Antrim Castle Gardens have been nominated for The UK’s Best Park Northern Ireland 2019 in a competition organised by green space charity, Fields in Trust.
Fields in Trust is a UK-wide charity that legally protects 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.
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’s research “Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces” shows that they deliver over £34 billion of direct health and wellbeing benefits to UK residents each year.
This means people who use parks regularly enjoy a greater life satisfaction including improved physical and mental health.
In addition, there is a secondary saving; regular park users have fewer GP visits saving the NHS £111 per year in reduced appointment costs.
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, Fields in Trust say.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth, said: “It is an honour to be nominated for this prestigious award and I urge the people of our Borough to get behind us and vote for Antrim Castle Gardens.
“This beautiful green space offers so much for the community, a place to walk, run, relax with family and friends or join in the range of events hosted at the Gardens.”
Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: “Our parks and green spaces are a vital part of UK community infrastructure.
“We know that they provide benefits to the physical health, mental wellbeing and community connections for people that use them, so we are delighted to see a record number of nominations for the UK’s Best Park award and it is encouraging to see so many people organising picnics with neighbours to celebrate how much they love their local park.
“Fields in Trust is committed to protecting these valuable and much-loved parks and green spaces for future generations to enjoy.”
Nominations for UK’s Best Park 2019 include small community gardens and large nature reserves, sports fields and playgrounds; each green space valued by its community and nominated by the regular park users who love to walk, run, cycle, relax, picnic and play with their children in the UK’s parks.
To register your vote for Antrim Castle Gardens see www.fieldsintrust.org/best-park/northern-ireland
Votes close on Monday 19 August at 12 noon.