Do you think that your local park, playground or playing field is the best in the country? Here's your chance to prove it. National charity Fields in Trust have launched this year's campaign to find the UK's Best Park, as voted by YOU! This unique award is open to all public green spaces across the UK through a simple online nomination. It might be that your local park is great for a Sunday afternoon stroll, your neighbourhood playground is a hive of activity for children, or a nature reserve provides a stress-free space to relax. This is your chance to help your favourite space gain the recognition it deserves.
In advance of hosting the Awards Ceremony, sports presenter and journalist Jacqui Oatley launched the campaign saying: "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."
Nominations for the UK's Best Park open as new research from Fields in Trust is published which demonstrates a direct and statistically significant link between publicly accessible parks and green spaces and health and wellbeing. Based on new analysis of existing data from Defra and Natural England and a new primary data (sample size 4,033) Fields in Trust have established, for the first time at the national level, a link between an individual's use of parks and greenspaces and an improvement in health and wellbeing (covering General Health and the four ONS wellbeing questions - life satisfaction, sense of worth, happiness and anxiety).
On average, the more frequently park or green space trips are made, the higher an individual's wellbeing. The most practical and effective use of an individual's time would be to visit their local park or green space at least once a week to gain most of the health and wellbeing benefits. This results in a recommended 'dosage' for parks and green space: if it is 'five a day' for fruit and veg then it is 'once a week' for parks.
UK's Best Park is a unique award open to all local green spaces across the UK. A simple online nomination form allows anyone to suggest their favourite local green space. This will be followed by a public vote with the winner announced at the Fields in Trust Awards ceremony on Wednesday 29th November.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths, was this week appointed as a member of the government's 'Parks Action Group', an advisory panel convened by Parks and Green Spaces Minister Marcus Jones MP. She said: "Parks and open spaces are arguably the most universal of all public services. They are used by the entire community from pre-school children through to retired adults - our nation's parks and green spaces are places to enjoy life experiences, whether that's reaching a personal sporting milestone, teaching grandchildren to cycle, engaging with nature, having a first kiss or simply walking a much loved dog. We want to ensure that we value parks and green spaces and take account of the vital contribution they make to local communities.
"Our Awards help recognise the role that our local parks play in our neighbourhoods, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that should be available to everyone. We want to celebrate all the much-loved green spaces and invite all park users to vote for their favourite."
The UK's Best Park award is one of ten categories that together form the sixth, annual Fields in Trust Awards. Winners will be revealed at Lord's Cricket Ground on Wednesday 29th November in an event which celebrates the achievements of individuals and organisations who have worked over the last year to ensure that everyone has access to protected outdoor recreational space.
Categories include the Community Champion Award and, supported by environmental regeneration charity Groundwork, the Young Champion Award. A new category for 2017 is for the Friends Group of the Year, which will celebrate projects with significant community participation in running or improving a park or green space.
Fields in Trust, the only national charity that safeguards recreational green space, want to recognise the role that parks play in our communities, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that everyone should be entitled to.
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