Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Get into your parks this summer! Active Parks spreads out across the city - Fox Hollies on the list

In 2013 Birmingham City Council launched a pilot programme in partnership with Birmingham Open Spaces Forum called the Active Parks Programme. The Active Parks pilot programme sought to demonstrate how much can be achieved by and for the health & well-being of local people in parks and open spaces. Working closely with Birmingham Open Spaces forum and Birmingham’s unique Friends of Parks Groups to create “Leisure Centres without Walls”, the programme to get people active and engaged in their local park was piloted in 5 Birmingham Parks, plus Edgbaston Reservoir. Activities took place in parks and green spaces giving people the opportunity to be active on their own doorstep and interact with the natural environment. They aimed to provide something for everyone including:
  • YogaBugs, Buggyfit (mums and tots); 
  • Park Fit and Community Fit (individuals and families, any fitness level);
  • Tai Chi (popular with older participants but surprisingly, data has shown sessions popular with all ages from 3-79yr olds!) 
  • Zumba (for all ages and abilities)
  • Rowing and Cycling (for all ages and abilities, getting people who would otherwise not have the chance to try rowing, get out on the local reservoir with a programme of support)
  • Walking and jogging (for all ages and abilities) 
  • Non-traditional physical activities that get people engaging with their green space – Bushcraft, Little People in Parks (rangers linking with local early years settings to bring them into parks for various activities) 
  • Volunteering – involving people in their local park and community has resulted in an increase in volunteering hours and an increase in social capital
We'll be expanding that programme this year and Coke Zero has agreed to support us as part of their commitment to invest £20m nationally by 2020 to encourage people to be more physically active. They'll be supporting 70 locations across the country and most of them will be in Birmingham. The multi-million investment will see Active Parks provided with hundreds of sessions of basketball, rush hockey, buggyfit and rounders - amongst other sports - with coaches, kit and equipment to promote activity outside during the summer months. 

Acocks Green isn't in the vanguard, but we should have activities up and running in Fox Hollies Park, the Stockfield Estate and Archbishop Ilsley in July at the latest. 

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