Volunteers at the Botanic Gardens in Southport with their Green Flag Award

Volunteers at the majestic Botanic Gardens in Churchtown in Southport are proudly flying the Green Flag as a reward for their hard work throughout the year. 

The Botanic Gardens Community Association Volunteers fulfilled all the strict criteria needed to gain the community award. 

Judges gave them the prestigious honour for the work they do all year round in the park.

The Green Flag will fly proudly from a post at the main entrance. 

David Cobham, who runs the Botanic Gardens Community Association Volunteers, said: “We would like to thank all our funding supporters and sponsors, it would not be possible without them.

“Sefton Council decided to withdraw from the annual competition but we felt that a Green Flag accreditation gave the Gardens a standard that would encourage people to visit and should be flying from the tall entrance flag posts with pride.

“The Botanic Gardens Community Association volunteers have been successful in achieving the highest mark of Outstanding for six years in the RHS North West in Bloom Competition culminating in Best Overall Entry last year.

“We enquired if we could enter to be judged on the work we do. So we applied for the Green Flag Community Award which covers a whole host of sections to be marked by a visiting judge.

Aerial view of the Botanic Gardens in Churchtown in Southport. Photo by David Dunn of The View From Above

Aerial view of the Botanic Gardens in Churchtown in Southport. Photo by David Dunn of The View From Above

“We put in a detailed presentation pack and were accepted for judging.

“We were then locked down and out of the park for over two months but the judge was very impressed with the way we had knuckled down when allowed to work again.

“Ann Cobham our gardening organiser rang around and we visited plant growers to obtain what was available to plant up most of the usual displays and got to work tidying the park up as best we could.

“And we also opened up the Fernery and the public toilets, which we have taken over, and we started to fund and improve the very popular Aviary to keep it in business.

“We were absolutely proud and pleased to be awarded the coveted Green Flag at our first attempt which is unusual and especially as there was no In Bloom competition this year.” 

Sefton Council used to provide the Botanic Gardens with a Nurseries Manager and seven staff members to look after the park all year round. But five years ago staff members were axed due to budget cuts.   

A number of volunteers decided they would do everything they could to keep the historic park looking its best. 

They work in all weathers to maintain the facility for the benefit of local families, helped by support from local sponsors and from Green Sefton, which is part of Sefton Council. 

The park also welcomes thousands of visitors throughout the year, who provide a boost to local restaurants, pubs and shops. 

David Cobham said: “I thank all our dedicated volunteers who turn up whatever the weather all year round.

“And also without our local funding sponsors it would not be possible.

“We look forward to our tenth year hoping that the successes and income we have brought to the Botanic Gardens will encourage much needed major funding being provided for major infrastructure and restoration improvements on the spectacular but silted up lake and its bridges which are in dire need of some loving care.

“That would bring the Botanic Gardens back to its former glories and would tick all the boxes for health of body and mind and safety for people and wildlife and a top national attraction for Churchtown and Southport.”

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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