The Fields in Trust Impact Report for 2020 was launched at our Annual General Meeting earlier this week, which provided an opportunity to reflect on both the importance of local parks during 2020 and the contributions of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to the charity.
Last year was one in which the value of parks and green spaces was widely recognised for the physical health and mental wellbeing benefits they contribute to regular visitors. For the first time our annual Impact Report is presented in a fully-online interactive format and it sets out how, despite the challenges of the pandemic, work to champion, support and protect the UK's parks and green spaces has continued.
As we celebrated our 95th anniversary, a further 31 parks and green spaces were protected for good in 2020, taking the total to 2,882 across the UK. Our website welcomed nearly 85,000 visitors with a record number of articles accessed in our Knowledge Base, as the pandemic saw more people go online to search for information about local parks. We also continued our policy work to champion the value of green spaces with the release of the second edition of the Green Space Index and an increase in the number of Members of Parliament taking our Parks Protector Pledge.
Welcoming the Impact Report, Fields in Trust Chair of Trustees, Jo Barnett, said: "Like many charities we have had to adapt our services, embrace remote ways of working and more digital dissemination like this year's online Impact Report. But I am pleased to say we have continued to make great progress with 31 new spaces protected during the year and significant progress made on our regional programme to work with Local Councils and deliver real change for their towns and cities.
"As normal life resumes, we must not forget how vital our parks and green spaces have been and that failing to protect them will be to our collective detriment."
The report was launched at our Annual General Meeting earlier this week, which was held online providing an opportunity for members who may not normally be able to attend the meeting to join and hear updates on our work. The meeting also welcomed Fields in Trust Vice President, Gyles Brandreth, who spoke to reflect and appreciate the work of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh who was President of the charity for 64 years.
We were joined at the AGM by Fields in Trust Vice President, Gyles Brandreth, who shared memories and anecdotes of our late President, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
Gyles, The Duke's friend and biographer, spoke about His Royal Highness taking on the role as President of Fields in Trust in October 1948 - his first national charity commitment - and shared memories and anecdotes from The Duke's involvement with Fields in Trust over the years. He served for over six decades, stepping down in 2013 to be replaced by his grandson, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, who remains as President today. The legacy created ensures that many much loved parks and playing fields remain available today for play, sport and the enjoyment of nature.
The AGM came just a month after TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched the latest Green Space Index at an event in Edinburgh, as part of their engagement with a range of charities focused on environmental issues ahead of COP26. The Index finds there are around 2.8 million people in Great Britain who live more than a ten-minute walk from their nearest park or green space. Areas with the least provision tend to be those with a higher incidence of deprivation - precisely the communities who benefit most from green space access.
Thank you to all our supporters, donors and fundraisers for their generosity during 2020, which helped our charity continue to do its vital work. We need your help to continue to champion the value of parks and green spaces, support them and ultimately protect them forever. By making a donation you will be playing your part in the green recovery and leaving a legacy for future generations.