The shortlists for this year's Fields in Trust Awards have been announced. Winners in nine categories will be celebrated at a ceremony on Wednesday 29th November at Lord's Cricket Ground in London hosted by sports presenter and journalist Jacqui Oatley.
For the third year the UK's Best Park, as voted by YOU! Award celebrates the nation's favourite park following nominations by the public of 360 parks and with over 15,000 votes cast.
Four local green spaces have been shortlisted: Craigavon City Park in County Armagh, Roath Park in Cardiff, Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire and Stanley Park in Blackpool. The overall winner and UK's Best Park 2017 will be announced on Wednesday 29th November.
- Craigavon City Park was described as "a great mix of lake, woodland, open green space, bike trails, water sports, paths for cycling and walking".
- Roath Park is celebrated as "a place for both young and old alike" - planting and historical features are supplemented by the opportunity for "ice cream or a cup of tea in the café".
- Rouken Glen Park – UK's Best Park winner in 2016 - makes a repeat appearance, identified as "a fantastic place for families to enjoy the outdoors".
- Stanley Park in Blackpool is packed with interest and described as "fabulous" and "the centre point of Blackpool" in its nomination.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: "The increased number of nominations, and large number of votes cast show just how much the UK's parks and green spaces are cherished by people who regularly visit them. At Fields in Trust our latest research shows a direct link between using parks and green spaces and positive health and wellbeing but, despite their clear health benefits, parks and green spaces are facing an uncertain future all across the UK. Cuts to local authority budgets are making it increasingly difficult to maintain these non-statutory services and this, coupled with continued development pressure, leaves our parks and green spaces in a vulnerable position. Recognising the UK's favourite parks is a way of highlighting their contribution to our communities. I congratulate the four shortlisted parks and wish them all the very best of luck at the Fields in Trust Awards later this month".
Awards host, sports presenter and journalist Jacqui Oatley said, "I am delighted to be hosting this year's Fields in Trust Awards and can't wait to hear stories of the fantastic work being done on green spaces across the UK".
The nominators of each of the four shortlisted local green spaces will be invited to Lords Cricket Ground to represent their parks at the Fields in Trust Awards on Wednesday 29th November, where the overall winner and UK's Best Park 2017 will be named.
Previous winners of the UK's Best Park Award were Telford Town Park in Shropshire, which won the inaugural vote in 2015, and Rouken Glen Park who won the 2016 Award and are again shortlisted in 2017.
UK's Best Park is one of nine awards that will be presented recognising and rewarding the efforts and achievements of green spaces and those who work to make them the best they can be. The other categories include:
- Friends Group of the Year
- Fields in Trust Community Champion
- Fields in Trust Young Champion, supported by Groundwork
- Best Have a Field Day
- Most Improved Fields in Trust site
- Getting Active on a Fields in Trust site (Team Sports)
- Getting Active on a Fields in Trust site (Individual Sports & Informal Activity)
- Best Play Initiative on a Fields in Trust site
Click here to view the shortlists in all nine categories.