Active Neighbourhoods officially launched

Natural_Environment_Conference_Press_Images_001People living in Plymouth will be embracing healthier lifestyles and enjoying nature on their doorstep thanks to a new, three year project that will make five local green spaces better for people and wildlife.

The Active Neighbourhoods project was officially launched at the Woods, Waves and Wild Places conference, organised by Plymouth City Council.

Present were the projects partners the Council and Devon Wildlife Trust, along with representatives from five Plymouth communities whose residents will be involved. These include Stonehouse, Ernesettle, West Park and Honicknowle, St Budeaux, Kings Tamerton, and Efford.

The aim of the three year project is to improve local people’s access and use of their green spaces, as well as to encourage them to become active in caring for their local nature.

The conference was a free event full of inspiring talks and workshops about the natural environment attended by local organisations, volunteers and council employees who are interested in how the city can benefit from high quality parks and open spaces.

Attending the conference, Dave Curno from Friends of Ham Woods said: “The conference and the Active Neighbourhoods project are great opportunities to share ideas about how communities, the voluntary sector and the council can work together to make the most of Plymouth’s green and blue spaces. This is great timing for us as we’re working with other local friends groups to develop our friends forum and advocate more strongly for Plymouth’s wonderful range of open spaces.’

Cabinet Member for the Environment Councillor Brian Vincent said: ‘Plymouth has 225 green spaces from nature reserves to playgrounds and parks. As Britain’s Ocean City, we are lucky to have a stunning marine environment lapping our shore.

Over the years the Council and its partners has done some amazing work to encourage people to make the most of the great outdoors, through projects such as Stepping Stones to Nature. We’ve had stacks of half term activities in and around creeks and parks, school lessons in nature reserves and cooking clubs for families. All these improve people’s lives and I’m delighted that we can carry on with this great work with the support of Devon Wildlife Trust

It is particularly good to see this work concentrated in areas where people don’t always have the same opportunities. To encourage families to enjoy each other’s company, in the fresh air and develop new skills is fantastic. It improves people’s health, both physical and mental. It makes them more confident, which is great for the city and the project will be good for the city’s environment and good for its wildlife.’

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Director of Development, Policy and Research Peter Burgess was also at the event and said: ” we’re really excited to about working more closely with Plymouth City Council and getting involved in Plymouth’s natural spaces. Plymouth has an incredible wealth of green and blue spaces and this is a great opportunity to support more people to make connections nature.”