When the group was started in 2005 we found that there was no plan for the development of the Park. So after discussion with the then Park Manager, Kirsten Warren, we produced a document called “Towards a Development Plan” which set out in a number of “projects” an approach to repair and improve Whitworth Park. We took as a guide the criteria used by the Green Flag Awards judges – A welcoming place; Healthy, safe and secure; Well maintained and clean; Sustainability; Conservation and Heritage; Community Involvement; Marketing, and finally, Management. Kirsten thought this was a good start and we worked together to eventually produce a Management Plan in 2011 which guides work in the Park. This was the key to submission for an Award and in 2012 we were assessed independently and judged to have achieved the national standard for parks and green spaces. In 2013 the award was renewed without inspection and in 2014 renewed again after a visit by the judges on May Day. The written report is complimentary about the work of our group but says we “sell ourselves short” on what we have actually achieved! It is less so about grounds maintenance.
There are indications that the Council will reduce applications for Green Flag awards and instead introduce a “Manchester Standard” to measure quality against “criteria that are important to Manchester residents”. It is not clear which Green Flag criteria are not so.