- Sites in Merseyside, Ballymena, Edinburgh and Ystrad win £25,000 awards
The winning sites were chosen based on the ability to deliver the most significant impact in line with the Active Spaces programme vision: to safeguard green spaces for future generations and engage more inactive people in physical activity. Delivered in partnership with the Fields in Trust charity, Active Spaces is an ongoing programme to secure 50 new Fields in Trust protected sites across the UK and deliver improved park facilities and infrastructure.
Spearheading this initiative, four outstanding sites – one from each home nation (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) – were selected to receive a major grant of £25,000 to deliver its activation.
The winners are:
- England– Halewood Park: Knowsley Council on Merseyside are initiating a total redevelopment of this well used park including new cycle / walking / exercise routes, seating, safe woodland areas, diversifying wildlife habitats and creating an accessible entrance way. The project will enhance a vibrant green space which will encourage good health and physical activity.
- Northern Ireland – Ballymena People’s Park: Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will improve already popular walking trails within the park and create a trim trail, with the addition of outdoor fitness equipment manufactured from natural timber, to ensure Peoples Park retains its scenic environment along the paths and trails amongst the most beautiful areas of the park.
- Scotland– West Pilton Park: Edinburgh City Council will be installing an outdoor gym in this park in the north of the Scottish capital. The new gym will provide a focus for physical activity in the park, enabling groups to meet for exercise in their own time and at no cost.
- Wales – Gelligaled Park: Rhonda Cynon Taf County Borough Council in south Wales are undertaking extensive park improvements to encourage greater informal sport and active recreation including a ‘Learn and Burn’ trail, walking / running routes, bike trails, a family fun area and a wellness zone.
Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: “We know that parks and green spaces contribute to health and wellbeing; people enjoy greater life satisfaction including both improved physical and mental health directly as a result of regularly using parks and green spaces. We congratulate all recipients of these grants, which will contribute to happier and healthier local communities across the country.”
The Trust has allocated a total of £684,550 to the overall Active Spaces programme, which was announced in 2017 and will be delivered over several years. After each site is protected as an Active Space, it receives funding of £5,000 for a physical activity project that serves local needs and encourages sports and play.
The following Active Spaces sites have been selected to date:
- Belfast City Council is protecting Cregagh Green, an open space in the heart of a large housing development - the site where George Best was spotted playing football as a teenage “genius”. Future generations will now be able to enjoy outdoor sport and recreation on this historic pitch.
- Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has designated Gelligaled Park, Ystrad Rhondda as their Active Space; the council will be co-ordinating a physical activity programme for local residents in an area with the lowest levels of activity in Wales.
- Roskear Recreation Ground in Camborne, Cornwall is currently under-used yet serves an expanding community with few alternative opportunities for sport and physical activity. A new strategy will improve local facilities and attract all ages to become more physically active in this area where people who are worst off experience poorer health and shorter lives.
- In Kings Lynn, Norfolk, the River Lane Sports Pitches were earmarked for a new road and housing development but the local residents association campaigned for the council to safeguard this site with Fields in Trust ensuring access for recreation. Levels of physical inactivity in Kings Lynn are higher than both the regional and national average and a new programme is being developed to engage inactive members of the community.
- West Pilton Park is owned by the City of Edinburgh Council and located in an area of multiple deprivation. A physical activity “boot camp” run by Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust will work with the recently established park friends’ group to improve physical activity whilst building community connections.
- Mansfield District Council is protecting Forest Road Playing Fields in Nottinghamshire. The site is located in one of the 12% most deprived areas in England. Intergenerational sports coaching will support local families to enjoy sport and exercise together.
- Lynnsport in Kings Lynn, West Norfolk was protected by Fields in Trust to ensure ongoing recreational use for the local community. Active Spaces has made possible the Come Alive North Lynn family fitness programme, which was developed by Alive Leisure to increase physical activity opportunities for families in the North Lynn area, in particular among women, young people and people that generally live an inactive lifestyle