It is known that the chance to get out in to nature helped mental health for people in what has been a very difficult year, whether it was a park, a nature reserve or a canalside walk, stories of people finding comfort and consolation in nature.

Researchers from the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit at University of Glasgow found that for the majority of the UK population (63%) were spending less time in green spaces than before lockdown, it is felt this was likely linked to feelings of anxiety when venturing out of the house, especially for those over 70 or anyone advised to shield for health reasons.

The research also shows that the gap in accessing parks and greenspace is widening. Inequalities in the use of green space, and changes in the way it is being used, are likely to be associated with occupation, especially during lockdown, when certain workers were advised to work from home.

This data highlights that those in the professional group had more opportunity to visit green spaces during lockdown and so were more able to benefit. Manual workers unable to do their jobs at home may have had less time and opportunity to visit green spaces – such as walking in the local park.

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At greenspace scotland we’ve always talked about parks and greenspace as our natural health service, our children’s outdoor classrooms, our community and leisure centres without a roof. Now we need them more than ever.

During the first lockdown we heard lots of heart-warming stories of how local greenspaces, communal gardens, back greens and back courts were helping people connect and cope with the lockdown. 

As we continue to adapt to living with covid-19, Better outside – using our spaces more provides examples, ideas, inspiration and resources for taking indoor activities outside.

Better Outside - using our greenspaces more