Shropshire Star

Apley Woods volunteers named 'Best of the Best'

A volunteer group in Telford have been crowned volunteers of the year for their work in Apley Woods nature reserve.

Councillor Carolyn Healy with volunteers from The Friends of Apley Woods

The Friends of Apley Woods were named the Volunteer Team of the Year at this year's Green Flag Awards, just months after the park was awarded Green Flag status.

They were nominated by Telford & Wrekin Council for their volunteer work towards protecting and developing Apley Woods Local Nature Reserve as a valuable amenity for the community, and an important habitat for wildlife.

The Friends of Apley Woods won one of the 10 Best of the Best awards for 2023, in the annual celebration operated by the Green Flag Awards.

The accolade rewards projects which have made a real difference in some of the UK’s 2,216 parks that have a Green Flag Award, the international quality standard managed by Keep Britain Tidy recognises and rewards well-managed green spaces.

Apley Woods Local Nature Reserve was awarded its Green Flag for the first time earlier this summer, along with Wellington's Bowring Park.

Four other parks in Telford and Wrekin including Telford Town Park, Hartshill Park, Dawley Park and Dale End Park retained their existing Green Flags.

Green Flag Award manager Paul Todd said: “Our parks and green spaces would not be the wonderful, free-to-access places they are without the tireless work of park staff and volunteers across the UK.

“As the operator of the Green Flag Award for high-quality parks, we believe parks and play spaces should be designed and managed in a way that makes them welcoming to everybody.

“To have achieved this recognition from the public is testament to the hard work going on in local green spaces, and we want to congratulate The Friends of Apley Woods on their fantastic achievement.”

Telford & Wrekin Council also congratulated the volunteers for the award.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet member for climate action, green spaces, heritage and leisure, said: “It is absolutely fantastic news and a real testament to all the hard work and dedication of each and every volunteer that cares for Apley Woods to ensure that it is an excellent and well-maintained nature reserve which is evidently well used and enjoyed by the community.

“We know how much local people cherish all of our borough’s green spaces and this is why we continue to invest in improving them. But with over 300 green spaces across Telford and Wrekin to take care of, we’re so grateful for the support and hard work of volunteers like Friends of Group, who extend what we’re able to achieve for residents.”

“These sites offer vital green spaces for the community, bringing people together and providing opportunities to lead healthy lifestyles. The staff and volunteers do so much to ensure that they maintain the high standards of the Green Flag Award and everyone involved should feel extremely proud of their achievement.”