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Countess of Chester Country Park wins health initiative award

Recognition for park at Horticulture Week Custodian Awards

Ian Kendall, estates manager for the North-East and Yorkshire at the Land Trust, director of portfolio management at the Land Trust Alan Carter and Lord Michael Heseltine(Image: The Land Trust)

The Countess of Chester Country Park has been recognised at a national awards ceremony for helping the city’s residents get out and active.

The 19 hectare park, next door to the Countess of Chester Health Park, was named Best Community Health Initiative at the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards.

Owned by national land management charity the Land Trust and maintained by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), it is close to residential areas and less than a two-mile walk from the city centre.

Made up of green open space, wetlands and forest, it is ideally placed to bring the health benefits of the outdoors to a wide range of people.

The Countess of Chester Country Park has been named Best Community Health Initiative(Image: The Land Trust)

A ‘Health for Life’ project commenced in February last year when TCV appointed Alistair Cook as project officer to promote healthier and more active lifestyles for people of all ages and abilities.

The project is supported by a funding partnership involving the Land Trust, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council and the Mersey Forest.

This has allowed numerous activities and programmes to be offered at the Country Park, including a weekly programme of TCV-led Green Gym practical volunteering sessions, buggy walks, Nordic walking, health walks and a ‘walk to run’ course.

Chester parkrun began in summer 2016 and attracts an average of 230 participants every Saturday morning, and hospital patients and staff benefit from activities at the park as part of their treatment plans and wellbeing at work.

Alan Carter, director of portfolio management at the Land Trust, said: “It’s fantastic that our health programme at the Countess of Chester Country Park has been recognised in this way.

“We’re seeing more and more people using their local green space to walk, run or cycle, and hearing all sorts of positive feedback about the difference getting outdoors and active is making to people’s mental and physical wellbeing. Our thanks go to all our partners who help make the Country Park such a valuable asset for the whole community.”

Andy Styring, CWP Director of Operations, added: “The Countess of Chester Country Park is of huge benefit to the people who access our services, as it allows us to provide them with the person-centred care that they deserve. It is also a great resource for our local community and a deserving winner of this award.”

The country park was also shortlisted in the Healthcare Transformation Awards recently, in the Improving Patient and Community Engagement category.

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