You’ve done it… your votes have been counted and Alexandra Park is THE best park in the south east and now it will compete with other parks from across the UK for the title of UK’s BEST Park 2019.
Local people responded in their thousands to our story last weekend that Alexandra Park was in the running for a national award and needed the votes of local people to secure that prize. We’ll find out if it has taken the national title on September 12th.
While Alexandra Park has been chosen as the best park in the region seven other parks across the south east have been awarded the accolade ‘Much Loved’.
The award to Alexandra Park comes from Fields in Trust as part of its campaign to find the UK’s Best Park 2019. The nomination for the Hastings park identified the diverse range of facilities available in the including a ‘meandering stream, mini railway, lawns, woodlands, playground, bandstand and a café’.
The UK’s Best Park is organised by green space charity Fields in Trust who, for over 90 years, have provided legal protection to parks and green spaces ensuring they will always be available for future generations to enjoy.
A record 364 nominations were received for UK’s Best Park 2019, of which 33 were in the South East of England region. Those nominations were supported by park users, communities, ‘Friends of’ groups, and landowners and an unprecedented total of 36,832 votes were cast for parks and green spaces across the UK.
Fields in Trust is a UK-wide charity that since 1925 has been legally protecting parks and green spaces. The UK’s Best Park Award recognises the role that parks play in our communities, supporting mental and physical health and bringing people together. The charity is concerned that many parks and green spaces are under threat and are at risk of being lost to development or a cycle of decline and disappearance.
Fields in Trust recently published research which revealed that over 2.5 million people across Great Britain do not have local access to a park or green space and the South East of England region has more than 378,000 people whose nearest green space is more than ten minutes-walk from home.
With public sector cuts leading to pressure on parks and green spaces, there is the risk that a lack of legal protection could lead to more being sold off or developed. Yet these vital outdoor spaces deliver health and wellbeing benefits to those that use them regularly.
Fields in Trust research reveals that overall parks and green spaces contribute £34billion each year in health and wellbeing benefits to their regular users and save the NHS £111million each year simply in avoided GP appointments.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths said: “Congratulations to Alexandra Park and all the ‘Much Loved’ parks and green spaces in the South East region. We know that parks provide benefits to the physical health, mental wellbeing and community connections for people that use them.
“It is encouraging to see so many people celebrate how much they love their local parks. Fields in Trust is committed to protecting these vital parts of the UK’s community infrastructure for future generations to enjoy. We know that green spaces are good, do good and need to be protected for good.”