A successful Green Flag Award® site demonstrates through a sound management plan and a well-run site that the management understand:
- their users - who they are, who they could be, what they want, how they are informed and involved
- their site - what is special about its history, biodiversity, landscape, social and physical setting, and what it is trying to achieve
- their management strategy - that what is there is safe, in line with legislation and policy, well maintained and that there are plans for the future
Applicants are judged against 27 different criteria divided into eight sections detailed below. These are not a list of requirements - the strength of the Green Flag Award® is that it provides a framework for good management that professionals can evaluate and apply to their own particular site.
1 A Welcoming Place
This section recognises the culmination of everything done well. A welcoming place is one that invites and draws people into it by creating a space which, through its visual appearance, range of facilities, standards of maintenance and ease of access, makes people feel that they are in a cared for place.
2 Healthy, Safe and Secure
This section looks at how well managers understand their users' needs, encouraging them to enjoy healthy activities using appropriate, safe-to-use facilities and activities, and to feel personally safe and secure.
3 Well Maintained and Clean
This section looks at issues of cleanliness and maintenance in particular litter and other waste management issues for grounds, buildings and equipment and what policies on litter, vandalism and maintenance are being practiced and regularly reviewed.
4 Environmental Management
This section seeks to ensure that the way the site is managed has a positive impact on the environment, locally and globally, both now and for the future.
5 Biodiversity, Landscape and Heritage
This section looks at strategies to conserve and enhance natural features, wildlife and flora, landscape features, buildings and structures.
6 Community Involvement
This section looks at the strategies that ensure there is appropriate provision of recreational facilities and activities for all sectors of the community and its understanding of the community it serves.
7 Marketing and Communication.
This section seeks to examine the ways that managers understand the key benefits of the site and how they are using this information to promote it appropriately. They should understand who the main user groups are, and could or should be, and use a fitting range of interpretation and engagement techniques to communicate with them.
8 Overall Management.
This section evaluates how well the management plan is implemented on site. The Green Flag Award® ® requires the establishment of an active management plan based on a deep understanding of the community that it serves and its aspirations, believing that this is important to ensure the proper funding of these assets with financial, staff and volunteer resources.
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