On the 8th July, also known as ‘National Have a Field Day‘, communities across the UK came together to celebrate and support local parks and green spaces.
The event is backed by Fields in Trust- a charity founded in 1925 to protect the access to „free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation“. The charity has worked tirelessly to protect the already limited amount of green spaces from being closed down due to building developments.
On National Have a Field Day, Fields in Trust got together with local communities to celebrate the value green spaces and parks add to the local communities and our everyday living. Events ranged from carnivals, sports competition,s musical performances and community picnics, which brought thousands of people together at their local green spots.
The purpose of the event is to use the green spaces for activities and clearly demonstrate their importance. The first publicly-funded park, Birkenhead Park, launched a new family programme, while other parks were appreciated by local runners.
The 2016 UK’s Best Park in Glasgow hosted a Children’s Nature activities to bring youngsters closer to the nature. Other parks celebrated by hosting sport events such as football training or tournaments.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths said, “Our parks and playing fields are used by whole communities from pre-schoolers to retired adults. Research helps us understand how a local park can contribute to its neighbourhood but the real value of a green space is determined by the local community who use it for play, sport and recreation. Each of the thousands of parks playing fields and playgrounds across the UK is valuable to the neighbourhood that it serves.”
A Communities and Local Government Parliamentary Inquiry has reported that public green spaces such as parks “contribute to preventative public health, mental well-being and community cohesion“. But green spaces are still jeopardised by the needs for building development and lack of funding, with ‘nearly 92% of local authority parks departments have experienced budget cuts in the past three years’, despite an increased number of visitors.
Research shows that visiting green spaces helps to improve mental wellbeing and the overall health of people in the UK. Improvements can be seen even with one visit a week. This clearly demonstrates the value of parks and can serve as an incentive for the local councils and governments to maintain local parks.
Fields in Trust Ambassador and author Bill Bryson said: “Britain has the most enchanting, abundant and often venerable parks and green spaces of any country I know. Wherever you are, you are never more than a few minutes from woods, greensward and fresh air. How splendid is that?“
Do you have a favourite local park? What makes it so special?