In praise of local parks: celebrating World Parks Week 2021

Each year, World Parks Week encourages the celebration and appreciation of our parks and green spaces. A few weeks ago, we spoke to Mark Camley, Executive Director of Park Operations and Venues, about the value of parks within local communities. 

“As an urban park, we’re extremely proud of the role we play within the capital, but particularly that within our local community. The Park is home to a number of unique neighbourhoods: some old, some brand new, but all touched by the tangible benefits of green spaces, fresh air and nature.

“The theme of this year’s World Parks Week is ‘Thinking #Hyperlocal’. For us, despite the international events and globally renowned attractions on the Park, thinking locally is second nature. We made history hosting the 2012 Games, and now continue to do so every day on a personal level for those living and working in east London – the Park has been the setting for first steps, new jobs, sporting achievements, proposals and countless other life milestones. 

“For the majority of us, hyperlocal has been how we’ve spent much of the past year. The Park remained open throughout the periods of lockdown, providing an invaluable place for daily exercise, reflection and – when restrictions allowed – meeting with family or friends. Research has shown that the pandemic created a stronger connection between people and their local parks, and we hope east Londoners continue to see ours as part of their daily routine.

“With restrictions continuing to lift, it’s been great to see the Park become busier as people use it as a place to socialise safely and perhaps share even more life milestones – the first lunch out again with friends, or the first meeting with new babies (human or dog!) born during lockdown. 

“The Park is in full bloom at the moment, benefiting from bright flowers, nectar-rich blossoms, lush green grass and big blue skies (when it’s not snowing, that is). As always, spring brings with it a feeling of hopefulness – a feeling that seems reflective of the national mood, as we look ahead towards a way out of the pandemic.” 

Look out for the hashtags #WorldParksWeek and #Hyperlocal throughout the week, and make sure you’re following us on Twitter too for the latest updates.