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Brooke Park wins prestigious ‘Green Flag’ for third year in a row

24 July 2019

The regeneration of Brooke Park by Derry City and Strabane District Council has been awarded the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ status for the third year in a row by environmental charity ‘Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’.

Brooke Park has also received the much coveted, additional ‘Green Heritage Site Accreditation’ for the management of its historic features – including the new Gatelodge exhibition charting the history of the Victorian Park from its first opening in 1839 when it was the site of Gwyn’s Orphanage for Boys.

The Green Flag is a worldwide award to recognise publicly accessible parks and green spaces that meet strict, benchmarked criteria including maintenance, sustainability, safety and community involvement.

The ‘Green Heritage Site Accreditation’ is an additional award given to spaces managed to ‘Green Flag Award’ standards but which also actively understand, identify, manage & promote elements of their unique heritage.

Brooke Park was reopened to the public in September 2016 following an extensive £5.6m regeneration of this historic landscape.

The project was funded by Council, Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Parks for People Programme and the Department for Communities (DfC) – and has been a resounding success with the public to date.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Green Flag in Brooke Park today, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle said both awards represent recognition of the ongoing high-quality management of the new civic amenity.

“I’d like to congratulate the Council’s Parks Management & Development Team for all their hard work in ensuring that Brooke Park – also known as the ‘People’s Park’ – is continuing to meet the high standards required for Green Flag status,” she said.

“It’s also great to see the park being awarded the ‘Green Heritage Site Accreditation’ for its wonderful new Gatelodge exhibition, as well as additional signage and features which promote the heritage of this unique site.

“The recent transformation of the park into a state-of-the-art-facility for leisure, play and relaxation has not only restored the park to its former glory, but has enriched the lives of so many people by providing a local hub for social and leisure activity.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department for Communities without whose financial support this project and winning of these highly-coveted awards would simply not have been possible.”

Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of ‘Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’ – who award the Green Flags – said he is delighted to see a record 76 locations achieve the Green Flag Award this year.

“It is time once again to celebrate a record number of Green Flag Awards meaning more spaces than ever before offering wonderful experiences for visitors throughout the year.  I also want to thank the staff who give their all to maintain these spaces to such high standards for us to enjoy”, he said. 

“As all of us (and young people particularly) become glued to our phones and tablets these fantastic green spaces offer some of the closest and most accessible opportunities to explore and connect to nature. Where better to learn about our reliance on the natural world?  Where better to spend quality time with friends and family?  Where better to relax away from all the busy-ness of life?  Come to think of it I am heading outside…”

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Parks Manager Emma Barron added: “I’m delighted that Brooke Park has once again received the Green Flag status and has also been awarded the ‘Green Heritage Site Accreditation’ for the first time.

“Indeed, both awards will generate excellent publicity for the park and increase awareness of this high-quality green space in the heart of our city centre – which can only be a boost to its popularity.

“Retaining the Green Flag status and being awarded ‘Green Heritage Site Accreditation’ will also assist us in promoting Brooke Park’s natural environment and support a range of activities with local schools, community groups and the public to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the history of the park, its importance in terms of wildlife and environment, and the positive role they can play in safeguarding its future for generations to come.”