Paul Rabbitts MLA FRSA
Author, Parks Historian, Public Speaker
BA (Hons), MLA, FRSA, FLI
Park Manager, Parks Historian, Author & Public Speaker
The Green Flag Award
A firm advocate of the Green Flag Award, I am of the view that along with the National Lottery Heritage Fund (previously the Heritage Lottery Fund) that Green Flag have been instrumental in ensuring many of our most important parks have been managed and maintained to a very high standard. This has been challenging for many authorities across the UK with austerity biting hard and a number have reduced their applications and in a few cases, no longer do at all.
In Watford, we started out with 3 Green Flags in 2011 and the team were of the view we would never get any more. Collectively, they were 'persuaded' that was the wrong view to have and that Green Flag was much more than having to have a Friends Group in Place.
By 2019, we have now obtained 12 Green Flag Award winning parks, with a target of 16. The team is challenged with this and we are bold enough to see we can do this, but most importantly we have the support of politicians and our Elected Mayor. I am often asked, how we achieve this - in simple terms - advocacy, and what we do we do well and the politicians simply get this. Cassiobury Park has also been consistently in the top 10 parks in the country too.
So, back to Green Flag, I would encourage any and every authority to enter Green Flag. If resources are an issue, do at least one to show that as an industry, we are still visible. I see many parks that are Green Flag standard yet are not flying the flag as they have not entered. One such park I recently visited was Pageant Gardens in Sherborne, Dorset. It is a beautiful park and is worthy of a Green Flag.
If you want to know more, do check out the Green Flag Award website here.
“It’s fantastic to receive these 10 Green Flag Awards for 2017.
“We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and these awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining them to such a high standard. We are proud of what we have achieved and we’re determined to keep impressing the judges in the future. The council is continuing to invest in improvements to many parks and open spaces, and we are looking at new ways to ensure this can be sustained over coming years.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport - Croydon Council