#MyHomeMyPark is the latest campaign led by Groundwork's Youth Advisory Board. To introduce the campaign, YAB member, Dan shares his thoughts on why parks are so important to young people across the UK.
Parks are hubs in our communities that bring people together. We grow up with our parks – first we play, then keep fit, then socialise and find spaces to relax. There are over 400 parks in London alone, with nearly a thousand in greater London. Many people particularly in towns and cities are without the luxury of large gardens, whilst countless social clubs once a place of fun and congregation for young people have been closed down. This is why the outdoor greenspaces parks provide is so important to young people.
Each person will hold their own unique appreciation of what parks means to them. With numerous benefits to for any visitor, with positive influences on our social life, physical health and mental wellbeing. Yet, the heritage of our parks is at risk. With lack of funding, communities are increasingly taking the maintenance of parks into their own hands.
We want parks to be remain hubs of community activity and environmental action, especially for young people, so we have been working with Groundwork to create a campaign for young people to express what parks mean to them. Young people are the second largest group of parks users after families with small children, so it’s in your power to protect the spaces that matter to you!
What is #MyHomeMyPark?
#MyHomeMyPark asks young people to show us the different ways in which they use parks and what their parks mean to them by getting creative and taking part in our photo competition to win prizes.
We are also organising a number of outdoor youth pop-up spaces in parks around the UK to educate, inform and provide the opportunity for more young people to have a say about what happens in their parks and green spaces.
What do others think about their parks?
I recently went out into my local Parks, namely Norbury and Streatham Common park in Croydon and posed the question 'Why is the Park important to you?' to passers-by. Here are a few of the responses I received.
I mainly go for Football training and matches during the weekend, I also like hanging out with my mates to just chill. - Callum, aged 15.
I moved to London from the countryside in Kent. Growing up I loved going for walks and picnics but living and working in the city now, I use the parks to get some fresh air. I miss the countryside. - Katie, aged 31.
I love going to the parks to see nature, I get bored of seeing just pigeons so I go to the park to experience and connect with more wildlife. - Nathaniel, aged 22.
To play with my friends and also ride my new birthday bike. - Femi, aged 8.
I come here to practice my photography, I am creating a project at college and like the inspiration and photos I can get from the park. - Christiana, aged 18.
Personally, parks have always played an essential role throughout my life. Growing up in inner city London, having a park at my doorstep allowed me to focus heavily on sports as extracurricular activities, which was a welcomed distraction from the negatives of my environment. Parks have also strengthened my existing interest in wildlife, which is one of the reasons I now have a job in Environmental Science.
What are you waiting for? Enter the competition and remember keep an eye out for a list of youth pop up spaces celebrating all things parks and photos taking place in regions across the UK from 17 August onwards. If you’d like to organise a pop-up space with Groundwork Youth get in touch!
Watch this (green!) space - we are looking forward to seeing all of you in your parks soon.
By Dan, Groundwork YAB member.