Dr William Bird, Practicing GP and Founder/Director of Intelligent Health put things into perspective, “Chronic stress is now being associated with cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and depression – all the diseases western societies are struggling with. A better environment, a society that connects people and gives them a sense of place and purpose are natural remedies for this. Parks and green spaces obviously provide this remedy, but until we actually invest in our green spaces the way we do traditional health care, we’re never going to see these spaces reach their full potential to keep this nation healthy. Replacing green infrastructure with grey is detrimental to everyone.”
If a park is underfunded, the local community, environment and economy cannot reap the benefits from it. Visitors will not feel safe, relaxed or inspired; it may attract crime, become unsightly and intimidating. This is when a park becomes unhealthy and at risk. Think about your closest park – is it easily accessible, attractive, and welcoming? Is it well maintained, safe and secure? Is it vibrant and full of life? Do you think it’s a hub for your community? These are the questions the Park Health Check by the awareness-raising campaign Love Parks Week wants to answer. By rating these essential park qualities, anyone can reveal the overall health of their park and understand if it is at risk.
“We know what a ‘quality’ park looks like, but what we’re aiming to achieve with our Park Health Check is to evaluate quality by perception rather than definition. How people actually feel about their local space? It also aims to educate people; highlighting what parks provide to their community/life or indeed what they could do to improve it and keep it healthy,” says David Tibbatts from organising parks charity GreenSpace.
He adds, “We don’t want people having to take a bus to a park because they don’t feel safe in the one they have on their doorstep; we don’t want children growing up with no memories of playing in their local park, meeting friends etc. We don’t want people feeling isolated, disconnected from their community – everyone needs easy access to quality, healthy, thriving green space near to their place of living. Let’s not by-pass parks.”
How healthy is your park? Is it at risk? Take the simple two minute Park Health Check, run by the awareness raising campaign Love Parks Week. www.loveparksweek.org.uk/your-park
Last updated on: 15/03/2012 12:19:26