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Mayfield Park, Manchester’s newest city centre public park, is leading the way to a healthier future by pledging today, on World No Tobacco Day (31 May), of its intention to become a smokefree space in June.

The new 6.5-acre park which opened in September 2022, has quickly established itself as a popular destination for people of all ages and is the first green space in Greater Manchester to champion the city region’s plans to create more smokefree spaces.

In 2021, Greater Manchester joined the prestigious Partnership for Healthy Cities network – an initiative supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Vital Strategies – and was awarded a grant to create more outdoor smokefree spaces in 2023 and beyond.

Greater Manchester’s local authorities, landowners, and community groups have worked together to create several smokefree spaces and events, in turn helping to protect residents and visitors from the serious and life-threatening illnesses caused by tobacco. Spaces include children’s play areas and school gates, as well as smokefree Pride events.

Extending smoke-free outdoor spaces has already garnered significant support from people in Greater Manchester. In 2018, almost 8 in 10 people (78%) agreed that extending smokefree spaces is a good idea, and they were particularly concerned about the impact of smoking on children and young people. When asked which outdoor spaces should be smokefree, the public favoured children’s playgrounds (93% in favour), school entrances (92%), outside public libraries and town halls (72%), public parks (65%) and outdoor events (60%).

Laura Percy, Development Director, at LandsecU+I, which is leading the regeneration of Mayfield on behalf of the Mayfield Partnership, a public-private partnership, said: “Going back to the Industrial Revolution Mayfield was a place of pioneering innovation and in creating Mayfield Park we not only looked to celebrate this, but also established a path to a cleaner, greener future for present and future generations of Mancunians to enjoy.

“We’re delighted to continue to pioneer a better city here at Mayfield. We are very proud to be part of the Greater Manchester community and to have joined this initiative. The park offers a beautiful space in the heart of the city for people to enjoy with many benefits to their health and wellbeing.

“Becoming a smokefree park is a natural step that will only create a more enjoyable experience for many of our visitors and staff, as well as protect the park’s wildlife, waterways, and biodiversity.  We will be working closely with Manchester City Council and NHS Greater Manchester to encourage and support people to refrain from smoking within the park when we go smokefree next month.”

Paul Dennett, Chair of Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership Board and Deputy Mayor for Greater Manchester, said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illnesses and death and in Greater Manchester we are committed to making smoking history to improve the health and wellbeing of our population.

“There is significant support from members of the public to create more smokefree spaces, driven particularly around concerns to protect everyone from the very real risks of second-hand smoke, and to promote healthier behaviours that will prevent young people from ever starting to smoke.

“We are thrilled that Mayfield Park recognise the importance of protecting our communities from the harms of smoking and that they are the first green space to sign up to this initiative.

“We’re now encouraging other outdoor spaces to join Mayfield Park to help us create a smokefree city-region.”

Sarah Price, Chief Officer for Population and Inequalities and Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said: “We commend Mayfield Park’s decision to champion a healthier smokefree space to be enjoyed by children and families. As one of the greatest drivers of health inequalities, Greater Manchester has made enormous progress over the past few years to tackle tobacco harm and the impact of smoking across our most disadvantaged communities.

“As part of our commitment to achieving a smokefree Greater Manchester by 2030, we continue to advocate for healthier, smokefree environments, and welcome Mayfield Park as the most recent example of a cleaner, greener, healthier city region.”

 Councillor Thomas Robinson, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Health and Social Care added: “We’re proud to say that Mayfield Park – our fantastic new park in the city centre – will be the first outdoor public park in Manchester to become smokefree as part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities work.

“Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable disease in Manchester and cigarette litter causes significant damage to the environment, so it is brilliant news that visitors will be able to enjoy this wonderful, outdoor green space in a smokefree setting. Communities across Manchester are committed to showing children and young people that smoking is not the norm and helping existing smokers to stop by keeping places and spaces smoke free. We hope that this is the first of many smokefree public spaces for people to enjoy in the city.

“We’re a city of firsts, so I know that together Mancunians can and will deliver this ambition – because we know it’s the right thing to do. It’s also part of the aims of the Making Manchester Fairer programme which tackles health inequality and early preventable deaths.”

Greater Manchester’s plans to create more smokefree spaces is supported by the Partnership for Healthy Cities – an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organization and Vital Strategies.

Ariella Rojhani, Director, Partnership for Healthy Cities. said “Smokefree public spaces are the centrepiece of healthy and safe cities. We’re delighted that Greater Manchester has taken this next important step to creating healthier outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy. We commend Greater Manchester NHS, Manchester City Council, and Mayfield Park for this outstanding move forward.”

For more information on Mayfield Park visit