The inaugural Fields in Trust Awards Ceremony was hosted by John Inverdale at Lords Cricket Ground on 29th November to honour landowners and individuals across the UK who have participated in the charity’s Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge led by its Patron, HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
Fields in Trust’s Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge is an initiative to mark the great events of 2012: HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It aims to protect as many outdoor recreational spaces as possible in perpetuity as a permanent, grassroots legacy in communities across the UK and has been generously supported by Asda and the Asda Foundation.
Awards were given in a variety of categories by presenters including Andy Barrow, captain of the Men’s Wheelchair Rugby Team in the Beijing 2008 Olympics and Martin Atkinson, Premiership Referee.
The City of Edinburgh Council and Caerphilly County Borough Council both received Landowner of the Year Awards for protecting the most sites as part of the Challenge. Competing against 12 Regional Finalists, The City of Edinburgh Council safeguarded an incredible total of 28 sites whilst Caerphilly County Borough Council topped the leader board with 1,139 acres protected in perpetuity.
The Awards also recognised the need to increase participation in sport as part of the wider Olympic legacy and rewarded Albert Road Recreation Ground in the London Borough of Haringey for their achievements in increasing activity in tennis and football for men, women and juniors and encouraging people to participate in basketball, running clubs, an outdoor gym and netball sessions.
The Most Improved Queen Elizabeth II Field Award was given to QEII Field Ashton Hayes in Cheshire for their fantastic efforts in transforming a fallow farmer’s field into a first class recreation site providing the local community with a play area, football pitch, orchard, outdoor gym and nature area.
Plainfield Farm Recreation Ground in Broadstone, Dorset was honoured for its outstanding Have a Field Day event to celebrate the newly protected status of the field which saw over 2,500 residents join in a community day full of activities and raised £4,000 whilst Gallagher Park in Bedlington, Northumberland received the Love Your Field Award following a month long online campaign to identify the nation’s favourite field.
Asda colleagues from 5 stores nationwide – Pilsworth in Manchester, Girvan in South Ayrshire, Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, Park Royal in West London and Walthamstow in North London - were rewarded for their fantastic fundraising efforts throughout the summer. The final Award was given to Peter Simmonet of Melbourn Parish Council in Cambridgeshire for his beyond the call of duty efforts to promote the programme in his region.
Alison Moore-Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust said: ‘Fields in Trust is delighted to showcase the fantastic work that has taken place across the UK to help the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge achieve success. The vital role played by local authorities, town and parish councils, friend’s groups and volunteers has been highlighted this evening and it is wonderful to be able to reward their efforts. Fields in Trust is proud to have secured a permanent grassroots legacy for communities to benefit from for generations to come through the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. We are grateful to all our partners for their generous help and support.’
Paul Kelly, External Affairs and Corporate Responsibility Director at Asda said: ‘Congratulations to all the award winners for the enormous contribution that they have made to preserving fields in their local communities for future generations to enjoy. Asda is committed to making the communities we serve better places to live and work so helping provide clean, green spaces for children and their families to play and relax is a cause that we are proud to support.’
Photos to follow