Celebrate The Summer Solstice with 24 Hours of Free PARKLIVES Activities

Imagine the tranquility of doing Tai Chi as the sun rises at dawn over the Lickey Hills…or clearing away the cobwebs by walking with friends in the green freshness of Cannon Hill Park to the sound of the dawn chorus…

This Sunday, families and friends across the city will have the chance to appreciate Birmingham’s parks and green spaces in a whole new light by enjoying a range of FREE and fun activity sessions across 24 hours in a unique Summer Solstice event: part of the ParkLives programme delivered by Coca-Cola Great Britain and Birmingham Active Parks.

24 hours of ParkLives will start with a magical midnight bike ride at Sheldon Country Park on Saturday 20 June and finish with a midnight badminton session at Nechells Wellbeing Centre on Sunday 21 July. Other highlights will include an energising dawn chorus and batwalk at 3.30am through leafy Cannon Hill Park; peaceful Sunrise Tai Chi at 4.30am on the Lickey Hills and an ‘evening glow’ 5km run in Handsworth Park at 9.30pm.

Parklives_TaiChi_0062bThere will also be plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy throughout the daytime, including Multisport at Gilberstone Recreation Ground at 11.45am, a picnic and family games at Summerfield Park between 3 and 5pm, and Boules from 6pm to 9pm at Cotteridge Park.

ParkLives is a programme of free and fun activities in parks open to everyone, designed to help local communities to enjoy being more active outdoors together, and is part of Coca-Cola Great Britain’s commitment to invest £20m between now and 2020 on programmes encouraging and supporting people to be physically active. This summer, ParkLives sessions are taking place at more than 60 parks and green spaces across Birmingham.

Ian Hay, ParkLives session leader for Tai Chi at sunrise at the Lickey Hills, said: “I take part every year in sunrise Tai Chi at an annual instructors’ retreat, so when I heard that ParkLives was putting on this Summer Solstice event I was keen to give people in Birmingham the chance to experience the extraordinary sense of peace and calm that it brings.

Tai Chi is a form of moving meditation. It involves emptying your mind, which is easy to do when you are looking out over the horizon from the height of the Lickey Hills as the sun comes up. Because the Lickey Hills is so high, you’ll even see the sunrise before they do at Stonehenge.

Whichever session you attend on the Summer Solstice will be fun, but I’d particularly encourage people to give one of the early or late sessions a go – you wouldn’t always want to get up at that time, but on the longest day of the year why not have a new experience and try something that you’ll probably never do again?!”

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Councillor Paulette Hamilton, said: “ParkLives is all about bringing communities together and getting people to have fun taking part in outdoor activities that they might not have tried before. The Summer Solstice event gives Brummies a great chance to experience their city as they’ve never seen it before and to really make the most of the longest day of the year, from a bike ride in the moonlight to a ‘race to sunrise’ or an ‘evening glow’ run through Handsworth Park at dusk.

“Of course not everyone will want to take part in our moonlit activities, so we’ve got a range of free sessions throughout the day, celebrating the fact that summer is officially here and this is the perfect time to enjoy our beautiful parks and open spaces.”

For more information on all the activities on 21st June, or throughout the summer, visit www.parklives.com