Parks maintenance in Trafford, keeping them green and tidy
Amey looks after 37 parks in Trafford, Manchester, as part of our unique bundled services partnership known as One Trafford. We’re proud that nearly a quarter of these spaces are Green Flag - designated, and we work hard to meet our target of increasing this proportion by one every year, helping Trafford Council to meet its Vision 2031.
What is the value of green space?
In 2016, Trafford Council set out its vision for the next fifteen years. A key aim of Vision 2031 is to create places where people want to live, learn, work, invest and relax.
Flourishing, well-maintained and accessible public parks can play an important role in meeting this ambition. Trafford’s 37 parks form a green chain throughout the borough, and we look after them all as part of our pioneering partnership with Trafford Council, known as One Trafford.
Green Flag parks
Ten of the parks currently hold Green Flag status, signifying that they are clean, welcoming and valued green spaces at the heart of their community. It also shows that they are maintained to a high standard by skilled staff, with the support of the local community. Green Flag standards are also Amey standards, and we are succeeding in our ambition to have one additional Trafford park achieve Green Flag status in each year of our contract. In 2018 we have added two.
Maintaining Green Flag status can be time-consuming for councils as it must be applied for annually. Every year we write the application for each park to help it retain its status. The list of criteria covers many of the activities our grounds team do as standard: grass cutting, sweeping and edging paths, maintaining shrubs and trees, emptying bins, and erecting heritage and information boards. It also covers health and safety, effective management and the use of skilled staff. The Green Flag Award has supported the professionalism of the parks sector and requires managers to demonstrate that resources are being used to their best effect and delivering value for money.
Working with Friends
Crucial to the success of a Green Flag park is an active ‘Friends’ supporters’ group, whose enthusiastic members help to promote their park to the local community and do much to ensure these spaces are well-loved and accessible to residents. We play an important liaison role between these groups and our client. As part of our contract, Amey employs two full-time co-ordinators in Trafford, David Sykes and David Rome, and a communications and community liaison manager, Sheridan Hilton. The ‘two Daves’ are knowledgeable and experienced ecologists and groundsmen who help Friends groups build their capacity and skills, giving advice on everything from planting to hedge-trimming and beekeeping. Sheridan assists with media relations and social media to help the groups raise their profile and promote their parks. Together they can feed back any of the residents’ concerns and issues to the One Trafford partnership.
Amey also gives practical fundraising assistance which can provide parks with valuable resources in times of austerity. In 2018 we prepared a proposal to help Friends of Woodheys Park raise funds to restore the park’s ancient woodland, thinning out invasive species and planting more native trees to improve biodiversity. Thanks to our assistance, the Friends secured a donation of £10,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help fund. Seven Amey employees used their annual one day’s paid volunteering leave to plant over 200 native tree whips. Helping out in the parks, with a variety of activities from restoring benches to pruning trees, is a popular way for our employees in Trafford to use their volunteering allowance.
Regular activities and sourcing equipment
In our ongoing programme, we carefully schedule our work throughout the year to keep an even spread of work for our teams, and to maximise their efficiency. We are increasingly creating planting schemes with more perennials instead of replaceable bedding plants – a more sustainable and budget-friendly option.
We also help Trafford to manage its Green Space Capital programme, by consulting with Friends’ groups and helping to advise on, as well as price and source, the most suitable equipment – for example for children’s play resources – within budget, which in 2018, was £300,000.
Green Flag states: “Access to good quality green space is vital if we are to tackle some of the challenges that we face, including the growing problem of obesity, the rise in mental health issues and the feelings of being disconnected from the communities in which we live. Research shows that having well-managed, accessible green space contributes to tackling many of these issues.”
The work we do throughout the year is helping Trafford to move towards its long-term vision, by ensuring that these precious green spaces are kept peaceful, accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
About Vision 2031
Trafford Partnership’s Vision 2031 aims to improve outcomes for everyone living in this metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, as well as making savings and reducing demands on services. Among its borough-wide ambitions are building strong communities, making Trafford a destination of choice, and encouraging its residents to become the most physically active in the country.
About One Trafford
Amey is working with Trafford Council in a pioneering collaboration called the One Trafford Partnership – developed to create better places to live, work and travel for people across the borough. The 15-year contract, which started in 2015, includes commercial and domestic waste collections, street cleansing, grounds maintenance, facilities management and highways services, including street lighting, bridges, drainage and street furniture.
As well as the 37 parks, Amey maintains and improves, on behalf of Trafford Council:
- 834 km of roads
- 1,196 km footpaths and cycleways
- 297 structures
- 27,900 street columns and illuminated signs
- 1600 litter bins
- collects waste from 97,000 households.
About the Green Flag Award
The Green Flag Award is run by Keep Britain tidy under license from the UK Government Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. It was launched in 1996 to reverse a decline in the quality of parks. The Green Flag Award has raised standards and shown that running a park that is well-used and valued by its community is about more than just cutting the grass. It has established the need for effective management and the use of skilled staff, along with support of the local community. The organisation states: “Access to good quality green space is vital if we are to tackle some of the challenges that we face, including the growing problem of obesity, the rise in mental health issues and the feelings of being disconnected from the communities in which we live. Research shows that having well-managed, accessible green space contributes to tackling many of these issues.”