Today five Irish Community Gardens will receive the first Green Flag Community Awards from Mr Michael Ring T.D. – Minister for Rural and Community Development.
For the first time ever five of Ireland’s 48 Green Flag for Parks Scheme Awards this year were for the new Green Flag Community Award. All participating Green Flag Community Award Winners are Community Gardens located in Counties Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon.
2018 has seen the initial introduction of the Green Flag Community Award Scheme into Ireland, allowing sites managed by volunteers and community groups to participate for the first time. The new Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as; Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. By providing our community green spaces with access to Green Flag Award best practice we will empower community groups to improve their local community and environment.
The Minister for Rural and Community Development; Michael Ring, was in attendance today to open the award ceremony, and to support how the important role played by community groups is being recognised by today’s award ceremony.
Minister Ring commented that “the Green Flag Community Award is a very welcome addition to the Green Flag family and I am happy that my Department supported this pilot. The award recognises the effort of communities and volunteers and that is what makes it special. My Department aims to promote rural and community development. Working together on projects like community gardens, improving the facilities for your own community really is taking control of how your own community develops. This Green Flag Community Award and other initiatives in my Department, like TidyTowns, are valuable opportunities for people to get out to meet their neighbours and also build strong community spirit. I heartily congratulate those winners here today, and wish them all the best to enjoy their gardens into the future.”
Only awarded for exceeding tough environmental standards in green space management, and for innovative ways of engaging with all sections of the community – the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world.
Green Flag Award for Parks Manager in Ireland; Robert Moss, stated that “as well as our public parks, it is also the effort and imagination put in by our voluntary community initiatives that helps improve our collective quality of life, and makes possible more healthy lifestyles. If we want liveable towns, cities, and thriving communities, then we need to recognise best practice green space community projects like the five winning community gardens recognised today. Such community spaces ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, can have access to quality parks, gardens and communal green spaces.”
From this year’s participating Community Gardens the Green Flag Community Award is seen as a significant goal for attracting support and delivering direction for future success.
In total the 2018 season has seen an additional 12 applicant parks and community gardens qualify for a Green Flag award. This has resulted in some of our most significant landmark parks and estates being recognised for the quality of their recreational and historic green space, as well as newer up and coming community green space projects that are equally worthy of recognition.
Building upon last year’s success, additional local authorities have entered the scheme for the first time in 2018. First time winners this year include town parks from County Kerry, as well as two of our national parks; Connemara and Ballycroy National Parks.
The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement. In Ireland the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme has been enthusiastically received by park management as it delivers major wins for the delivery of quality green spaces by respective parks and park departments. These include:
- The promotion and reward for best practice management
- Creation of a plan for improvements and future works
- The building of a collaborative network of park management nationally
- The implementation of environmental sustainability within park management
“In terms of rural and community development, the Green Flag Award for Parks is a logical and sensible step towards supporting community engagement with green space improvement, and so it helps to increase quality of life within our communities.” said Robert Moss, the Green Flag Award for Parks Manager for the Republic of Ireland.
Robert Moss also noted that this year’s introduction of the Green Flag Community Award is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development because “it builds a very constructive conduit for information, knowledge and skill share between the professional and voluntary green space management sectors within our society”.
If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by An Taisce Environmental Education please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org telephone: 01 4002212 or 086 3579663