This week (13th July), Coca-Cola Great Britain’s ParkLives programme in Birmingham will play host to a range of fun, free activities in parks across the city to celebrate Love Parks Week.
Run by Keep Britain Tidy, Love Parks Week (13th-20th July) encourages everyone to get out, enjoy some fresh air and celebrate the important role that parks can play in the local community.
Throughout Love Parks Week, Birmingham residents can join a variety of free ParkLives activities such as football, Zumba and giant outdoor board games, alongside free family picnics at Handsworth Park (Sunday 15th July), Georges Park (Friday 20th July) and Conker Island (Friday 26th July).
Events will take place across many of the local parks, including Perry Hall Park, which will be marking Love Parks Week and World Emoji Day (17th July) by creating a huge smiley face in the grass with love heart-shaped eyes.
All the sessions are designed to promote the wellbeing benefits of taking part in outdoor activities such as combatting loneliness and boosting confidence, as well as empowering local communities to help keep green spaces looking their best.
The ParkLives programme is part of a £20 million commitment by Coca-Cola Great Britain to invest in community-based schemes, with activities delivered by Birmingham City Council through its Active Parks programme. In 2017, more than 17,452 Birmingham residents participated in the programme, which runs throughout the year.
Gaynor Roberts, ParkLives Programme Manager at Birmingham City Council, said:
Love Parks Week is a fantastic initiative that encourages communities up and down the country to get outside and make the most of local parks and green spaces.
It’s also a great way to support local community groups such as Friends of Parks and Park Rangers that work hard all year round to keep our green spaces welcoming and safe for people to enjoy. Our big picnic at Handsworth Park is the perfect way to kickstart the week and encourage families to make the most of their local park and play a part in keeping them tidy.
The Love Parks Week events coincide with the start of the ParkLives summer programme in Birmingham.
ParkLives sessions last for around one hour and are hosted by trained, friendly and passionate leaders and volunteers from the local area. Activities are group-based and inclusive, allowing everyone to go at their own pace.
Sharon Brown, who will be leading the Zumba session at Handsworth Park during Love Parks Week, said:
Running or jogging isn’t the only way to get active and spend time in your local parks. There’s so many free and fun activities for people to try this summer.
Zumba is a great way to get moving. There’s no such thing as a wrong step and as long as you’re smiling and enjoying the company of others, that’s all that matters. We’ve seen an increase in the number of individuals and community groups wanting to help with maintenance activities to ensure our parks are litter-free – and I hope that more will want to join in during Love Parks Week!
ParkLives runs in nine cities as well as reaching 37 more locations through a partnership with StreetGames – the long-standing charity partner of Coca-Cola Great Britain – who brings sport to the doorsteps of disadvantaged communities across the UK.
Liz Lowe, ParkLives lead at Coca-Cola Great Britain, said:
With over 37 million people in the UK regularly using parks each year, it’s important that we support initiatives like Love Parks Week to encourage people to step up to protect and enjoy green spaces.
Taking part in outdoor activities with others has proven to have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, encouraging communities to come together and make new friendships. We hope that more people in Birmingham will get involved in our ParkLives sessions and benefit from them.
From bushcraft and archery to tennis and football, there’s a ParkLives session to suit everyone, no matter age or ability – and they’re all completely free!
To see the full range of ParkLives session near you, visit parklives.com to book a place, or simply turn up on the day.