Parks across Birmingham are set to play host to thousands of fun, free activity sessions as ParkLives returns to the city for a fourth year.
Delivered by teams from Birmingham City Council in partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain, ParkLives sessions help bring local parks to life with activities that help to bring communities together and improve wellbeing.
Taking place daily in more than 100 parks and green spaces across Birmingham including Lickey Hills Country Park and Handsworth Park, activities will range from Tai Chi and bushcraft to zumba and nature play, and are designed to appeal to everyone, regardless of ability or experience.
The programme has been planned and developed in co-production with local communities within the city, and will see new activities such as open water swimming, dodgeball and even Pickle Ball – a mix of badminton, tennis and table tennis – feature on the timetable this spring and summer.
Gaynor Roberts, ParkLives Programme Manager at Birmingham City Council said:“Thousands of Birmingham residents will benefit from ParkLives again this year. It’s a great opportunity for people to enjoy their local parks, meet new people or spend quality time together as a family.
“ParkLives is great fun, we see a lot of friendship groups forming and plenty of smiling faces after each session. As well as getting people outdoors, it also plays a serious role in helping to address the social and mental wellbeing problems that many people face.
“In 2016, we had more than 85,000 attendances in ParkLives sessions. Many of those took part in the most deprived areas of the city* as our free sessions across the region make it easy for all members of the community to get involved, who may otherwise see cost and a lack of opportunities in their local community as a barrier to being outdoors.”
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 everyone can go at their own pace.
Session leader, Mick Sherratt, from Birmingham will be leading running sessions over the summer. He said: “I’ve been holding running sessions with ParkLives for three years now and love that I’m helping people to get out of the house, try a new hobby and make friends along the way. In my time, I’ve even coached a few next-door neighbours that didn’t know each other before and are now running buddies. To me, that’s what these sessions are all about and I can’t wait to kick-start ParkLives again this year.“
ParkLives is part of a £20 million commitment by Coca-Cola Great Britain to invest in community-based programmes.
Now in its fourth year, ParkLives runs in 10 cities nationwide as well as reaching many more locations through a partnership with StreetGames, the long-standing charity partner of Coca-Cola Great Britain that brings sports and activities to the doorsteps of disadvantaged communities across the UK.
Liz Lowe, ParkLives lead at Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “It’s brilliant to see ParkLives going from strength to strength in Birmingham as more and more people get involved. This is really testament to the fantastic team of local session leaders and volunteers helping people to try new activities, make new friends and discover the wonderful green spaces they have on their doorstep. With even more activities on offer this year, and all still completely free of charge, we hope that even more people will join in and spread the word.”
To save a space at a free activity, and check out a postcode-led local activity finder go to www.parklives.com