The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) supports a grassroots community gardening scheme called It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN). The idea is help local people to “clean up and green up their immediate local environment to make a lasting improvement- whether that’s the street they live in, or a small patch of communal land needing a revamp”. By 2012 over 1,000 groups from all over the UK had signed up to the scheme and Parkinson’s Park is one of them.
Groups are supported in their activities with advice and guidance, and receive annual feedback from expert IYN assessors, who provide tips on how further improvements can be made. Assessment is on factors such as
- Cleaner, greener surroundings
- Creating a sense of community through improvement of public spaces and positive interaction between community members
- An increase in civic pride and sense of community empowerment by engaging people in the improvement of their own community
- Safer environments for the enjoyment of local people
- Long term improvement for the environment by addressing issues such as sustainability, resource management, recycling, conservation, litter & graffiti reduction, green space development and other sustainable practices.
- Reduction in anti-social behaviour
- Positive effect on the local economy such as increased commercial enterprise and increased tourism
- Regeneration of run down areas
The work on Parkinson’s Park was judged on 11 July, and on Tuesday 18th September, Barbara Winfield and Chris Parapia went along to the Award Ceremony in York to hear the results – as well as showcase the activities of the Friends during the past year.
The certificate awarded to the Friends of Parkinson’s Park is a Level 3 – Developing. (The levels are Level 1, Level 2 Improving, Level 3 Developing, Level 4 Thriving, and Level 5 Outstanding.)
Suggestions for further improvements included:
- Encouraging local groups and new housing residents to join in the working groups to increase the ‘ownership’ of the site.
- Carry out a fully site survey using quadrates and establish local species wild flower meadows.
- Develop a management plan to enhance the biodiversity and create the long term vision.