Five local parks in the running for prestigious ‘Best Park’ award

The People's Park in Ballymena is among seven sites in Northern Ireland competing for the prestigious Best Park Award.
The People's Park in Ballymena is among seven sites in Northern Ireland competing for the prestigious Best Park Award.

Five local parks are among seven sites in Northern Ireland competing for the prestigious Best Park Award.

National charity Fields in Trust are looking for Northern Ireland’s Best Park, as voted by YOU! through a public vote.

The seven shortlisted sites in Northern Ireland are The People’s Park in Ballymena, Marine Gardens in Carrickfergus, Carnfunnock Country Park in Larne, Cloughmills Bio Park, Castle Gardens in Antrim and also the Waterworks Park and Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, Belfast.

Between now and November 9, the best park in Northern Ireland will be chosen via an online public vote at www.fieldsintrust.org/bestpark/london representatives of the park with the most votes will be invited to attend the prestigious Fields in Trust Awards at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London at the end of November where the UK’s Best Park, as voted by the public, 2016 will be named.

Across the UK nominators include triple gold medal winning Olympian Pete Reed, cricketing legend Sir Geoffrey Boycott, and Welsh sporting all-rounder Non Evans; even one MP has put a park forward for the public vote, but most of the 200 sites were chosen by the regular park users who love to walk, run, cycle, relax, picnic and play with their children in the UK’s parks.

Fields in Trust is a national charity that operates throughout the UK to safeguard recreational spaces and campaign for better statutory protection for all kinds of outdoor sites.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: “We want to celebrate the parks and green spaces which are so vital to the communities that use them.

“A good park is reflective of the community it serves, but, as they are not a statutory service for local councils to provide, these much loved places are increasingly under threat of being lost to development.

“Recognising the UK’s Best Park is a way of revaluing our green spaces; not viewing them just as a drain on resources for maintenance and upkeep - but seeing what benefits they bring; access to good quality recreational space can contribute to the physical and mental health of their local population and provide places for people to get together for community events,” said Helen.

The United Kingdom’s Best Park Award will see the park with the most votes in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland shortlisted and nominators invited to attend the prestigious Fields in Trust Awards at Lord’s Cricket Ground in November.

Fields in Trust legally safeguards over 2,600 parks, playing fields, playgrounds, recreation grounds and other open spaces throughout the United Kindgom – a total of 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres).