Green Flag Award for Derry’s Creggan Country Park

Creggan Country Park received their first Community Green Flag Award at an awards ceremony in Lurgan recently.

The Green Flag Award is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open spaces and is increasingly sought after in the north since the local programme opened in 2008. The Green Flag Community Award is the national award recognising high-quality green spaces managed by voluntary and community groups.

Ninety-three parks and open spaces have been recognised with a Green Flag Award for 2022, including 18 community managed sites and 8 heritage award sites. Creggan Country Park received their first Community Green Flag award at the ceremony.

The park was commended for their environmental projects such as wetsuit upcycling, community fridge, tree nursery, nature hub, environmental education programme and volunteering a well as biodiversity and habitat management on the 100 acre site.

Mairead Parke, volunteer, Creggan Country Park, Edwin Poots MLA, Evironment Minister, Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Karen Healy, Environmental Officer, Creggan Country Park.

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Karen Healy, Environmental Officer, Creggan Country Park, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive our first Community Green Flag award on behalf of our volunteers, partner groups, visitors and funders. Our park is a great example of how working with nature rather than against it, can bring benefits to both people and wildlife. We want to say a massive thank you to our dedicated volunteers who help keep our park litter free, rich in biodiversity and a safe place for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Gerry Quinn, Manager, Creggan Country Park, said: “The environment is central to our work at Creggan Country Park, and we recognise the importance of protecting the environment as an end in itself. We’re also aware of the community health benefits of attractive and well maintained green spaces not only for the present but as our bequest to future generations. We see winning the green flag award as an affirmation of our commitment to the environment, to the community and to wildlife conservation.”

Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful which manages the local Green Flag Awards programme, said; “Urban parks are one of the Victorian era’s great achievements and their relevance and importance continue today. Communities across the country value their local parks enormously and their potential to support biodiversity is being increasingly recognised. They’re not just spaces for us, they’re spaces for nature. When you visit a Green Flag site you can be reassured that the location is being managed to a really high standard as they’ve been through a rigorous judging process that assesses sites across a range of issues including their horticultural standards, cleanliness, biodiversity and safety. It’s so encouraging, this year, to see councils, organisations and communities implementing such a wide variety of measures to help our pollinating insects which are severely under pressure. Some of the initiatives are bold and some are subtle, but all show great commitment to working with nature for the benefit of the environment and us all; and at time when many people’s finances are under pressure, it’s important to highlight the fact that all Green Flag spaces are free to everyone.”

Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, MLA, who attended the event, commended the good work being done by so many park managers to improve conditions for pollinators. He said: “It’s very encouraging to see the growing awareness about the importance of pollinators and biodiversity generally within our local communities. The huge interest in my department’s pollinator grants, which were aimed at schools and community groups have undoubtedly helped to spread awareness about this important issue. Parks are where many of our citizens go for outdoor relaxation and exercise and there is huge potential for these spaces to set aside wild areas in which nature can thrive. I commend the work of all of our Green Flag award winners.”

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For more information on Creggan Country Park and their work visit www.creggancountrypark.comFor more information on programmes run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (Blue Flag, Eco-Schools, Live Here Love Here) visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org