By Jon Church, Director of Communications
This morning, like a lot of you I’m sure, I went out and walked my dog. I’m lucky, there’s a great route just near where I live in Yorkshire and I really value this time to just be outside and clear my head before the day properly begins.
So far, so normal. But imagine, what you would do if your favourite space wasn’t there?
In Britain at the moment, there are around 4,000 public spaces and buildings being lost every year. That’s places where people come together to exercise, learn new skills, or simply spend time with others in their community.
Our Co-operate 2022 community plan is focused on wellbeing, spaces and skills. All of these things are interlinked. If I didn’t have a place to walk Scooby, then my own wellbeing would probably suffer. I’d miss out on time for myself to get some headspace, a bit of exercise and a chance to meet people in my community as I frequently do when out with the dog. And when you think about it, a lot of the things you learnt when growing up probably took place in public spaces; from learning to ride a bike or play football in the local park to developing the social skills to make new friends through local clubs or groups. Spaces to help people get together are so important and we must do what we can to help communities protect their local spaces.
That’s one of the reasons we’re working with anti-knife crime organisation, Steel Warriors, to open up supported outdoor gyms in areas where young people are at risk because youth clubs and community centres are closing, leaving them vulnerable on the streets. We’re also aiming to save 2,000 spaces across the UK by 2022 through our partnership with Locality, helping local people identify at risk spaces and supporting them in co-operating to do something about it.
So my (and Scooby’s) favourite space, without doubt, is the Harland Way in Wetherby and I’d be gutted if it wasn’t there – you can see why in the video below. What’s your favourite space and what makes it special to you? Please share in the comments below or on Yammer and don’t forget to let us know if you have a space in your area that may be at risk. You can do that by visiting our Endangered Spaces website.