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The Vocal Local: Why we need a community garden in Moor Park

Clare Denham is health inequality clinical lead for the Blackpool North Primary Care Network. Over the past two years she’s been working to bring the vision for a community garden in Moor Park to life. She tells us why the project is such an important one and calls on the community to help make it a reality.

In a turbulent post-pandemic era, we are faced with rebuilding human connections and a society we can live well together in.

A community garden is a designated green space that consists of planters or bedding areas, seating and areas that allow access for all abilities within a neighbourhood. They bring people from diverse backgrounds together with a sense of belonging, social connection, collaboration and sharing. Community gardens also help to develop new skills and knowledge and create a space to care for our surrounding environment, all the while building relationships within a community.

Studies have found there are multiple health and social benefits that come with a community garden. Being active and close to nature has been found to reduce stress levels. The Royal Horticultural Society promotes ‘green exercise’ such as gardening as it can help reduce anxiety levels and improve mental wellbeing. Engaging in gardening activities provides physical exercise which can improve cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility. These are important in reducing the burden and supporting people living with long-term conditions, diseases such as high blood pressure, chronic respiratory illness, and type 2 diabetes.

We are living in an epidemic of loneliness which is considered to be as bad for a person’s health as smoking. It can lead to higher blood pressure, increased obesity, a weaker immune system, anxiety, depression, dementia, and early death.

Moor Park is located at the heart of Bispham where there are many people of all ages suffering with social isolation and loneliness. Dr Andy Knox, a GP in Carnforth and Director of Population Health for in Morecambe Bay, identifies that we are living in an epidemic of loneliness which is considered by medics to be as bad for a person’s health as smoking. It can lead to higher blood pressure, increased obesity, a weaker immune system, anxiety, depression, dementia, and early death. We aim to create a place where people can come together, cultivate, and interact to combat and prevent these problems helping one another to live well together. Furthermore, the provision of a green space will encourage the local wildlife, improve air quality, and increase plant biodiversity helping to reduce carbon emissions.

In the UK we are seeing an increasing trend of people with cardiovascular disease that can cause long term ill health, disability, and premature death. The Blackpool North Primary Care Network (PCN) is aware of the contributing factors of this and is actively seeking a way to encourage people, in a town with a lower than national average life expectancy, to find purpose, connect with one another, create a space for wellbeing and learn to grow flowers, fruits, and other produce as one step on the way to help prevent conditions that have the potential to impact negatively on lives.

Community is about fostering relationships, collaborating, and creating a shared space where everyone feels heard and respected. Similarly living well together involves practicing empathy, respect, and co-operation. It involves actively listening to others, seeking to understand different perspectives, and finding common ground. This is an open invitation to anyone who feels they could be part of this movement and become a Friend of Moor Park, to get in touch.

Email [email protected] or find us on social media.

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