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Urban Green announces Carol Pyrah as new Chief Executive


Urban Green Newcastle, the charity responsible for the management of Newcastle’s 33 parks and over 60 of its allotment sites, has announced Carol Pyrah, Executive Director of Historic Coventry Trust, as its new Chief Executive.


Carol brings a wealth of experience in the charity, heritage and conservation sectors having held senior positions at both English Heritage and Historic England.


Her new role at Urban Green Newcastle marks a return to the North East for Carol, who spent more than 15 years working in the region before moving to the West Midlands to head up Historic Coventry Trust.


Jim Beirne MBE, Chair of Trustees at Urban Green Newcastle said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Carol Pyrah as our new Chief Executive. Carol will be familiar to some as she spent a considerable time in the North East working as a senior figure within Historic England and English Heritage. 


“She is currently the Executive Director of an entrepreneurial heritage development trust, Historic Coventry Trust, which has restored a new visitor attraction in the city, and created a 70-acre Heritage Park that includes two miles of the River Sherbourne Valley, as well as areas of woodland, and former allotments.


“Carol is driven by a love of place; landscapes and buildings alike; and the Trustees and staff of Urban Green Newcastle are excited to be working with her.”


Urban Green Newcastle was established as an independent charity in April 2019 and is responsible for the management, restoration, development and protection of the city’s parks and allotments for the benefit of people today, and future generations.


Carol replaces former Chief Executive James Cross, who helped form the charity and led it through the coronavirus pandemic.


Carol Pyrah, incoming Chief Executive of Urban Green Newcastle, said: “I am delighted to be joining Urban Green Newcastle at this exciting stage in its development and to be returning to the North East.


“If the pandemic taught us anything, it is the value of our local green spaces to the health and wellbeing of local communities. I am looking forward to leading the work to ensure that Newcastle’s parks and allotments are healthy, safe, welcoming places to be, and havens for biodiversity.”


As Executive Director of Historic Coventry Trust – a charity responsible for bringing new life to Coventry’s heritage – Carol led the organisation from a volunteer, trustee-only structure, to a sustainable, staffed organisation looking after a portfolio of 22 historic buildings and landscapes in the city, marking one of the largest public asset transfers to a heritage charity in the country. The Trust also managed a £25M capital programme for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.


Prior to joining Historic Coventry Trust, Carol was Assistant Director of Planning at Historic England, working across the North West, North East, Yorkshire and West Midlands.


Since its formation in 2019, Urban Green Newcastle has planted more than 5,000 trees across the city, surpassing its original target.


The charity has also been successful in doubling the number of Green Flag Awards presented to the city’s parks, and aims to secure Green Flag Awards for all 33 of Newcastle’s parks by 2026.


Urban Green Newcastle has generated £750k in grant income to support biodiversity projects in the city and across the wider region. A £697,800 grant from government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund is helping create a network of 45 nectar-rich public sites as part of the Beelines North East project with Northumberland Wildlife Trust. The project aims to plant 2,500 trees, 25,000 bulbs and create 18 hectares of grassland to support pollinators in the region.


The charity also launched its first commercial ventures in 2021, Urban Green Café. All the profits raised through the new café and community spaces in Exhibition Park and Paddy Freeman’s Park will be reinvested into the city’s green spaces, ensuring they remain safe, clean and vibrant places for people to visit.


Urban Green Newcastle’s commitment to work in partnership with local communities has seen the creation of new volunteering scheme, Urban Green Clean, and a new board committee, Urban Green Connect, that represents the people of Newcastle and advises Urban Green Newcastle about how to best consult and test thinking with people in the city.


Carol Pyrah officially joins Urban Green Newcastle in July 2022.


For more information about Urban Green Newcastle, visit www.urbangreennewcastle.org.