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 a 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 at www.fieldsintrust.org/bestpark. 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.
Launching the awards Former England International footballer Graeme Le Saux said "The Fields in Trust's annual awards are a fantastic way for us to recognise the organisations and individuals who help make our parks, playgrounds and playing fields the best they can be. I was very fortunate that growing up in Jersey I had a huge amount of access to outdoor spaces and it was something I really appreciated as a youngster, not just because I wanted to be a football player but also because I was able to spend time outdoors with my friends. I understand the importance of these spaces and the opportunities they provide for our communities."
At a time when the UK's parks are seeing a dramatic reduction in funding for upkeep and maintenance and childhood obesity is identified as a growing concern, the UK's Best Park award will highlight the vital role of local parks and green spaces - for play, relaxation or sport - and help ensure they are protected from closure or building development.
UK's Best Park is a unique award open to all local green spaces across the UK. A simple online nomination form, open from 23rd September will allow anyone to suggest their favourite green space. This will be followed by a public vote to identify a shortlist with the winner announced at the Fields in Trust Awards evening on 30th November.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths 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.
"Our Awards help recognise the role that our parks play in our communities, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that everyone should be entitled to. We want to celebrate them and invite all park users to vote for their favourite green space."
The UK's Best Park award is one of eleven categories that together form the fifth, annual Fields in Trust Awards. Winners will be revealed at Lord's Cricket Ground on 30th 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, sponsored by Environmental regeneration charity Groundwork, the Young Community Champion Award. A new category for 2016 is for the Best Athletics Project on a Fields in Trust site supported by England Athletics and parkrun, which will celebrate projects which have increased community participation in running or athletics.
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.
You can find out more about the work of FIT by visiting www.fieldsintrust.org