Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Culture and Communities Vice Convener, writes for today's Edinburgh Evening News about Love Parks Week and thanks the Friends of the City's parks.
Throughout the last 18 months, our parks and green spaces have been a vital lifeline to many of us during the pandemic.
As we hopefully continue to enjoy the summer weather, Keep Britain Tidy’s annual Love Parks Week provides the opportunity to send a rallying cry; to Love, Respect, and Protect our parks throughout the summer of 2021 and beyond.
With an increase in number of visitors our green spaces have been under immense pressure, I would like to use this opportunity to thank not only our parks and greenspaces team for their continued hard work but all those volunteers and friends group whose support has been invaluable.
For example, the Water of Leith Conservation Trust and team of volunteers have helped maintain the entire length of the Water of Leith Walkway. Over the last year Friends of Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill funded and installed five picnic benches on their site and Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park have been fully redeveloping their bothy into a volunteer centre and base with facilities for groups to use.
Our friends have also helped us tackle litter. The Pentland Hills Litter Watch group was created during the pandemic when a group of local residents took it upon themselves to litter pick various locations in the Regional Park. The Craigmillar and Niddrie Litter Busters was formed online in February and brought together a small group of local people who wanted to help inspire, advise and organise events for community clean ups whilst campaigning and promoting environmental concerns in the Craigmillar area. They also help to co-ordinate solo or family group litter picks and tidy up local parks and streetscape areas during the COVID lockdown and ongoing pandemic. Our team support their efforts, providing equipment and advice, it’s a fantastic working partnership between the community and Council.
Friends of Little France Park are a relatively new group, but they were keen to help the parks site officer during lockdown in keeping a close eye on activities in the park and provided feedback to staff working from home. Regular communications with staff managing the park helped hugely to allow us to be informed and manage what was happening. The passion of the communities driven by local knowledge and love of their greenspaces made this a useful and genuine partnership between council parks officers and the community connected to the park.
This week we’ll be highlighting more of this amazing work on our social media accounts but I would like to thank them all again.
I am very proud of all our award-winning parks and of those who work all year round, and in all weathers to keep our parks beautiful. The parks belong to the people of Edinburgh and we’re so grateful for the support from our citizens.