22nd February 2019
Six countries were represented this week at Green Flag Award judges training at Victoria Embankment Gardens, London.
The two day training course delivered by Keep Britain Tidy's Training and Accreditation Manager Michele Walde, forms part of the journey to becoming a fully accredited Green Flag Award judge.
However this was a course with a truly international spirit, as 6 different countries were represented in a class of just 11 people - including trainees from Belgium, Finland, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
3 of those attending were there to play key roles in introducing the Award into their home countries.
Anna Leonard, Project Manager for Good Planet Belgium is administering the scheme in Belgium for 2019 and also coordinating judges training in her country later in the year. Belgium joined the scheme in 2018 with their first entry from Rivierenhof, Antwerp - 135 hectares of 16th Century parkland that also holds the title of Belgium's first provincial park open for the public.
Essi Mäkinen represents Viherympäristöliitto ry (VYL), Finland's national association of landscape industries. Finland now has 3 Green Flag Award sites, including the Häme University Lepaa campus, Pikku-Vesijärvenpuisto Park and Hatanpää Mansion Park and Arboretum. VYL have been engaging over the past 6 months with a number of towns and cities in the nordic country and have ambitions to double applications for 2019.
Cláudia Fernandes has travelled from Porto, one of Europe's oldest cities on a mission to improve parks and green spaces in her country. A professor at the Porto University Faculty of Sciences, Cláudia is a trained Landscape Architect and has played a key role in introducing the Award to Portugal. Working in conjunction with Câmara Municipal do Porto (Porto Municipality) Cláudia is assisting in the applications for 3 sites in 2019 - Jardim Botânico do Porto (Managed by University of Porto), Jardim do Passeio Alegre and Parque da Cidade, designed by Sidónio Pardal - world renowned Portuguese landscape architect and professor at University of Lisbon.
Also in attendance were 3 trainees from England and 2 UK based judges originally from Poland and Spain - in which the Green Flag Award is being delivered by La Asociación Española de Parques y Jardines Públicos (AEPJP).
The Green Flag Award is now operating in 13 countries across 3 continents around the world, including Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
International Development Manager Carl McClean said:
"The Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces really is a great British success story, and our focus is to ensure it now maintains and improves standards to benefit people and communities around the world. It's absolutely inspiring to have so many different countries interested in delivering the Award and it demonstrates that it really is the internationally recognised standard for well managed parks and green spaces"
If you know of a park or a country not yet involved in the Green Flag Award that might be interested, get in touch with the Green Flag Award team: [email protected]
The Green Flag Award scheme is managed under licence from the UK Government by Keep Britain Tidy.