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Council’s love for parks initiative on UK shortlist

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An online campaign that helped to share Northumberland residents’ love for their local parks has been shortlisted for a national award.

Northumberland County Council put together the campaign last July and it has now been highlighted as one of the best in the UK by environmental campaign charity Keep Britain Tidy.

The Love Parks Award recognises an outstanding event or campaign run during Love Parks Week 2017. Entries were open to all local authorities in England and Wales.

The county council ran a social media campaign to highlight why residents and visitors love their local parks.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We wanted to promote the parks and the activities and other things that people can enjoy there to a wide audience across Northumberland and the wider region.

“We also wanted to support pride in the parks for those who work there and who visit and enjoy them.

“Local services staff and parks team members encouraged residents and visitors of all ages to show why they love their local park – having their photo taken with the Love Parks heart, or making a video clip.

“It is a great credit to our parks staff and communications team that the campaign has been commended by the judges as worthy of being on the shortlist for a national award.”

Pictures and videos were posted on social media throughout the week, building a colourful campaign that demonstrated the fantastic features of the 12 parks across the county which are managed by the county council, an area of Carlisle Park in Morpeth is pictured above.

It was primarily run through Twitter and Facebook, and the target audience was Northumberland residents and those who visit from the wider region.

Thirty three posts gained a huge 42,059 impressions on Twitter, the equivalent of 13 per cent of the population of Northumberland, and 845 people engaged with the campaign through ‘loves’, retweets, comments or other sharing or feedback.

On Facebook, seven posts and videos reached 146,855 people and were viewed 67,300 times. They were shared 316 times and 746 people reacted to them.

During the week, the council announced the confirmation of £2.3million National Lottery funding to enable comprehensive improvement works to take place at Hirst Park in Ashington and a video about the announcement was viewed 219 times.

The things that Northumberland residents and visitors said they love about local parks included enjoying flowers, plants and green spaces, watching wildlife and their provision of sport and leisure activities.

The winner of the Love Parks Award will be announced at the annual Keep Britain Tidy network conference in Brighton next week.