Partnership Secures Green Flag

Merton Council
Merton Council | 2018 | Merton

Partnership Secures Green Flag

In early 2018 idverde’s Greenspace Development Team met with the Wilmore End Residents Association (WERA) and Merton Council and agreed a programme of improvements to the park, with the aim of creating a safer, cleaner and more environmentally sustainable space for residents and park users to enjoy.

Abbey Recreation Ground is 2.43 hectares and sits within Merton’s Abbey Ward.  It offers a large open space with two football pitches and a cricket pitch available for hire. There is also a children’s’ playground with swings and slides and the recreation ground is popular with dog walkers.

Abbey Recreation Ground acts as an important bridging habitat, connecting the larger ecological spaces of Mitcham Common and Wimbledon Common, making it an important space for local and migrating bird populations and prevention of habitat and population fragmentation.

The programme of improvement works began with idverde Manager Andrew Kauffman working with Keith and Jim from WERA to formulate a management plan that would stipulate the works and goals to be achieved on the park in the coming months and years.

To help achieve these goals idverde approached London CRC, the UK’s largest community rehabilitation company, which works with offenders aged 18 and over who have been sentenced by the courts to a Community Order. The CRC brought in groups of 8 – 10 people who worked from 9am to 4pm under the supervision of CRC supervisors to help with the necessary works in the park.

The teams were directed with the assistance of Keith Hunter of WERA, and Gerald McEnery, idverde Greenspace Development Team manager. The initial works largely focused on making aesthetic improvements to the park such as litter picking, painting and clearing unwanted vegetation.

Following the initial round of improvements, the teams got to work on making larger more dramatic changes to the park, including painting over 800 metres of exterior railings, planting approximately 250 native hedge whips, and a complete restoration of the entrance bedding area.

London CRC’s Martin Shallcross says:

“The Abbey Recreation Ground project has given our service users a great opportunity to engage with the Friends group and to play their part in helping to create the new look Abbey Rec. The group worked hard on the grounds maintenance and planting and they also painted the perimeter railings. The work is ongoing and we hope to play our part in taking the park forward in the next stage of development.”

At the culmination of these works Abbey Recreation Ground applied for the prestigious Green Flag award. The Green Flag award sets the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. Parks and green spaces entered for the award are judged against criteria such as access, cleanliness, horticultural maintenance, biodiversity and conservation features.

Abbey Recreation ground was judged by a panel of Green Flag representatives and, to the delight of all involved, was accordingly awarded this highly regarded accolade.

Following the award, Wilmore End Residents Association’s Keith Hunter commented:

“WERA had been keen to obtain a Green Flag for Abbey Recreation Ground for a number of years but lacked the resources to do so. In late 2017, idverde director Patrick Phillips introduced WERA to his colleague Andrew Kauffman, who arranged for a team from the London Community Rehabilitation Company to work with us each week from late 2017. idverde provided tools and other equipment as well as invaluable hands-on help and advice. A Green Flag was awarded to Abbey Rec in 2018 and we are now working hard to keep it!”

idverde’s Director of Parks Management Strategy, Patrick Phillips, added:

“If ever there was a symbolic example of what little acorns can grow into then this is surely it! Remarkable results achieved by enthusiasm, commitment, and most importantly, partnership working.”