Meet the amazing Glasgow groups who a received prestigious award for sprucing up parks

·4-min read
Credits: Left: Friends of Linn Park, Right: Colin Mearns
Credits: Left: Friends of Linn Park, Right: Colin Mearns

Seven Glasgow parks are celebrating receiving a prestigious award.

The Green Flag Awards are presented every year to quality green open spaces across the country that help to boost the nation's health and wellbeing.

Bestowed by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the acknowledgement is an encouragement for volunteers and staff alike, following difficult years.

Glasgow Times: Green Flag Award 2022, credit: Friends of Linn Park
Glasgow Times: Green Flag Award 2022, credit: Friends of Linn Park

Green Flag Award 2022, credit: Friends of Linn Park

Linn Park's Wildlife Trail in Cathcart received a Community Award, for the third year in a row.

Dorothy Buchanan, volunteer at Friends of Linn Park, said: "Receiving the award means that the space is welcoming, tidy, accessible and we are delighted that our Wildlife Trail has been judged to be all those things.

"It is certainly what it was aimed to be and seems like it continues to be.

"One of the really nice things is that you are also given feedback about how you could continue to improve and engage people in using that area."

Glasgow Times: Wooden paintings, credit: Friend of Linn Park
Glasgow Times: Wooden paintings, credit: Friend of Linn Park

Wooden paintings, credit: Friend of Linn Park

READ MORE: Concerns over dangerous walkway in Linn Park raised

Set up in 2019, the trail sits on a former woodland area, which was formerly damaged, vandalised, unsafe and inaccessible.

In just a few years, the volunteer group managed to transform the path into an award-winning community asset, which engages local primary schools and nurseries.

The 43-year-old added: "There was a lot of things to be figured out to bring it back to a path that you can walk around.

"There was treefall, mud, and bridges being burnt, literally.

"What we did was introduce these little colourful doors, which represent different aspects of wildlife and nature in the park, so there is a bit of information, a game of I-spy and a little route that takes you around and makes you feel like you are discovering something special."

Glasgow Times: Volunteers with the flag, 2022, credit: Friends of Linn Park
Glasgow Times: Volunteers with the flag, 2022, credit: Friends of Linn Park

Volunteers with the flag, 2022, credit: Friends of Linn Park

Friends of Linn Park also maintain the area regularly and have plans to open up another section of the trail, for which works have already begun.

They encourage anyone in the local area and beyond to volunteer their time to upkeep this community treasure.

Glasgow Times: Friend of Maryhill Park, taken by Colin Mearns in 2021
Glasgow Times: Friend of Maryhill Park, taken by Colin Mearns in 2021

Friend of Maryhill Park, taken by Colin Mearns in 2021

On the other side of the city, in the North of Glasgow, Maryhill Park Growing Space also received the award.

Alan Cooper, 76, founder of the project said: "It is very comforting and nice to get it because we had some difficulties.

"But also because the work on the tennis courts is starting and we weren't quite sure whether we would be able to continue developing the space.

"Luckily, things have gone well. We had a site visit from the judges and they were very complimentary of what we were doing.

"They also appreciated the difficulties we had with the development and the ongoing anti-social behaviour, which we have done something to correct.

"It was very nice to be able to have the award again because we were in two minds about applying as we were unsure if we would be able to continue."

Glasgow Times: Little volunteer in Maryhill Park, taken by Colin Mearns in 2021
Glasgow Times: Little volunteer in Maryhill Park, taken by Colin Mearns in 2021

Little volunteer in Maryhill Park, taken by Colin Mearns in 2021

READ MORE: Long-awaited upgrade starts on Maryhill tennis courts in Glasgow

The garden also received the recognition for the third year in a row, following a struggle with vandalism, as the Glasgow Times reported last year.

In an effort to discourage the behaviour, the group implemented a sitting area in Maryhill Park, to provide a space for socialising.

The long-time gardener added: "Earlier in the year, as we were coming out of lockdown, we went through a really bad phase.

"There was a lot of partying going on and messes to clean up which got depressing.

"What we have recognised is that young people need a place to do their own thing because the community garden is a nice place to be."

In the future, as the nearby tennis court revamp nears completion, the volunteers are planning to refurbish the raised beds in the park and ready themselves to become an even bigger attraction.

Glasgow Times: Volunteers gardening in Maryhill Park taken by Colin Mearns in 2021
Glasgow Times: Volunteers gardening in Maryhill Park taken by Colin Mearns in 2021

Volunteers gardening in Maryhill Park taken by Colin Mearns in 2021

Across Glasgow, there are five other spaces which received a Green Flag Award, including the Botanic Gardens, Castlemilk Park Daffodil Walk, Mount Vernon Park, Overnewton Park and Southern Necropolis.

Jamie Ormiston, beaches and parks officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “I would like to congratulate all of Scotland’s award-winning parks. Receiving this prestigious international benchmark recognises all the hard work that has gone into maintaining and managing these precious green open spaces.

“As the only accreditation for park management of its kind in Scotland, we have supported local authority teams, land managers and communities across Scotland to drive up environmental standards at many of our parks and open spaces for residents and visitors alike.

“Parks attract a diverse range of visitors, all of whom look for different facilities and have different expectations.

"The Green Flag Award, and the collective expertise of managers and communities across Scotland, drives improvements through a framework which supports the management of our environment, our wildlife and the people who visit.

“Scotland’s parks and open spaces attract thousands of visitors every year and I’d encourage everyone to respect, protect and enjoy them this summer.”