TWO of Reading’s most popular open spaces have once again been recognised as among the best in the country after receiving Green Flag and Green Heritage Site awards.
The Forbury Gardens and Caversham Court Gardens have both received Green Flag Awards.
The Green Flag recognises high-quality maintenance and excellent wildlife-and climate-friendly practices. This month, parks and green spaces across the country will be raising their Green Flag Award with pride in a year when millions of people have seen the value of having great quality green spaces on their doorstep.
As well as a Green Flag, Caversham Court Gardens has also received a Green Heritage Site award, which is awarded for parks which have conserved their historical features to a high standard and maintain their historic character and appearance. Green Heritage Site awards are made to sites that have particular local or national historic interest.
To be recognised with a Green Flag award, parks or open spaces have to demonstrate not only that standard is maintained but that continuous improvements are being achieved.
Cllr Karen Rowland, Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said:
“I am delighted that yet again, two of our most popular open spaces have been recognised by Green Flag. It is a clear reflection of the hard work put in by both the Council and from voluntary organisations throughout the year to keep these parks in such good condition.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to all of those involved in the maintenance of these open spaces for their achievement.
“This year more than ever, people are valuing our precious outdoor spaces. Spending time in our beautiful parks and open spaces is incredibly beneficial for everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“The award this year for The Forbury Gardens is even more poignant following the tragic events that took place there in June. Going forward the park will be an important part of the healing process for many and a focus for reflection and commemoration.”
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.
The Forbury Gardens and Caversham Court Gardens are two of more than 2,000 sites across the country to collect the award for 2020.
Commenting on Reading’s double success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.
“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, Reading Council has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”
Notes to Editors
Forbury Gardens was reopened in 2005, after a year’s closure and a makeover of £3.4m. The popular town centre gardens are considered a particular success by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and have been used by the Green Flag Award Scheme for training Green Flag judges.
Caversham Court was closed for nine months in 2008-09, and its main features were restored at a cost of £1.6m supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Caversham Court is one of Reading’s most popular and picturesque gardens, enjoyed by thousands of people all year round. Many residents give their time every week and help out at the gardens. On Thursdays, volunteers work with William Paice, Caversham Court’s head gardener, to help keep the gardens’ beautiful borders and landscape tidy and attractive. The Friends of Caversham Court organise guided tours on the first Sunday of the month and host a welcoming tent when events take place. They are also represented on Caversham Court’s Management Committee. Volunteers from five charities – the Ways and Means Trust, local branches of the Women’s Institute, the League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, the Duchess of Kent Hospice/Sue Ryder, and Compass (Green Café) – give their time every afternoon to provide refreshments in Caversham Court’s tea kiosk. They also open the kiosk during special events.
About the Green Flag Awards Scheme
The Green Flag Awards Scheme is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, in partnership in the UK with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. The scheme also operates in an additional 14 countries including Portugal, New Zealand and USA.
Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity. We set the standard for the management of parks and beaches, inspire people to be litter-free, to waste less and to live more. We run programmes including Eco-Schools, the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces and the Blue Flag/ Seaside Awards for beaches. To find out more about Keep Britain Tidy, our programmes and campaigns visit www.keepbritaintidy.org
Any green space that is free to enter and accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. Awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag Award status. A Green Flag Community Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups. Green Heritage Site accreditation is judged on the treatment of the site’s historic features and the standard of conservation.
For more information about the awards, please go to: www.greenflagaward.org.uk