Edinburgh Parks are made of Gold

While residents have been aware of the quality of Edinburgh’s parks and greenspaces for a long time, COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) has now recognised the city’s efforts with a gold award. At a ceremony in St Andrews, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Parks and Greenspace service was chosen from a shortlist of three other local authorities.

Harrison Park in Polwarth and Braid Burn Valley Park in South Morningside, were the first in Scotland to receive the prestigious Green Flag Award in 2007, after being guinea pigs for the fledgling scheme. The city is now set to become one of the UK’s first “Green Flag Authorities” in recognition of its innovation and leading role in greenspace management excellence.

Further accolades include the 2010 Beautiful Scotland “City” Award and Silver Gilt Medal at the 2011 Britain in Bloom UK Finals. They took a record 20 Green Flag Awards in 2011 and recognition by APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence), who judged Edinburgh the UK’s Best Parks, Grounds & Horticultural Service Team in 2011.

In 2008 the Council set a target to improve the quality of every single park in the city. At that time only 55% of parks were judged to meet the acceptable standard of quality. By 2011 this had risen to 82%. In recent years a new approach to joint working has seen the Council working with Friends groups, local residents and schools.

Mark Turley, Director of Services for Communities, said, “The Parks and Greenspace staff who have developed this ground breaking service fully deserve the accolade. Since 2008 we have worked hard to transform the service and through working with local communities every step of the way, this city now has an enviable reputation for having one of best performing parks and greenspaces service in the UK.”

COSLA President, Councillor Pat Watters CBE, said, “Every one of our finalists have set new standards for excellence, and demonstrated innovative ways of dealing with some of Scotland’s most complex issues. Their results speak for themselves, but above all else, I have been struck by the utter determination and passion that council workers and our partners have for improving outcomes for their communities.”

The COSLA Excellence Awards celebrate and reward the most innovative and passionate developments in local government. They recognise projects that can demonstrate excellent service delivery to communities.


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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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