Fields in Trust (FIT) has launched this year's campaign to find the UK's Best Park, as voted by the general public. This unique award is open to all public green spaces across the UK through a simple online nomination. It might be a local park a neighbourhood playground or local nature reserve.
Nominations for the UK's Best Park open as new research from FIT 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) FIT has 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 29 November.at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.
FIT chief executive, Helen Griffiths, who has recently been appointed as a member of the government's 'Parks Action Group', an advisory panel convened by Parks and Green Spaces Minister Marcus Jones MP., 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 10 categories that together form the sixth, annual Fields in Trust Awards.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.