New research suggests young people would prefer local councils to invest more in local parks than youth clubs.
The research, commissioned by community environmental charity Groundwork suggests many young people recognise the benefits a local park could offer with 36% arguing local councils should spend any additional public funds available for youth services on them. In comparison, just 29% stated the funding should be spent on youth clubs.
The research, conducted by YouGov, also revealed that despite growing evidence highlighting the positive impact green spaces can have on the health and wellbeing of children and young people, nearly a third (32%) of young people from lower income families who have access to a local green space stated they never visit their local green space compared to 14% of young people from families with a gross household income of more than £50,000.
Additional online research conducted by Groundwork suggests a divergence in perceptions of young people’s willingness to volunteer in their parks and green spaces.
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Groundwork has a long history of helping councils and communities involve young people in making decisions and taking action to improve, develop and manage parks and green spaces. The national charity has launched a campaign to encourage young people to demonstrate their support for the issue.
The charity’s new social media campaign, #GiveUsSpace, is designed to young people to feed their views into a parliamentary inquiry on the future of public parks and green spaces.
Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s Chief Executive, said: "Green spaces can help children learn, stay fit and build a sense of adventure. We want to see young people of all backgrounds enjoying the benefits of green space and we’re particularly concerned that, as spending reductions continue, it will be the small, neighbourhood spaces that suffer as resources are focused on flagship historic parks.
"These are exactly the places where young people like to hang out and there’s a distinct danger that more of them become overgrown, unloved and unsafe. We would encourage councils, housing associations and volunteer groups who are working hard to maintain these vital assets to reach out to more young people so as to inspire the next generation of green space champions."
The Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry on the future of public parks and green spaces closes on Friday 30 September.
Young people across the country are being urged by Groundwork to share their views and thoughts on their local parks before the inquiry closes using the hashtag GiveUsSpace across Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
Groundwork’s survey of young people across Britain was conducted by YouGov from 1 September 2016 date to 6 September 2016.
To interview Graham Duxbury, Chief Executive, Groundwork, to find out more about the survey or #GiveUsSpace, please contact Garry Campbell, Communications Manager at Groundwork UK on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 237 5811 / 07703 535841.