Rupa Huq Seeking Votes!

For two local parks up for green space award

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The race for the UK’s Best Park is underway with the Ealing Central and Acton constituency receiving a double nomination. Local MP Rupa Huq is encouraging support for both Acton Park and Walpole Park for the award in a UK-wide competition organised by green space charity, Fields in Trust.

A total of 364 public nominations for parks and green spaces across the UK have been made – 45 in London – each one a much-loved part of its local community. She is only too aware of the importance of green spaces to the residents of Ealing Central & Acton and has been involved in a variety local projects in Acton and Walpole parks.

Dr Huq said: “Other MP friends of mine are chuffed to have just one contender for the UK’s Best Park; I’m lucky enough to have one apiece in Ealing and Acton. Both are outstanding and this double whammy is befitting for Ealing which is the London borough out of all 33 with the most green open spaces and parks.”

Last week, Dr Huq was in Acton Park to meet Vicky Barker, founder of the Acton Play Projects & Leisure Events (A.P.P.L.E.) project based in the park. Barker underlined the importance of the park to the A.P.P.L.E project: “A.P.P.L.E work with children and young people in Acton Park a small but beautiful and well used local green space. We make use of the park environment lending out bikes, skateboards, sports equipment, roller-skates and go-carts. We make art outdoors, we garden, and we cook. A typical Saturday afternoon will see about 40 kids out in the park playing football, skateboarding and hanging out with friends.”

Also there was Clara Widdison from the Mayor’s Fund for London which has supported the A.P.P.L.E project in its grant-giving. Widdison said,“The Mayor’s Fund for London is delighted to work with A.P.P.L.E., to deliver free holiday provision in Acton Park, ensuring that the park is an inclusive, open community facility that can be enjoyed by all young members of the local community.”

Over in Walpole Park, the MP recently attended the homegrown Ealing Blues festival where she enjoyed meeting local musicians in the birthplace of British Rhythm and Blues. Founded in 1987, the annual festival brings residents together to enjoy two jam-packed days of live music in the much-loved Walpole Park. The park also recently hosted its 30th Ealing beer festival, where Huq met with a range of local food and drink vendors at this popular annual event.

Nestled in the corner of this leafy setting is the recently restored Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery. Director Clare Gough said: “Walpole Park - the former parkland surrounding Sir John Soane’s country villa Pitzhanger Manor - is a beautiful park much enjoyed by both local residents and Pitzhanger visitors from further afield. We are delighted that it has been nominated for the UK’s Best Park 2019 by Fields in Trust.”

Gough added: “It has been thrilling to see Soane’s original vision of a dream home within a beautiful Regency landscape brought to life following our reopening this spring and to firmly establish Pitzhanger and Walpole Park as a heritage treasure and hub for the community.”

With two worthy contenders in her seat, Dr Huqis conflicted: “It’s an impossible choice. On the one hand you’ve got Acton Park with its great new skatepark, children centre and even crazy bowling. On the other, Walpole Park boats a stately home and hosts Summer festivals venerating beer, blues and jazz. Maybe in our house we’ll have to split votes down the middle!”

You can vote for your favourite park until noon on Monday 19 August. At the conclusion of voting the park with the most votes in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be shortlisted with the UK’s Best Park 2019 announced in mid-September.

August 11, 2019

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