Port Sunlight River Park, owned by the Land Trust and managed by Autism Together, won the Health Site of the Year award at the Land Trust managing agents’ conference and awards ceremony.
The award recognises a site which has taken action to create activities which will benefit both the health of the public and its volunteers, and Port Sunlight River Park beat over 23 organisations to win the prestigious award.
The park, which offers unrivalled views of the Liverpool skyline, has created numerous activities over the years to keep its users on the move. One initiative is its Big Bike Revival provided through Sustrans Hub. Sustrans, the cycling charity, provided 21 Learn to Ride sessions over 16 days, allowing over 114 young children to make real progress in their cycling.
The park also runs Health Walks during the week, which are open to the public and provide a social atmosphere while keeping fit. In the last year there have been 78 health walks, meaning more than 1365 hours of activity from 87 walkers.
Many of the walkers live alone and love the social side of the health walks. One local walker said, “
Walking does lift your spirits. I do the River Park, Eastham and Birkenhead Park Sunday walks. The Sunday walks fills my weekend. Exercise is good for you and must help keep the weight down. There’s nice people on the walks and it’s social in the fresh air. There’s also the social side with meals out and parties.”
The site is also accessed by many of Autism Together’s service users, either by helping out with the maintenance of the park of using it for exercise.
Anne Litherland, the park ranger at Port Sunlight River Park, said:
“I’m really pleased to have won the award. The site supports two weekly health walks and the leaders of those walks have also gone on to head up arranged walks in other areas of Wirral. The award also acknowledges the good work of Sustrans.”
The site has also recently won a Heritage Lottery fund grant of £450,000 to convert the site office into a heritage centre and provide more activities for the public.