Is there anywhere more wonderful than a local park? Free to use and enjoy, parks offer us a place to walk, whether we have a dog who needs exercise, or if we just want to enjoy the fresh air. They are a place to kick a football, throw a frisbee or have a picnic. In Autumn you can enjoy the beauty of the falling leaves, in snowy Winter you can build a snowman or have a good old snowball fight. As I said at the start of this post, is there anywhere more wonderful than a local park?
So you might be surprised to hear that new research, conducted as part of the Parklives initiative delivered by Active Parks Birmingham in partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain, , has found that, in Birmingham, almost one third of families struggle to think of activities they can enjoy together in their local parks and green spaces. Furthermore, whilst 77% of parents and grandparents believe that a park is the perfect way to bring families together, 58% (3 in 5 families) don’t believe they make enough use of their local parks.
Since it was launched in 2014, the ParkLives programme has been aiming to change all this by offering a huge range of free and fun activities for families across the city. Parklives is focused on creating and sharing new ideas for making best use of local green spaces. From Tai Chi, Nordic Walking, tennis and Zumba, there are a whole range of activities taking place in 43 parks across Birmingham, all free of charge, all led by a locally trained activity leader and talking place every week throughout the Autumn. You can find a list of activities and the parks involved here.
One interesting piece of information that the research highlighted was that 72% of respondents claimed that being in the park with their family would make them happier. The Parklives programme, which is part of Coca-Cola Great Britain’s commitment to invest £20m between now and 2020 in programmes to encourage and support people to be physically active, offers families and individuals lots of new opportunities to utilise their local park.
Liz Lowe, ParkLives lead at Coca-Cola Great Britain, said: “It’s no surprise to see just how valued local parks are to families within Birmingham. With the days starting to get shorter and the new school term underway, it’s really important that families stay active together whenever they get the opportunity – the local park is the perfect place to do this. We know it makes everyone in the family happier so it’s really important that we make parents and grandparents aware of the free activities – for all ages and abilities – going on right on their doorstep in Birmingham’s parks and green spaces.”
To find out more about Parklives, visit the website at http://beactivebirmingham.co.uk/active-parks