Park fans encouraged to branch out this autumn!
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough has two more Green Flag Awards to its already impressive tally, with Crumlin Glen and Threemilewater being added to the achievement.
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the environmental charity that runs the international awards locally, revealed a list of old favourites and new entrants, reflecting the many types of open spaces that are used and cherished by local communities.
Other local winners in the Green Flag category include: Antrim/Belmont Cemetery, Ballynure Old Graveyard, Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Hazelbank Park, Gideons Green, Kilbride Cemetery, Lilian Bland Park, Mallusk Cemetery, Mill Race Trail, Newtownabbey Way, Rashee Cemetery, Sixmile Water Park, Valley Park and Wallace Park.
The Green Flag Award is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open spaces and is increasingly sought after in Northern Ireland, with a 27-fold increase in participants since the local programme opened in 2008.
Rachel Vaughan, who manages the Green Flag Awards programme, said she hoped people would use the awards as an incentive to visit some new places in one of the nicest seasons of the year. She said;
“We all love a walk through the autumn leaves and it’s uplifting to discover a new spot to enjoy. When you visit a Green Flag park or open space you can be reassured that the location is being managed to a really high standard as they’ve been through a rigorous judging process that assesses sites across a range of issues including their horticultural standards, cleanliness, biodiversity and safety. And at time when many people’s finances are under pressure, it’s important to highlight the fact that all Green Flag spaces are free to everyone.”
Parks and open spaces play a hugely important role in supporting the health and wellbeing of local communities and come in many shapes and sizes. The expert judges, who are all volunteers themselves, were delighted to include several community spaces in this year’s selection, which are also run and managed by volunteers at a local level. In the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough, these include: Ballyeaston Church Ruin, Rathfern Activity Centre, Sentry Hill Community Garden and Toome’s Linear Park with Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House receiving Special Green Flag Heritage Awards. These sites are making the most of unique heritage features, which enhance the experience of visitors to their sites.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said
“I am delighted to see the many beautiful parks and spaces that have received this prestigious award and in particular within Antrim and Newtownabbey borough. I would encourage everyone to explore these spaces this Autumn and enjoy all they have to offer. I would like to congratulate all those who continually work hard to ensure these parks and spaces are a place for the whole community to enjoy. On behalf of the Borough I would like to extend our congratulations and appreciation to everyone who has helped make this wonderful achievement a most welcome reality.”
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful will be celebrating our award-winning parks and open spaces through a social media campaign the week beginning Mon 11 October on Twitter and Facebook.