With green spaces providing the perfect summer spot for families over the holidays, South Tyneside is celebrating two parks retaining prestigious quality awards.
South Marine Park in South Shields and West Park in Jarrow have been named among the best in the country after receiving the Green Flag Award again this year.
Green Flag Awards are handed out by environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy and recognise and reward parks and green spaces which are of the highest quality. Having a Green Flag flying overhead is a marker to the public that the park boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "We are thrilled that West Park in Jarrow and South Marine Park in South Shields have both retained the Green Flag Award.
"The Green Flag award is a sign of a well-managed, clean and safe park. With many people increasingly relying on their local parks to enjoy the outdoors, quality green space has never been more important.
"These awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining these spaces to such a high standard."
Keeping West Park and South Marine Park looking at their best is a joint effort between South Tyneside Council and the Friends of West Park, Jarrow, and the Friends of North and South Marine Parks groups.
In total this year, a record breaking 1,797 parks, cemeteries, universities, museums, hospitals and shopping centres across the UK have met the tough criteria demanded by the Award, including 62 in the North East.
Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: "Research shows that parks are a vital and valued resource in communities across the UK and we are delighted that so many of them are meeting the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.
"But we cannot be complacent. We know that budgets are being squeezed in local authorities across the country and we must be vigilant to ensure that everyone, where ever they live, has access to the very best parks and green spaces."
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd added: "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."
The Green Flag Awards coincides with this year's national Keep Britain Tidy #Love Parks Week campaign, which encourages people to enjoy their local parks, celebrate them and share the reasons why they matter to them.
The Green Flag Awards Scheme (http://greenflagaward.org/) is run by the environmental charity 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.
Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity. It inspires people to be litter-free, to waste less and to live more. It runs 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, its programmes and campaigns visit www.keepbritaintidy.org
Any green space that is 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 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.