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Loving your parks – whatever the weather

30 July 2015

This week is Love Parks Week, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our green spaces. But as Sarah French of Keep Britain Tidy explains, a park isn’t just for summer…

Friday 24 July saw Love Parks Week kick off with a launch event at Valentine’s Mansion and Gardens in Ilford. As you may remember, that day also saw a “month’s worth of rain” across some parts of the country.

LPWlaunch1It was raining as we arrived at the park and pouring as we left, but that didn’t dampen our spirits or those of the local ‘Friends groups’ at the event. Six community groups from local Redbridge parks (Seven Kings Park, South Park, Valentines Mansion, Hainault Forest Country Park, Elmhurst Gardens and Wanstead Playground) supported the event and told visitors all about their work.

These groups, like thousands of others around the country, are used to working in their parks come rain or shine. As several of the group members cheerfully put it, “the gardens can really do with the rain”. We celebrated the groups’ enthusiasm and commitment to their spaces with a presentation of certificates, Love Parks plaques, and a cream tea.

The rain definitely didn’t put off the children who came along; clad in wellies and waterproof-onesies they loved splashing in the rapidly growing puddles. It reminded me of an old saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Many of my happiest childhood memories were of parks in the rain … wellies, puddles and mud.

It’s easy to enjoy our parks on warm, sunny days but maybe we need them even more on rainy days? As one mum said to me on Friday, “I just had to get the kids out of the house or it would have been chaos later.” When the world seems grey and wet, green spaces can help lift our spirits. It was clear from the faces of the gardens’ regular walkers that a bit of a shower wasn’t going to stop them enjoying “their park”.

Love Parks Week runs until the 2 August, but it’s a year round campaign aimed at protecting, improving, and promoting green spaces. You can find out more at www.loveparks.org

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 July 2015 8:15 am

    Can you please explain what the Big Lottery Fund is currently doing to improve green spaces in th UK and what plans you have for the future?

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      31 July 2015 12:15 pm

      Hi Pete, thanks for your comment.
      Since 2006, Big Lottery Fund has invested over £350 million in environmental initiatives across the UK through several projects.

      Parks for People is a joint initiative between the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund, which awards grants of between £100,000 and £5 million to revitalise historic parks and cemeteries.

      Rethinking Parks is a joint initiative between Nesta, Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund that is funding 11 projects exploring new ways to use, manage and make the most of the UK’s public parks. It is developing and testing new business models, management tools and partnerships to create a more sustainable future for the way parks are used and maintained in the future. More detail on the projects available here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/news/rethinking-parks-funded-projects

      We’re also funding the Keep Britain Tidy/Love Parks project, which aims to strengthen the role that local voluntary community groups/friends of groups can play in their local parks.

      Early next year, we will be launching a programme called Our Environment Our Future, which will see young people working to improve their local environment at 31 projects across the UK early. More information here: http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/ourenvironmentourfuture

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