Updated: Thursday, 21st February 2019 @ 6:15am

Greater Manchester's green spaces eligible to scoop Best Park award in national competition open to public

Greater Manchester's green spaces eligible to scoop Best Park award in national competition open to public

| By Hannah Molnar

The charity Fields in Trust is asking the public to nominate their favourite local park to win a national award.

Greater Manchester’s green spaces are all capable of scooping the UK’s Best Park gong if enough people throw their support behind one when voting.

Your favourite park may be a contestant because of its open and relaxing grounds or due to its active space for children.

It could even be that it’s plentiful with benches or picnic areas to enjoy your sandwiches and the occasional ray of sunshine.

Greater Manchester had five parks nominated last year out of 214 across the UK.

Ultimately, Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire, Scotland was named number one.

Richard McKeever, marketing and communications advisor for Fields in Trust, told MM: “It’s certainly possible that a Greater Manchester park could win the award.

“In fact, it’s possible that the winning park could come from anywhere in the UK.

The criteria for judging is not about the size of facilities or maintenance, it’s simply the most popular park judged by public votes.”

Mr McKeever added that the competition – now in its third year – receives a range of nominations, including small local playgrounds to large nature reserves.

He explained: “The thing that will determine the winning park is the public support for the nominated green space.

“Parks are an important part of a local neighbourhood, whether for play with the family, exercise and sport, a bit of solitary contemplation in natural surroundings, a picnic with friends or a community festival.

“Parks can be enjoyed in so many ways.”

REIGNING: Scotland's Rouken Glen Park won the award last year

He concluded that the best parks are those which are ‘cherished’ by the local community.

Mr McKeever said: “Parks are arguably our most universal public service, used by the whole community from pre-school children to retired adults.

“Yet they are not a statutory service, no council is obliged to provide parks and with pressure on land for housing and commercial development, parks and green spaces are increasingly at risk of loss.

“Once a park is lost it is gone forever.”

Fields in Trust will announce the winner at an awards ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on Wednesday, November 29.

At the launch of this year’s campaign, sports presenter Jacqui Oatley, who will be present at the event, revealed she is looking forward to being a part of the ceremony.

She said: “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.”

For the first time at the national level, Fields in Trust research shows the direct and statistically significant link between an individual’s use of publicly accessible parks and an improvement in health and wellbeing among the community.

The study shows that an individual’s wellbeing is highly improved by increasing their activity in local parks and it is recommended that people visit their favourite green area at least once a week. 

*You can nominate a green space for Field in Trust's Best Park HERE.

Image courtesy of Rachel Docherty via Flickr, with thanks.