FOUR parks in York have won recognition for their high standards of maintenance and role as welcoming community spaces.

Rowntree Park, West Bank Park, Rawcliffe Country Park and Glen Gardens have all been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award following assessments in the spring, while Clarence Gardens retains its Green Flag Award status, having been assessed last year.

The announcement falls within national Love Parks Week, celebrating its tenth anniversary year this week.

It also comes just days after Rowntree Park held its annual birthday party, which was hailed a successful and busy community event organised by the Friends of Rowntree Park to celebrate its 95th birthday.

The Green Flag Awards recognise well-managed parks and open spaces for all to enjoy and is the benchmark national standard in the UK.

Launched in 1996, it promotes excellence in recreational green areas and standards are measured against eight criteria, including whether it is a welcoming place, safe and secure, clean and well maintained, sustainable, and with community involvement.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for culture, leisure and tourism said: “Green Flag Awards recognise the very highest standards of maintenance and development in York’s parks and I congratulate all those who have contributed to their success. Each of these parks, gardens or green spaces has their own unique personality and offers a fantastic place for local communities to enjoy.”

Celina Gee, chairwoman of the Friends of Glen Gardens in Heworth, said the status helped make their efforts worthwhile. “It’s great to be classed amongst the best parks in the country.”

Fun, educational, volunteering and sports activities are taking place in York’s parks throughout summer, many aimed at children and young people as part of the city’s programme of holiday activities.