ANTRIM Castle Gardens has been voted by the public as the Best Park in Northern Ireland in Fields in Trust’s UK’s Best Park 2019 awards.
The nomination identified that Antrim Castle Gardens has completed a transformation “… from local gem to national treasure” and recognised the “passionate team driven by ambition to put their place on the map”.
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 17 were in Northern Ireland.
Those nominations were supported by park users, communities, Friends of Parks groups, and landowners and an unprecedented total of 36,832 votes were cast for parks and green spaces across the UK.
In addition, two other parks in Northern Ireland have achieved “Much Loved” status, having been placed in the top 20% of all UK’s Best Park 2019 nominations throughout the UK.
The “Much Loved” status recognises the support of local people who use and love these parks and green spaces: Carnfunnock Country Park near Larne and Craigavon City Park.
Fields in Trust is a UK-wide charity that since 1925 has been legally protecting parks and green spaces in perpetuity. The UK’s Best Park Award recognises the role that parks play in our communities, supporting mental and physical health and bringing people together.
Fields in Trust research reveals that overall, across the UK, parks and green spaces contribute £34 billion 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 Antrim Castle Gardens and the other “Much Loved” parks and green spaces in Northern Ireland.
“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.”