With green spaces providing the perfect spot for families to enjoy the outdoors, South Tyneside is celebrating three parks securing prestigious quality awards.
South Marine Park in South Shields and West Park in Jarrow have retained the Green Flag Award again this year. West Park South Shields has also been named among the country's best parks for the first time.
Green Flag Awards are a celebration of parks and green spaces of the highest quality and are handed out by environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy. 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 Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "It is wonderful news that West Park in Jarrow and South Marine Park in South Shields have both retained the respected Green Flag Award and we are incredibly pleased to see West Park in South Shields gaining the award this year. It's a fantastic achievement.
"The Green Flag 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 all the hard work and dedication that goes into maintaining these sites to such a high standard. I would like to thank all those people - the staff, Friends groups and volunteers - who do so much all year round to ensure our parks remain beautiful spaces for visitors to enjoy. They are instrumental in these achievements."
Keeping South Marine Park, West Park Jarrow and West Park South Shields looking their best is a joint effort between South Tyneside Council and the Friends of North and South Marine Parks groups, the Friends of West Park, Jarrow, and the Friends of West Park, South Shields.
This year has been a record-breaking year for the Green Flag Awards with more than 2,000 sites across the UK meeting the tough criteria demanded by the Award.
Allison Ogden-Newtown OBE, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, 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, South Tyneside Council has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award."
To celebrate the announcement and thank all those involved in keeping Borough looking their best, South Shields Town Hall will be joining buildings and landmarks across the UK, including the White Cliffs of Dover at Samphire How, the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Salford's Media City, to be lit up green on 14 October.