A quintet of parks on Wearside are among the very best in the UK, according to an environmental charity.
Barnes Park, Herrington Country Park, Hetton Lyons Country Park, Mowbray Park and Roker Park are among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that will today receive prestigious Green Flag Awards – the mark of a quality park or green space.
The international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the spaces boast the highest possible environmental standards, are beautifully maintained and have excellent visitor facilities.
Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for city services Michael Mordey said: “We are absolutely delighted to once again receive these Green Flag Awards.
“It is a remarkable achievement when you look at the level of funding the service has lost in recent years because of Government cuts.
“We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and the awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining these parks to such a high standard.
“It is a huge achievement for the city and a tribute to everyone involved in their maintenance and upkeep - not just council staff, but also the volunteers who give up so much of their own time to help us care for these wonderful open spaces.”
Seaham Town Council is also celebrating after its Town Park was recognised.
The awards scheme is run by Keep Britain Tidy, under licence from the Department of Communities and Local Government, in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and the National Housing Federation.
Any green space that is accessible to the public is eligible to enter for an annual Green Flag Award, with participants to enter each year to renew their 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.
Scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme.
“Each flag is a celebration of the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.
“The success of the scheme, especially in these challenging times, demonstrates just how much parks matter to people.”