holidays, so provides an excellent excuse for people to discover the huge variety and activities that our much loved parks have to offer.”
To get information about the Royal Borough’s award winning parks and how to get involved in a local Friends of Parks Group visit: www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/parks.
Above photos, show the results of recent improvements to Rockliffe Gardens in Plumstead.