In this three-minute read, we look at the role parks play in keeping communities healthy and happy.
Over the past year, parks have been a source of joy and solace for people across the UK, providing a welcome antidote to the pressures of pandemic life.
Locally, parks such as Central Forest Park and Longton Park have been popular and helped keep us on an even keel during uncertain times.
Later this month, we’ll all have the chance to celebrate and support our favourite green spaces during Love Parks Week (23 July to 1 August).
The Keep Britain Tidy initiative encourages people to value the nation’s parks. The theme for this year’s event is Love, Respect, and Protect.
While parks provide us with many things – space to exercise, socialise, and ruminate – some members of the public behave inconsiderately when using them. One of the biggest bugbears for park lovers is litter.
CPRE, the countryside charity, found that during the first nine months of the pandemic, littering ‘occurred in new ways and different places’.
Discarded face masks, gloves, and wipes became familiar sights. Unfortunately, the longstanding foes of litter pickers – drink bottles, food wrappers, and cigarette butts – were also present in significant numbers.
Not only is rubbish unsightly, it can cause serious harm to wild and domestic animals. In 2019/20, the RSPCA recorded over 8,000 incidents of animals injured by litter. Common issues included animals choking on or swallowing plastic or getting litter wrapped around their necks, wings, or feet.
Here are a few ways you can support Love Parks Week.
- Always take your waste with you after a picnic or dog walk. As they say: ‘Make memories, not a mess’.
- If a waste bin in your local park is overflowing, report it to the council.
- Organise a litter pick in your local park or sign up for one that is already in the pipeline.
- If there is a community group already established to look after your park, join it. If there isn’t one, consider starting your own. The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces has lots of advice about how to get started.
- Think big and come up with a major project for your park. It could involve tree planting, creating a wildflower corridor, or getting new play or sports equipment installed. There are lots of grants available for community projects.
From all of us here at Belvoir Stoke-on-Trent, Leek and Biddulph, take care and have a lovely weekend.