Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 185 THE GREEN FLAG AWARD A report by the Heritage Lottery Fund, State of UK’s Public Parks, suggests that in the UK 34 million people visit a park regularly. To put this into context, more people visit one in a year than voted in the 2015 General Election. The Victorian philanthropists who had the vision to create the world’s first public parks understood the importance of green space for the health and wellbeing of society. Access to good quality green space is vital if we are to tackle some of the challenges that we face, including the growing problem of obesity, the rise in mental health issues and the feelings of being disconnected from the communities in which we live. Research shows that having well-managed, accessible green space contributes to tackling many of these issues. This is where the Green Flag Award can help, because it supports organisations that provide quality green spaces. Parks are only well-used and valued if they feel clean and safe. Fear of crime is one of the biggest barriers to certain groups using a park to exercise or relax and if a park looks unloved and uncared for, this can lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour. Launched in the UK in 1996, the Green Flag Award has transformed our country’s green spaces. It was introduced to reverse the decline in the quality of our parks that had happened in the 1970s and 1980s and it has worked. When it was launched, only seven parks met the standard required to fly a Green Flag Award – today more than 1,600 parks and green spaces have a flag flying. The Green Flag Award has delivered change in the UK’s parks and green spaces and raised standards by setting the standard. It has shown that running a park that is well-used and valued by its community is about more than just cutting the grass. It has established that effective management and the use of skilled staff, along with support of the local community, are key to creating fantastic public parks. In addition, the Green Flag Award has supported the professionalism of the parks sector. It has provided an opportunity to share good practice through a network of more than 800 volunteer judges that supports new applicants. For those running our country’s parks and green spaces, the Green Flag Award is an invaluable tool, whether the space they are managing is a traditional park, a cemetery, a shopping centre or a university. The Award helps focus activity on the important elements of management and provides a proven, successful framework. It enables the development of a costed management plan that allows resources to be focused in areas that will have the biggest effect. It also allows managers to demonstrate that resources are being used to their best effect and money is being spent appropriately and delivering value for money. The aim of the Green Flag Award is to ensure that everyone has access to a quality green space and to enable them to live more healthy lifestyles. The number of Green Flags Awards flying in Britain – and further afield - today is the proof that many others share that vision. Welcome to the Green Flag Award Green space is often the one place that brings people from different backgrounds together, providing them with somewhere to meet and a chance to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.