July 3, 2015
Hundreds of holiday and residential parks which reach out to their local communities will be put under the spotlight in this year’s David Bellamy Conservation Awards.
With assessments for the 2015 accolade winners now coming in, scheme organiser Rufus Bellamy says he is keen to celebrate parks acting as “good neighbours”.
Early feedback from assessors, he reports, suggests that a whole raft of initiatives are now making a very real difference to many peoples’ lives around the country.
They range from parks opening up their grounds for school nature projects and wildlife discovery walks to those organising litter-picking projects and beach clean-up operations.
Other examples include parks becoming involved with local sports and arts organisations, and even hosting live theatre and musical performances in their grounds.
There are also award-winning parks extending life-line to their local community by having a defibrillator sited on their site with staff specially trained in its use.
But where parks especially excel, says Rufus, is in charity fundraising which provides a massive boost to many good causes, often locally-based, throughout the UK.
Here, comments Rufus, parks have proven themselves to be particularly enterprising with business owners and staff taking part in a host of different sponsored events.
These range from bike rides and marathons to taking on a tough Royal Marine assault course, braving Europe’s longest zip-wire, and driving an old banger across Europe.
One park donates tents abandoned by guests to a charity working in Africa, and another provides free holidays to needy families for every one hundred bookings it receives.
“The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme does, of course, put a major emphasis on how parks work to protect their natural environment,” said Rufus Bellamy.
“However, the scheme also highlights those which engage with their local community because this, in our view, demonstrates that the park is taking a holistic view of its business.
“This year, our assessors have uncovered many fantastic new initiatives which we’ll be using to underline just how many ways there are for parks to reach out,” said Rufus.
The names of the 500-plus parks expected to receive David Bellamy Conservation Awards this year at gold, silver and bronze levels will be announced in September.