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Issue:- Thursday, 13 October 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 7.

Search for the best Merseyside parks

UK wide charity Fields in Trust is seeking nominations from Merseyside for the UK's favourite local green space, selected by public vote. Do you think that your local park, playground or playing field is the best in Merseyside? National charity Fields in Trust have launched a campaign to find the UK's Best Park, as voted by YOU! This unique award is open to all public green spaces across the UK through a simple online nomination.  It might be that your local park is great for a Sunday afternoon stroll, your neighbourhood playground is a hive of activity for children, or a nature reserve provides a stress free space to relax. This is your chance to help your favourite space gain the recognition it deserves. Launching the awards Former England International footballer Graeme Le Saux said:- "The Fields in Trust's annual awards are a fantastic way for us to recognise the organisations and individuals who help make our parks, playgrounds and playing fields the best they can be. I was very fortunate that growing up in Jersey I had a huge amount of access to outdoor spaces and it was something I really appreciated as a youngster, not just because I wanted to be a football player but also because I was able to spend time outdoors with my friends. I understand the importance of these spaces and the opportunities they provide for our communities."

At a time when the UK's parks are seeing a dramatic reduction in funding for upkeep and maintenance and childhood obesity is identified as a growing concern, the UK's Best Park award will highlight the vital role of local parks and green spaces; for play, relaxation or sport; and help ensure they are protected from closure or building development. UK's Best Park is a unique award open to all local green spaces across the UK. A simple online nomination form allows anyone to suggest their favourite green space. This will be followed by a public vote with the winner announced at the Fields in Trust Awards ceremony on 30 November 2016.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said:- "Parks and open spaces are arguably the most universal of all public services. They are used by the entire community from pre-school children through to retired adults; our nation's parks and green spaces are places to enjoy life experiences, whether that's reaching a personal sporting milestone, teaching grandchildren to cycle, engaging with nature, having a 1st kiss or simply walking a much loved dog. Our Awards help recognise the role that our parks play in our communities, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that everyone should be entitled to. We want to celebrate them and invite all park users to vote for their favourite green space."

The UK's Best Park award is 1 of 11 categories that together form the 5th, annual Fields in Trust Awards. Winners will be revealed at Lord's Cricket Ground on 30 November in an event which celebrates the achievements of individuals and organisations who have worked over 2015 to ensure that everyone has access to protected outdoor recreational space. Categories include the Community Champion Award and, sponsored by Environmental regeneration charity Groundwork, the Young Champion Award. A new category for 2016 is for the Best Athletics Project on a Fields in Trust site supported by England Athletics and parkrun, which will celebrate projects which have increased community participation in running or athletics.

Fields in Trust, the only national charity that safeguards recreational green space, want to recognise the role that parks play in our communities, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that everyone should be entitled to.

Greens warn thousands of cyclists will be stranded

METRO Mayor candidate demands Merseyrail makes provision for cyclists during cross river engineering works Following the announcement that Merseyrail cross-river services will be stopped during improvement works, Liverpool Green Party Leader and Metro-Mayor hopeful, Councillor Tom Crone, has raised concerns that thousands of commuter and leisure cyclists will be stranded when the works start in January 2016. "I've heard from worried cyclists who use the excellent rail facilities on a daily basis to cross the river that they don't know what will happen in the new year. It seems that Merseyrail are to rely on the ferries as a substitute, but they are expensive and do not run at all times of day as the trains do. They are subject to cancellations as happened just this week. People are worried they will end up stranded on the wrong side of the river from where they need to be' said Cllr Crone. Merseyrail state that cyclists should leave their bikes at home, unless they are needed to travel to a rail station and have said that the rail replacement busses cannot carry bikes. That just isn't good enough; cyclists have got used to the idea of crossing the river for work and leisure and they should receive proper help in doing that when rail is not an option. Merseyrail need to be bold and imaginative here, looking at options such as bus trailers for road based solutions. Whilst we warmly welcome these improvement works, and applaud Merseyrail for their continual investment into the rail network, we need to be sure that the right support is given to all commuters throughout this lengthy period, whether that is cyclists, or indeed people with accessibility needs who use the train regularly too."

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