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Parks demonstrating democracy for the next generation

15 December 2017

The Green Flag Award celebrates the very best, most well-managed parks and green spaces in the country. Places that are constantly looking to improve, both for now and for future generations. Staff and volunteers are trying new ideas, taking risks, and involving others to improve their sites.

Each year we celebrate the very best innovations occurring across Green Flag-awarded sites, with our special innovation awards. We recently announced the eight very deserving winners and each week we will share their stories, beginning with Kings Park in Retford.

Many parks are already involving local residents in decisions about a park's future developments. And whilst creating a ten-year vision plan for Kings Park, Bassetlaw District Council did just this - encouraging local residents to suggest improvements for their local town centre open space. 

They had hundreds involved in the conversation, with the majority favouring the introduction of a new water play facility. But Bassetlaw decided to take the conversation even further - and this is why they are such deserving winners of our Special Innovation Awards 2017. 

The Council used Local Democracy Week (October 2015) to consult with local schools within Retford.  The school children were presented with three different concepts on the splash park design and through the process of voting were able to choose which type of facility they would like. 

This gave the children a valuable opportunity to discover and learn more about democracy within society, how to conduct a ballot to vote and how to decide upon a preferred design based on a majority vote.

The park's new Water Splash Park is now in place and has proved to be a huge success, meeting the expectations and needs of the local community along with the many visitors it attracts to the park. 

Plus the installation has given local children an opportunity to have their say and learn more about democracy and how it works within society by conducting their own ballot. And provided the Council with a different way forward on the decision making process for similar projects in the future.