year judges from the Keep Britain Tidy scheme inspect thousands of Parks,
Nature Reserves and Green spaces to assess the work done to keep these special
places in good order and the Green Flag Award is a mark of the quality of
these areas. It is a sign to the public that the space has reached a high
environmental standard and is well maintained.
Each Flag is a celebration of the volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award judges. This scheme is run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, it recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the UK.
When the application for 2020 was submitted, we could have had no idea what a dreadful year lay ahead. The Coronavirus affected each and every person, claiming the lives of thousands and limiting the way that everyone lived their life. Freedoms we took for granted were taken away. As a result of the restrictions many more people became aware of the nature reserve and the amount of local residents using the area for their daily exercise increased enormously. Unfortunately, the covid restrictions meant that the ‘Friends group’ had to stop working on the reserve, it also meant that the inspection for the Green Flag award was postponed several times. However, towards the end of the summer we were pleased to be awarded our fourth ‘flag’, which was put on display in the noticeboard at the entrance to the reserve. Like everyone else we hope for better times next year.
During 2019 the ‘friends group’ worked hard to ensure that the points raised by the judge in 2018 were acted upon and the improvements suggested incorporated into the monthly task sessions. Throughout the year we were helped by a number of local residents who spent time collecting litter, around the reserve. This is an important part of the work done on the reserve and is vital to ensure success in gaining the Green Flag award. We are always extremely grateful to anyone who helps in this way. This year when judging took place, members of the friends group were able to attend and gain valuable feedback. The judges’ comments were incredibly positive and a great boost to everyone involved. The Annual award ceremony was held in Walsall and a representative from the group attended to collect the ‘flag’ on behalf of everyone involved in helping to improve this lovely green space and to ensure that it remains a place for everyone to enjoy, not only now but for future generations too.
Unlike the previous year we would not know when the judge would attend as the reserve was to be ‘blind shopped’, we could only hope that the judge chose a nice sunny day to do his inspection, meaning that the reserve would look at its best. Being ‘blind shopped’ brings several challenges. Throughout the whole of the summer the ‘friends group’ had to keep a close eye on general maintenance, litter picking and path maintenance, just two tasks which needed constant attention. Judging took place in mid August and shortly afterwards we were notified that we had been successful for the second time. The judge had lots of very positive comments to make and as always these were appreciated and incorporated into the annual work schedule.
2017 was the first time the ‘Friends’ group applied to be considered for a Green Flag Award. The reserve was inspected in June, at a time when the whole area was looking wonderful, with 100’s of orchids and wildflowers covering the grassland areas. We all waited patiently for the results to be released and were delighted to find that we had been successful at our first attempt. Representatives of the ‘Friends group’ attended the presentation at Pride Park Stadium, along with volunteers representing groups from the whole of the East of England. It was so good to have all the hard work recognised, it makes all those cold, wet days when we work on the reserve worthwhile. One day we would love to be able to display the flag and would like to be able to raise funding to erect a flagpole near to the entrance to the reserve. A sign that our local reserve is valued and special.