In this three-minute read, we look at the role parks play in keeping Exeter communities healthy and happy.
Since the pandemic hit, parks have been a source of joy and solace for many people across the UK, providing a welcome antidote to the pressures of lockdown, confinement, home schooling and the worries and stress of pandemic life.
Locally, parks such as Heavitree Pleasure Gardens (pictured above and set to get an exciting make-over), King George V Playing Fields at Countess Wear and Bury Meadow, Bull Meadow and Rougemont Gardens – all right in the city centre, have been popular and helped keep many of us on an even keel during uncertain times.
Later this month, we’ll all have the chance to celebrate and support our favourite Exeter green spaces during “Love Parks Week” (23 July to 1 August).
The “Keep Britain Tidy” initiative encourages people to value the nation’s parks and the theme for this year’s event is Love, Respect and Protect.
While parks provide us with many things – space to exercise, socialise, and contemplate – often some members of the public behave inconsiderately when using them. One of the biggest bugbears for park-lovers is litter.
“Campaign to Protect Rural England” (CPRE) the countryside charity, found that during the first nine months of the pandemic, littering ‘occurred in new ways and different places’.
Discarded face masks, gloves and wipes became all too familiar sights. Unfortunately, the longstanding foes of litter pickers – drinks bottles, food wrappers, and cigarette butts – were also to be seen in significant numbers.
Not only is rubbish unsightly, it can cause serious harm to wildlife and domestic animals. In 2019/20, the RSPCA recorded over 8,000 incidents of animals injured by litter. Common issues included animals choking on or swallowing plastic or getting litter wrapped around their necks, wings, or feet.
Here are a few ways you can support Love Parks Week.
- Always take your waste with you after a picnic or dog walk. As they say: ‘Make memories, not a mess’.
- Organise a Litter-Pick in your local park or sign-up for one that is already in the pipeline and encourage others to do the same.
- If you see a waste bin in your local park is overflowing, report it to the council.
- If there is a community group already established to look after your park, join it. If there isn’t one, consider starting your own. The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces offers lots of advice about how to go about getting one started.
- “THINK BIG” and come up with a major project for your own local park. Maybe, tree-planting, creating a wildflower corridor, or getting new play or sports equipment installed. Exeter City council do a fine job but there are lots of grants available for community projects.
Exeter is blessed with a vast number of parks, pleasure gardens and play areas and we can all play our part to help protect them and for everyone enjoy them to the full.
From all of us here at Wilkinson Grant & Co. take care and get out and enjoy our lovely parks.