Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has won the national Love Parks award, for the second year in succession, at the Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards 2022.
The award recognises HDC for work to publicise local parks, educate visitors and celebrate parks as a central and vital part of local community life. HDC was recognised as the best in the United Kingdom for Love Parks campaign work category, ahead of shortlisted finalists North Lincolnshire Council and Swale Borough Council.
Executive Councillor for Operations and Environment, Cllr Marge Beuttell, said: "To once again win a national award for our commitment to showcasing and celebrating parks and open spaces in Huntingdonshire is welcome news. It is a testament to all the hard work that goes into looking after our spaces, welcoming visitors, and including local communities and volunteers in our work.
"Our parks and open spaces can have a positive impact on life in Huntingdonshire and we all want to live in an environment that is green and clean so this year we will be renewing our Environment and Climate Strategy to maintain our longstanding record of improving our environment and reducing the impact on the world around us. Over the coming weeks we will be launching a new consultation where people can have their say and help us shape this strategy for the future."
HDC's success was down to a wide-ranging schedule of Love Parks Week campaigning that took place from 23 July to 1 August. Alongside an extensive social media push, many events and activities were put on in the district’s open, green spaces including nature trails, active families and fitness for all classes, a picnic in the park event and supporting the grab and go litter picking volunteering for the Great British Spring Clean.
The importance of and reliance on parks and open spaces in the district for local people have come to the forefront over the last two years. HDC's Healthy Open Spaces Strategy highlights that 98% of residents polled believe that Huntingdonshire’s open spaces make themselves and other people happy, as well as 86% who believe that the spaces encourage them to keep fit and healthy.
Parks, open spaces, and play areas are part of what makes Huntingdonshire a special place to live and to visit. They provide spaces that benefit our health and wellbeing, where we can use our imagination and enjoy the great outdoors. Huntingdonshire has a network of over 500 greenspaces ranging from parks and play areas to village greens and nature reserves.
Plans for a project to support biodiversity in Huntingdonshire have moved forward following a successful multi-year £1.35 million bid by HDC to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
Over the last three years, HDC has been investing in nature and experimenting with the planting of wildflower areas in parks and open spaces. The project originally started in one park but has now scaled up to at least one major area in all four of the district's market towns: Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots and Ramsey.