Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire has been named UK's Best Park, as voted by YOU! 2016 at the Fields in Trust Awards Ceremony at Lord's Cricket Ground in London. The evening also saw nine other awards given out as Fields in Trust celebrated the achievements of individuals and organisations who have worked over the last year to ensure that everyone has access to protected outdoor recreational space.
Rouken Glen Park was named UK's Best Park after a search to find the country's favourite local green space. The East Renfrewshire park won the public vote ahead of three other shortlisted local green spaces to take the 2016 title. A total of 214 parks across the UK were nominated by park users with over 10,000 votes cast in the search to find the nation's favourite.
Castle Gardens in Antrim, Pontypool Park in Torfaen and Preston Park Rockery in Brighton had also been in the running for UK's Best Park and were named the best park in Northern Ireland, Wales and England respectively at the Awards Ceremony.
Amongst the other awards given out on the night were two which celebrate the efforts of those who go the extra mile to champion their local green spaces through encouraging others to get involved and enhancing the spaces for users. Julie Norman from QEII Park View Playing Field in Lytham, Lancashire was named Fields in Trust Community Champion whilst Toni Dixon was announced as the Fields in Trust Young Champion, an award supported by Groundwork, for her work with the North West Kent Countryside Partnership.
Awards also recognised the activities that take place on sites protected with Fields in Trust. The award for Best Athletics Project on a Fields in Trust Site, supported by England Athletics and parkrun went to East Harling Recreation Ground in Norfolk, whilst Maesteg Park in Swansea was awarded Best Play Initiative on a Fields in Trust Site. Best Have a Field Day on a Fields in Trust Site was won by King George V Playing Field in Barford, Warwickshire and the Getting Active on a Fields in Trust Site award was won by Brynmill Park in Swansea.
The evening also offered an opportunity to recognise those organisations who have gone the extra mile over the last year to advocate the work of Fields in Trust and to further its mission of ensuring 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. Glasgow City Council was named as Fields in Trust Local Authority Partner of the Year with five other local authorities across the country handed regional awards. The 'Friends of' Group Partner of the Year Award went to East Williamston Community and Hall Association.
Eight sites protected under Fields in Trust's Centenary Fields programme, finally, were showcased on the evening. Centenary Fields is working across the UK in partnership with The Royal British Legion to secure recreational spaces in perpetuity to honour the memory of the millions of people who lost their lives in World War I. Bailey Park in Monmouthshire, Belmont Park in Belfast, Belper Memorial Gardens in Derbyshire, Coronation Gardens in East Dunbartonshire, Hamilton Gault Park in Taunton Deane, Ilford War Memorial Gardens in Redbridge, Marshalls Park in Braintree and Weston Park in Sheffield were all recognised as Showcase Centenary Fields.
Speaking after the ceremony Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths, said: "The Fields in Trust Awards help recognise the role that parks and other green spaces play in our communities, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that everyone should have access to no matter where they live. We believe that as a nation it is time to revalue these green spaces and consider the positive impact they have on our physical, mental and social health and well being and the savings to the public purse they represent in terms of preventative medicine.
"Congratulations to all the sites and champions on their Awards tonight and thank you to all those outstanding individuals across the UK who go the extra mile for their local green spaces."
Fields in Trust is a national charity whose mission is 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.
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