A dedicated young volunteer has scooped the Young Green Space Volunteer of the Year award, sponsored by Groundwork, at the inaugural Love Parks Awards ceremony last Thursday (17 March 2016).
Environmental enthusiast, Ben Falconer, aged 13 from Crosby, won the prestigious award for his contribution to making his local park a better place to visit and his local community is a better place to be.
Groundwork sponsored the award to highlight the importance of getting young people actively involved in their local communities to help make a difference to the places they live.
From the age of eight, Ben has been an active member of his community group, Friends of Moorside Park, getting involved from everything from park maintenance to litter picking to fundraising events as well as taking other young people under his wing to inspire them to join in.
Ben is a key member of the committee and brings a ‘young people’ perspective to the group, which is made up of 90% of 60-year-olds, making his contribution vital in ensuring that their opinions are heard.
Louise Hicks, Chair of Friends of Moorside Park, said “We are absolutely over the moon that Ben has won the award as he is such an important member of our group.
“It’s not only young people that could benefit from Ben’s example – adults could too! Every community group should have a member like Ben and I am extremely proud and privileged that he is a part of ours.”
Graham Duxbury, CEO of Groundwork UK, said: “It was an honour to have presented the award to Ben, who is a prime example of the positive impact that young people can have on their local environment.
“It was a great pleasure to meet him and I hope that he inspires even more young people to join to their local friends groups and to create better places for their communities to enjoy.”
Love Parks Conference
The Keep Britain Tidy, ‘Love Parks’ conference was held in Nottingham on Thursday 17 March and invited charities, organisations, local authorities and community friends groups from across the country to share ideas and talk about the environmental issues that matters to them.
Keynote speakers included Groundwork UK CEO, Graham Duxbury, who made the case that young people need an active voice in their local community to ensure the sustainability of local communities.
Other speakers included Keep Britain Tidy CEO, Allison Ogden-Newton and Caroline Silke from Tesco who spoke about the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ scheme that Groundwork is currently involved with.
The second round of Bags of Help funding opens on Monday 18 April – find out more here.
To find out more about how Groundwork is helping to inspire the future generation of young volunteers please click here.