Jillian Low, of the Arbroath Skatepark Project was presented with the Fields in Trust Community Champion award for 2015 at a Scottish Parliament reception on Tuesday December 8th.
Jillian decided to take action when her teenage son, a skater, had nowhere safe to practice his sport. She brought together local wheeled sports enthusiasts and led a campaign that secured funding and land in order to build a dedicated facility.
Her successful campaign gained support from her local community and a new skatepark was officially opened just over a year ago offering a safe space for all.
The Parliamentary Reception at Holyrood celebrated the 90th Anniversary of Fields in Trust. Founded by King George V in 1925, as the National Playing Fields Association, Fields in Trust is the only UK wide organisation working to safeguard and improve recreational green spaces. Fields in Trust's mission is the same now and as it was in 1925: to ensure that everyone – young or old, able-bodied or disabled and wherever they live – should have access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. These spaces are vital to building happy and healthy communities yet sadly continue to be threatened by all kinds of development.
The Parliamentary reception sponsored by Alison Johnstone MSP (Green, Lothian) heard from guest speaker, Jamie Hepburn MSP, (SNP Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health who said: "Ensuring people are more active and live longer, healthier lives are key priorities for Scottish Government. The work of Fields in Trust - protecting and improving the places where people get outdoors to play sport and relax - is a vital element of delivering these priorities. Congratulations on 90 years of protecting our parks, recreation grounds and sports fields for future generations to enjoy."
Former Scotland Rugby Union Captain Rory Lawson spoke at the Parliamentary Reception about the continued importance of grassroots sport and how how access to outdoor recreational space had influenced his personal experience playing sport at a young age. The celebration followed the announcement of Annual Awards celebrating the achievements of Fields in Trust and its partners, who have worked over the last year to ensure that everyone has access to protected outdoor recreational space.
One Award to Fields in Trust Community Champion, was presented at the Scottish Parliament event. This is given to individuals who have made remarkable contributions to their local outdoor spaces.
Award winner Jillian Low from Arbroath Skatepark said: "I am very grateful to Angus Council who nominated me for this award. The Arbroath Skatepark has been a shared project. The success is testament to our community - it has been supported by the young people who use the park, all those who have contributed to the fundraising and a very good working relationship with our local council. I do believe that with enough drive determination and staying power anyone can make a real difference in their local community".
Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust said: "We had a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our 90th year at an event in the Scottish Parliament with some of the partners and volunteers who have shown an outstanding commitment to our work. Our awards celebrate the important role played by landowners, local authorities, and many others, in protecting outdoor space, but celebrating our Community Champion is particularly heartwarming. If all parts of the country had champions such as Jillian our outdoor spaces would be better protected and always there to be enjoyed by everyone in the towns and villages that they serve."
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Hi resolution images of the event are available
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Fields in Trust is the operating name of the National Playing Fields Association
- Fields in Trust is a national charity founded in 1925 to improve the protection, provision and quality of outdoor recreational spaces for all communities in the UK
- Fields in Trust protects over 2,500 sites across the UK
- More than 200 parks, playgrounds and playing fields are secures forever across Scotland through Fields in Trust protection
- 2015 is the charity’s 90th anniversary
- HM The Queen has been Patron of Fields in Trust for 60 years
- HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was President for 64 years and was succeeded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge in 2013