Space to Thrive: The Benefits of Spending Time in Green Spaces

Photograph of Elmfield Park in Cheltenham.

We are very lucky to have green spaces we can enjoy in St. Peters and The Moors, and they have been a lifeline for many local people during the lockdowns.

They’re a place to walk the dog, go for a stroll, play with the kids, or just sit and watch the world go by. Our green spaces are so valuable for our mental health, our physical wellbeing, and for our community.

The benefits of spending time in green spaces

Space to thrive

Back in January last year, researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Sheffield in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, carried out a review of the existing evidence of the benefits parks and green spaces have for people and communities.

They published the Space to Thrive Report, which found that:

  • Access to and use of parks and green spaces enhances physical health, mental wellbeing, and life satisfaction.
  • People need parks close to where they live, but the parks need to be of a good enough quality for them to want to visit regularly. The quality of the parks was found to more important for health than the quantity.
  • Visiting parks can help reduce obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Spending time in green spaces improves mental wellbeing and relieves stress.
  • Parks can bring the community together by getting people involved in events and initiatives to improve and care for their green spaces. This can help to build a sense of pride and encourage people to love where they live.

What the report recommended

Parks should be seen as social, not just physical infrastructure

While it’s important to invest in keeping parks fit for purpose, the main thing is to actually encourage people to use them. Any investment should be focused on community engagement and supporting activities that get people using the parks and caring about them.

Parks should be places where you can be active and feel relaxed

There should be opportunities for people in the community to exercise (like outdoor fitness classes, sports pitches, or outdoor exercise equipment) as well as places where they can relax and enjoy nature.

People should feel safe in parks

Lighting and pathways should be improved so that people feel safe using the parks where they live.

Elmfield Park

Photograph of a small purple wildflower in Elmfield Park, Cheltenham.

The report and its recommendations brings us nicely to our very own Elmfield Park. Many of you will use it whether it’s to walk the dog, exercise, or play with the kids, so we want your feedback on how the park could be improved and whether you agree with the improvements that have been already suggested in the Elmfield Park Masterplan, including the addition of some more wildflower meadows, an all-weather pitch, and improved pathways and lighting.

The park is so important for our wellbeing and our community, but it needs to be fit for purpose, a lovely place to be, and safe so that people feel like they want to spend time there.

We would love to know what you think. Please take a few minutes to complete our survey on what you think would make Elmfield Park a better place.

If you love where you live and you have green fingers (or even if you don’t!) you can join the Friends of Elmfield Park, a group of local residents who volunteer their time to make improvements to Elmfield Park and the Rest Garden on Tewkesbury Rd.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Head over to our Facebook group or contact to find out more.

Flyer advertising the community group Friends of Elmfield Park.

Another chance to have your say 

You’ll be getting a booklet through your letterbox soon, and it’s all about The Big Local Community Plan for St. Peter’s and The Moors. Our project is all about investing our funding in the things that matter to you in the community and empowering residents to make a difference and access services, projects, and activities where they live.

In the plan booklet, you’ll be able to read all about what we’ve achieved so far and what we have planned for the future. We’d love your feedback on the community plan; we believe that together, we can make St. Peter’s and The Moors a better place for everyone.

If you’d like to have a sneak preview and leave some feedback now, you can check out the plan here.