Prince William is to become Patron of The Queen Elizabeth II Fields, an initiative to protect and create hundreds of playing fields throughout the United Kingdom in honour of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The project, run by Fields in Trust, is an ambitious programme which will ensure that people across the country, both now and for generations to come, have access to outdoor recreational spaces for sport and physical activity.
Prince William’s Patronage of The Queen Elizabeth II Fields (which, in Scotland, will be known as The Queen Elizabeth Fields) will be a personal tribute to The Queen to celebrate Her Majesty’s 60-year-reign. The Fields will form a lasting legacy of the Diamond Jubilee.
The launch of The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge coincides with the London Olympics and the start of the ‘decade of sport’ in the United Kingdom, during which the country will host several high-profile sporting tournaments. Prince William is keen to support Fields in Trust’s ambitious initiative given that ready access to playing fields has been shown to help with community cohesion, reduce anti-social behaviour and improve health and wellbeing – all areas in which Prince William is committed, through his existing Patronages.
Prince William said:
“The year 2012 marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to my Grandmother’s 60 glorious years on The Throne than to dedicate to The Queen this programme that will save playing fields for future generations.
“The sad truth is that, over the years, thousands of playing fields have been lost to development, and many more are under threat today. For more than 80 years, the Fields in Trust charity has been working hard to combat this threat by protecting playing fields across the UK from development. There has never been greater need for their work.
“The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge is ambitious but much needed. It will require the support of sporting bodies, local authorities and, most importantly, the British people in local communities up and down the country. I am certain the Fields will bring lasting benefit to countless individual lives. Being able to play outdoors is a basic right of childhood. The Queen Elizabeth II Fields will guarantee that millions more children are able to enjoy that right both now and in the future.”
Alison Moore-Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said:
“Fields in Trust’s core vision is to ensure that everyone – whether they are young or old, able or disabled and no matter where they live – has access to outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. Access to these facilities is vital to ensuring our communities are robust and healthy – a health that is achieved not just through participating in physical activity but, equally importantly, by providing a sense of community cohesion.
“The 1,271 playing fields that we currently protect across the UK are often the green heart of the local area. Through The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge we want to bring this same benefit to even more communities. FIT has benefitted enormously from Royal Patronage since our foundation in 1925 and we are extremely excited to be working with Prince William to achieve this new goal.”
Notes to editors The Prince’s work with this organisation will also continue a long standing association between Fields in Trust (formerly the National Playing Fields Association) and The Royal Family. The Queen has been Patron of Fields in Trust for 58 years and the Duke of Edinburgh has served as President for 63 years.
The Patronage will be Prince William’s 16th Patronage or Presidency. A full list is available at www.princewilliamofwales.org.uk.
Fields in Trust has joined The Princes’ Charities Forum. The Forum is an initiative started by Prince William and Prince Harry in 2006 to bring together their charitable interests and explore how the charities round the table can support one another. For more information, please visit www.princewilliamandprinceharry.org.uk.
Fields in Trust (FIT) is the only independent UK-wide organisation dedicated to protecting and improving outdoor sports and play spaces and facilities. Fields in Trust want to make sure that everyone – young and old alike, and wherever they live - has access to outdoor recreational spaces. Through its work the charity currently safeguards over 1,260 sites - enough recreational space for more than 1.5 million people – and directly impact on communities all across the country.
Founded in 1925 as the National Playing Fields Association, the organisation has over 80 years experience and is the leading expert and trusted government advisor on all issues relating to playing fields.
All of FIT’s protected fields are locally managed and responsive to the individual needs of the community and FIT works alongside these communities to provide long-term assistance through technical, legal and fundraising advice.
For more information about Fields in Trust, please visit www.fieldsintrust.org