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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Green Space project up for national award

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HARD WORK: Greengate Junior School pupils and year four teacher Stephen Leigh working on the Green Heart Den, in Barrow, which was a derelict railway site

By Rachel Hermolle

APROJECT which has supported and enabled five communities in Cumbria to protect their green spaces has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Friends of the Lake District’s Our Green Space project is in with a chance of winning an award given by the Open Spaces Society to activities which ‘protect, increase, enhance and champion the common land, town and village greens, open spaces and public rights of way in England and Wales, and the public’s right to enjoy them.’

Over four years, the project has helped five communities in Cumbria to undertake a mixture of physical improvements, education and celebratory events as well as providing training and resources to many other communities across the county.

And it has supported 11 open spaces, and volunteers have put in nearly 2,600 days of their time.

One of Our Green Space’s achievements involved helping turn a derelict old railway site into a community garden in Barrow.

The Green Heart Den, in Marsh Street, has gone on to win many awards and is now an urban oasis used by many members of the community.

Friends of the Lake District’s policy officer Jan Darrall said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for this national award. “The shortlisting is a tribute to the dedication of all of the five communities involved in the project who have given inspiration to others by showing the central place green spaces can play in modern day community life.”

A colourful case study book details how the work was done and enables other communities to learn and do the same. An education pack is available for schools and youth groups to encourage children to explore and enjoy Cumbria’s green spaces through outdoor learning activities.

Three management guides helping communities tackle every day issues on their green spaces are also available from the project website www.ourgreenspace.org.uk

Judges from the Open Space Award will be visiting the Our Green Space project in early May and the winning project will be presented with the award at the Open Spaces Society annual general meeting in July.

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