Invest in Nature

Wales’ Best Green Spaces Announced

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Another record-breaking year as 221 parks and green spaces across Wales achieve Green Flag Award status

Keep Wales Tidy has revealed this year’s Green Flag Award winners – the international mark of a quality park or green space.

221 parks and green spaces have met the high standards needed to receive the coveted Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award. They include a diverse range of sites, from urban parks and housing estates, to university campuses and farms.

Among this year’s recipients of the Green Flag Award are, for the first time, Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire, Tre Cwm estate in Conwy and two new sites managed by Caldicot Town Council – King George V Playing Field and Dewstow Cemetery.

Wales now holds more than a third of the UK’s community Green Flag sites, which rely on volunteers to maintain their excellent facilities. There are now award-winning green spaces in every local authority, including Swansea Community Farm and Pontyclun Community Garden. Newport has its first Green Flag Community Awards with Maindee District and Lysaght Institute.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:

“Parks and green spaces play an important role in our communities, so it’s encouraging to see such a diverse range of sites in Wales receiving Green Flag Awards. Our parks and green spaces are a haven for wildlife and are vital to our own health and wellbeing. I’d like to congratulate all of the sites for providing excellent, year-round facilities and events for people in Wales.”

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity, Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. It is judged by green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management and community involvement.

Seven sites have achieved Green Heritage Site Accreditation this year, including Bryngarw Country Park in Bridgend which has the accreditation for the first time, Cathays Cemetery in Cardiff and The Great Orme in Conwy. This special award, endorsed by Cadw, recognises sites that are both historically significant and meet Green Flag criteria.

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said:

“The Green Flag Award programme continues to go from strength to strength in Wales, thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers across the country.

 “We can’t underestimate how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities, our health and wellbeing, nature and economy. We want to encourage everyone to explore their local area and make the most of the award-winning sites on their doorstep.”

A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru

You can put your park or green space on the map by getting involved too. Visit the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru for more information.[:]

Launch of #iwill4nature Campaign Putting Young People at the Centre of the Year of Green Action

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2019 is the Year of Green Action, which is an opportunity to encourage connection to the natural environment and collective action to improve it.

One year ago the UK Government published “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment”, setting out its approach to protect and improve the environment and demonstrate leadership on conservation, climate change, land use, sustainable global food supplies and marine health.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has pledged to the #iwill campaign, which aims to make social action a part of life for 10 to 20 year olds across the UK. The national campaign, launched by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2013 with cross-party support, will focus on growing environmental youth social action – or green action – with the launch of #iwill4nature.

Examples of green action include taking part in environmental volunteering such as litter picking or planting pollinator-friendly flowers, fundraising for to maintain or enhance green spaces or campaigning for the zero plastic waste agenda.

The 2017 National Youth Social Action Survey, commissioned to run alongside the #iwill campaign, found that 44% of young people who had not been involved in social action in the past year were interested in addressing environmental issues (including animal protection).

24-year-old Step Up To Serve Trustee Pauline Meyer, and chair of the launch event, said:

“#iwill4nature recognises the impact young people already have on improving the environment and challenges them and others around them to make an even bigger difference. Whether it is looking after and appreciating their local green spaces, encouraging friends and family to make different shopping choices or choosing a commute that pollutes less. In the process you also get to develop skills, experience and boosting their mental health and wellbeing. I hope young people all over the UK can be inspired and supported to connect with the natural environment.”

Throughout the year, activity around #iwill4nature will draw together local and national initiatives in order to inspire green action. Hosting the launch event, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has also pledged to inspire future young people through experiences with wild animals, inform them of future career opportunities through conservation, science and animal welfare programmes, and actively engage young people in campaigns to protect natural habitats such as the world’s oceans.

ZSL Director General Dominic Jermey, and host of the launch, said:

“ZSL is committed to our vision of a world where wildlife thrives, and we believe that creating positive relationships between wildlife and people is key to achieving that. We want people to build lifelong connections to wildlife and we know that we have a vital role to play here at ZSL London Zoo. “By pledging to support #iwill4nature, we commit to further inspiring, informing and empowering young people as we continue to provide a shared space where learning, supported by our scientific research and conservation expertise, will help people to feel closer and more connected to wildlife.”


How You Can Support #iwill4nature

Cynnal Cymru is proud to be working with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action WCVA and Invest in Nature to raise awareness of the #iwill campaign and to provide practical support to businesses wanting to embed social action as part of their corporate social responsibility strategy. We are keen to hear from businesses in Wales that are interested in supporting the #iwill campaign and #iwillfornature.

Below is a list of resources to get you started:

WCVA’s guide on how to get started in developing an employee volunteering programme

The WCVA’s Youth Volunteering and Social Action Charter sets out a number of commitments encouraging organisations to provide the best possible social action and volunteering experiences for young people. The charter also outlines expectations for young people that take part in these experiences.

The #iwill guide for inspiring and enabling youth social action draws together advice and best practice examples from leading businesses including EDF Energy, British Gas and PwC.

Invest in Nature’s new Environmental Volunteering Toolkit is packed full of ideas for getting involved in environmental volunteering and celebrates fantastic projects making a difference in Wales through people like you!

 


The #iwill Campaign

The #iwill campaign is a collective effort involving over 900 organisations from the public, voluntary, education and business sectors with a vision to make meaningful social action part of life for all 10- to 20-year olds by the year 2020. In addition to Defra and the ZSL, organisations pledging to support #iwill4nature include Action for Conservation, Canal & River Trust, Global Action Plan, Groundwork, The Wildlife Trust, WWF, Royal Botanical Gardens and more.

The #iwill campaign was launched in 2013 with cross-party and multi-sector support after research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young
people to engage in social action.

The #iwill campaign is coordinated by Step Up To Serve, a charity registered in England & Wales (no. 1154588). For more information, visit www.iwill.org.uk and follow @iwill_campaign[:]

Invest in Nature Cymru can help point you to resources, support and funding!

[:en]Invest in Nature Cymru (previously Environet Cymru) is a Welsh Government programme working to support any community group or third sector organisation wanting to start or develop an environmental project.

They will continue to offer a free signposting and advice service and promote the amazing work of environmental and community groups through our digital network. However, they will have a new name – Invest in Nature Cymru – to tie in with an important strand of their work, which is to demonstrate how care of our natural world underpins all of our prosperity and well-being.

From 1 September 2018, you will be able to find Invest in Nature Cymru and all of their resources through the following:

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