Flying the flag for a great park

Clay House Community Group

Clay House Park in West Vale is now proudly displaying a Green Flag after it was successful in receiving the award at the first time of trying. 

This achievement is the result of over three years of hard work to get the park looking its best, led by the Clay House Park Community Group with support from Calderdale Council. 

Malcolm Lumb, Adele Oswin and Sue and Richard Corney make up the Group, which formed in 2013 after they met at a Council’s Greetland and Stainland Ward Forum. They had a shared love of Clay House Park and felt it could be improved with more time and attention being spent on it. Together they started their mission to improve the look of the park. 

Calderdale Council’s Safer, Cleaner, Greener team listened to the ideas of the Group and understood and empathised with their concerns. They helped to guide and advise the group and shared their vast knowledge on ‘right plant, right place’. 

The first big project at the Park was the removal of all the overhanging ivy that was covering much of the formal terrace in front of Clay House itself. It was pulled and rolled down to the base of the terrace and the team removed almost a quarter of a tonne of green waste! 

Over the next 3 years, the Group met at the park every week and undertook a lot of hard work – weeds were removed from flagstones around the garden of remembrance, additional daffodils and a wide variety of other plants were added, all the herbaceous beds were weeded and the pergola was repainted. 

Funding for the works within the park has come from grants from the Greetland and Stainland ward forums and donations from local businesses. Calderdale Council has also provided funding for bedding plants in the top terrace gardens. The Group’s aim over the coming years is to continue to raise funds and support park improvements and developments.  

This summer, the park was visited and judged by the Green Flag Award judges and their feedback report was as positive as the group’s enthusiasm. Judges commented on the working relationship between the Council and the Community Group, describing it as “an impressive model of partnership working”. 

Judges from Yorkshire in Bloom also visited the park, with their results due out later this year. 

Adele Oswin, Chair of the Clay House Community Group, said:

“I’m so proud that our hard work has paid off and the Park has been awarded a Green Flag. The initial aim of the Group was to bring the park back to how we remembered it when we brought our children here over 30 years ago – achieving the Green Flag is above and beyond what we expected when we started. 

“We have worked very hard over the last three years, but we’re very grateful for the help we’ve received along the way. The work doesn’t stop now though, we’ll carry on working to improve the park and look forward to more achievements along the way.” 

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, Cllr Susan Press, said: 

“It’s a real achievement that Clay House Park has been awarded a Green Flag, and it’s particularly impressive that it was at the first time of applying. 

“I know a great deal of work has gone into improving the park and it’s a fantastic example of the Council working with volunteers and community groups to improve facilities in Calderdale. 

“We’re lucky in Calderdale that we have so many great parks, and Clay House is one of seven parks in the borough that fly the Green Flag.” 

The Clay House Park Community Group meet every Saturday at 1.30pm and if you have a spare hour they are more than happy for you to get ‘stuck in’.

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