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Parks scoop awards

Park users in Waltham Forest can be pretty pleased with their lot right now in the wake of the completion of the Council’s £1.9million Parks and Play Programme.


Parks up and down the borough have benefitted from a host of improvements that have seen the addition of outdoor gyms, skate parks, tennis courts and other sports areas, and a host of play equipment including a couple of pirate ships, no less!


All of the hard work and dedication – not to mention the significant investment made by Waltham Forest Council – has not gone unnoticed with a flurry of awards, nominations and commendations recently.


It’s been announced that Coronation Gardens in Leyton, Ridgeway Park in Chingford, Lloyd Park in Walthamstow and Langthorne Park in Leytonstone have all retained their Green Flag status.


The Green Flag award is the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales, recognising and rewarding the best green spaces in the country. It’s the second year in a row that Lloyd Park has met the grade after being extensively renovated. Ridgeway Park first received Green Flag status in 2011, while Coronation Gardens and Langthorne Park have had the honour since 2007.


On top of that Eibe Play and Waltham Forest Council have scooped not one, but two international awards in relation to the Council’s £1.9million Parks and Play Programme. The first, an International Green Apple Award for the Built Environment and Architectural Heritage, recognises, rewards and promotes environmental best practice around the world.


The award was won in recognition of the programme helping to improve environmental performance, encourage the efficient use of resources and support the wider goals of sustainable development, including social benefits through community involvement.


The second award was an International Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence Award, given to responsible, caring organisations that help those who depend on them for their livelihoods, and others less fortunate. The award recognises the companies that use their privileged position to help their colleagues, communities, customers, and the environment.


Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said, “We’ve done so much to improve our parks over the last year and these awards bear testament not only to the results of that hard work and investment, but also to the way the work was carried out.


“We see our parks as a huge asset and recognise that residents really value them. Up and down the borough there are countless examples of residents who are delighted with the improvements to their local park.”


As the projects up and down the borough have been completed, residents have fed back to the Council their delight at the renovations and new facilities. Following a Pirate funday organised by the newly formed Friends of Bisterne Avenue Park, one of the organisers, Nick Catlin, told the Council, “You haven’t just created a park for us; with this new park you have created a community”


Alison Emmett, Organiser of Friends of Wingfield Park, said, “I'm really pleased with how the refurbishment has gone. Things are being reused and recycled wherever possible.


“The new astro turf is a real hit- people have been chilling out on the 'grass', and I've had 100 per cent positive comments from users, neighbours and passers-by.”


Local resident, Kathy Gale, commented, “I’m sitting in my office being wonderfully distracted by delighted children playing gloriously in the new Greenleaf Road playground over the road from me.


“It looks lovely and the children are having a great time. Please could you pass the thanks of this happy resident to anyone involved at the council. There are so many moaners and complainers around, I wanted to balance this by my real appreciation of this lovely and successful bit of transformation.”


The Council has also been selected as one of the top finalists for Best Service Team for the Parks by APSE (Association of Public Service Excellence) and winners will be announced at a presentation evening in September. The awards attracted over 375 submissions, with over 135 organisations taking part across the UK.


And the potential for more recognition of the impact of the Parks and Play Programme may be yet to come.

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