Parks 'boost community morale'

Minister pleads for community cohesion in parks following London terrorist bombings

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) minister Jim Fitzpatrick made a plea at last week’s Green Flag awards ceremony for communities to use parks to band together following July’s terrorist bombings in London. He told 300 delegates at the ceremony, hosted by the Corporation of London at Westminster’s Guildhall: “Parks keep communities alive. Community activity is even more important in the face of terrorist attacks we know are designed to divide us.” He reiterated parks’ importance to the Government through the target Public Service Agreement 8 as having “a central role in helping to create sustainable communities”. Deputy chairman Laura Sandys of Green Flag manager the Civic Trust echoed Fitzpatrick’s comments: “The health of our green spaces is an important barometer of the health of our cities. “In today’s climate, it is more important than ever for citizens to gain a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood,” she said. Countryside recreation officer Ralph Barnett of Suffolk County Council’s Clare Castle Park said he believed a funding officer was now essential to help park managers’ work because of rising public expectations about parks. All delegates received a Green Flag Award winners brochure, produced by Haymarket and written by HW writer Spence Gunn, and a copy of the Corporation of London’s annual report, edited by HW news editor Matthew Appleby. For the first time, coinciding ceremonies took place in Swansea and Manchester. CABE Space, the Institute of Leisure & Amenity Management, GreenSpace and the Civic Trust are believed to have bid for the 2006/08 three-year Green Flags contract from the ODPM.

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