The winter months can be difficult for many so Community Action Network (CAN)’s Community Hero in the Spotlight for January is The Park Foundation with its wonderful project ‘Parks in Mind’.

The Parks Foundation is a local charity dedicated to improving parks and green spaces across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole so everyone can enjoy the wildlife and nature, especially future generations.

Parks in Mind launched in August 2018 and was co-developed with Public Health Dorset, Bournemouth Borough Council and residents to focus on improving the lives of people in the BCP area. It offers a large range of free-to-attend park-based activities which aim to reduce social isolation, improve mental and physical health, and help to create better parks for local communities.

The Park Foundation  team works closely with attendees to co-create the sessions and establish a good weekly routine for them, while encouraging positive conversations about mental health.

Local people who have attended ‘Parks in Mind’ have only positive things to say:

One of the many attendees said: “Just to say thank you very much for the sessions on Wednesday mornings which I really look forward to each week. I feel very fortunate that I am able to take part. They give me focus and a reason to just sit and be. Thank you.”

“The poetry and art were wonderful – such a lovely group of friendly people. Anna and Luke were wonderful leaders of the activities. Thank you for arranging the wonderful afternoon yesterday” – said another person who participated in the ‘Parks in Mind’ programme.

Anyone is welcome to join ‘Parks in Mind’ and activities include wildlife walks, bulb planting and litter picking, yoga, as well as star gazing, nature-based crafts, astronomy sessions, gentle exercise, and guided meditation.

Those activities not only offer an opportunity to benefit from the therapeutic power of being outdoors, but also gain new friendships and skills, build up confidence and improve physical and mental health.

‘Parks in Mind’ have started to organise online and live-streamed activities due to Covid-19 restrictions for people who are unable to leave their home.

Participants were very responsive and positive towards this initiative: “Sincere thanks and appreciation for all you do to keep us sane and healthy during this very strange period”, “I have had setbacks this year but there are days, like today, where I relax and breath…which gives me so much hope for the future”.

For more information about ‘Parks in Mind’ and its events programme, please follow the link