Two South Tyneside parks have been recognised for meeting the highest of standards with an international award.
South Marine Park in South Shields and West Park in Jarrow have both been awarded the 2017 Green Flag Award, given to parks which are well-managed, clean and safe.
The win was announced by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which said the parks were among those who received the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We are thrilled that West Park in Jarrow and South Marine Park in South Shields have both retained the Green Flag Award.
“The Green Flag award is a sign of a well-managed, clean and safe park.
“With many people increasingly relying on their local parks to enjoy the outdoors, quality green space has never been more important.
“These awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining these spaces to such a high standard.”
The award comes during Love Parks Week, running this week, when millions of people across the country will be out enjoying activities from pond-dipping to zumba.
Run by Keep Britain Tidy, the campaign encourages people to think about their park, share why they love it and celebrate the diversity of activities that happen every day of the year in parks.
The charity brought home the importance of the award by saying that many people will only visit a park if they perceive it to be clean and safe.
They said the Green Flag Award is an easy way for the public to see at a glance that their park meets the highest standards.
Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Research shows that parks are a vital and valued resource in communities across the UK and we are delighted that so many of them are meeting the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”
In total this year, 1,797 UK parks, cemeteries, universities, museums, hospitals and shopping centres have met the tough criteria demanded by the Award, including 62 in the North East.
Ms Ogden-Newton added: “But we cannot be complacent.
“We know that budgets are being squeezed in local authorities across the country and we must be vigilant to ensure that everyone, where ever they live, has access to the very best parks and green spaces.”
To see the full list of winners, please visit: www.keepbritaintidy.org