Hello and welcome to our July blog which is all about our love of parks and green spaces!
Love Parks Week will run from the 23rd of July – August 1st 2021 and there will be loads of activities across the week to celebrate parks and green spaces. 2020-21 has really shown us the importance of our parks and of respecting nature. We, here at Open Theatre Company have realised, now more than ever, the importance of parks and in May we took part in the great British spring clean to help keep them tidy. During lockdown, we held a few events in parks and we connected with each other to offer support. We have even had a few picnics across the pandemic, complying with government guidelines. We wish to do more work outside in the open moving forward into the future. To honour our love of parks let us share with you a bit about the history of why this week was created.
Due to the industrial revolution cities in England had many people living in close proximity to their workplaces with not much green space in between. Parks were opened for public use in 1847 and Birkenhead Park in Liverpool is considered the first park expressly built for public use. Prior to 1847 in London Hyde Park, St James’s Park, Kensington Gardens, Green Park and The Regent’s park appeared and were all used publicly by the 1940s.
Now in its ninth year, Love Parks Week is the annual celebration of our countries’ fantastic green spaces. Birmingham has precisely 591 parks including Cannon Hill Park and Sutton Park and we hope to show you exactly how much we love them and how important they really are in the next paragraph.
The connection between nature and mental health and wellbeing
Research shows that there is a direct link between being in nature and improving health and wellbeing. In 2019 a study demonstrated a positive link between nature and mental health with at least one positive outcome in 51 articles that were reviewed. Nature can be seen to reduce anxiety and stress, boost mood and induce positive emotion such as happiness. This can be done by spending time with friends outside or by visualising positive outcomes in outdoor spaces. Further terms that were used to describe people’s experiences of being in parks and outdoor spaces were ‘psychological healing’, ‘stress-reduction, ‘restorative’, and ‘increased sense of well-being.
What you can do to celebrate the week
To celebrate our love of parks, there are a number of things that you can do;
- Visit your favourite park and tell us all about your experience there.
- Go and help clean your local park to preserve its beauty
- Write a letter to the government to explain why you’d like to see more parks and green spaces in Britain.
- You could even write a poem or song about your favourite park
Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to hashtag #LoveParksWeek2021 and let us know what you are up to in order to celebrate the week.
We look forward to hearing all about your outdoor adventures!
Until next time, keep safe, keep creative and enjoy your local parks. From us here at Open Theatre Company.
-Written by Madeleine Levy