This morning Starbank Park welcomed special visitors as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or the Duke and Duchess of Strathearn as they are known in Scotland dropped in.
While there they learned about the work of Fields in Trust, who are running a pioneering initiative to reduce inequality of access to green spaces in the UK.
Their Royal Highnesses met with local volunteer gardeners, led by Chair of the Friends of Starbank Park, Janet McArthur, who work so hard on keeping the gardens as beautiful as they are, and have quite literally transformed the 125-year-old park over the last seven years.
They met other local people who use the space including local families, nursery groups and Duke of Edinburgh Award participants. The Duchess of Cambridge also dropped off a copy of Hold Still at the park’s little free library.
The Duke of Cambridge has been President of Fields in Trust since 2013, when he took the role on from his grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh, who had been involved with the organisation since 1948. Today, Their Royal Highnesses heard about the organisation’s Green Space Index, which is an annual barometer of green space provision and distribution across the UK, and heard from volunteers and families how crucial the park has been to the local community.
The Green Space Index is an analytical tool that identifies inequities of green space provision and consequently enables the planning and protection of green infrastructure that can help mitigate climate change at a local level.This year’s report has found that over 2.77m people live further than a 10-minute walk from a local park or green space and only 6% of all parks and green spaces are protected in perpetuity.
Starbank Park is protected by Fields in Trust and run by The City of Edinburgh Council. On the visit, The Duke and Duchess heard how the council have used the Green Space Index developed by Fields in Trust to ensure that almost all of the population are within a ten-minute walk of a protected park or green spaces.