MP Burden hails Birmingham’s Active Parks scheme

By on 18/02/2015 in Cllr Cotton, News

Northfield MP Richard Burden has nominated a Birmingham scheme tackling inactivity and obesity for a Government health award.

Launched two years ago, Birmingham’s highly acclaimed Active Parks initiative offers free activities in parks across the city.

Building on the success of the award-winning free physical activity Be Active scheme, Active Parks now operates in over 50 locations, offering a wide range of activities, including running, conservation, Tai Chi, Zumba, walking and much more.

Last year the scheme was expanded as part of the Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives and 2015 will see more FREE activities in Birmingham parks than ever before.

Now Richard Burden MP has put the scheme forward for a ‘Local Public Health Hero’ award after Public Health Minister Jane Ellison asked for individuals and schemes that make a difference.

He said: “Active Parks is a brilliant initiative. It boosts public health and expands the number of people using Birmingham’s parks and other open spaces at the same time. Like so many other things, though, it’s success is down to the staff and volunteers who make it all happen. They are real Public Health Heroes.”

Birmingham City Council Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr John Cotton, added: “Two years ago we identified a secret weapon in the fight against inactivity and obesity – Birmingham’s wonderful parks and open spaces.

“The response has been tremendous and every day of the week you find people across the city enjoying free activities and making the most of their local parks.”

Two members of the Active Parks team will now attend a Public Health Excellence event in Parliament on 3 March.

You can join a wide range of FREE activities in Birmingham parks every day.

To find activities near you go to:


Physical activity in Birmingham

Physical activity has been identified as a public health priority in Birmingham and a number of initiatives have been launched in recent years.

  1. Through Be Active and Active Parks, Birmingham City Council offers a wide range of FREE physical activities for people across the city. And there’s something for everyone with walking, running (for all abilities), Tai Chi, Zumba and a growing number of conservation sessions for people who want to be active but are not keen on sporting activities.
  2. Running is also enjoying a rise in popularity and the city’s half marathon, launched in 2008 now attracts 20,000 runners. A new 10k event will be run for the first time in May.
  3. The £24.3 million Birmingham Cycle Revolution aims to transform Birmingham into one of the UK’s leading cities for cycling.
  4. Planning a celebration of active women on International Women’s Day (8 March) as part of Sport England’s This Girl Can initiative.
  5. The city is also keen to promote walking and community groups and schools in Aston, Ladywood, Nechells, Soho and Sparkbrook were recently offered grants of up to £1,500 for projects designed to get local people walking.

Obesity in Birmingham

  • Forty per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds in Birmingham are overweight or obese. One in four of these children is clinically obese.
  • The projected financial cost of obesity to our City will amount to £2.6 billion per year by 2050 – that is the equivalent of 13.5 new Libraries of Birmingham.
  • Obesity impacts on the quality of people’s lives in many ways, not only their physical health but also their wellbeing and economic productivity.
  • Overweight and obese children have significant reductions in quality of life and suffer more teasing, bullying and social isolation. 85% of obese children become obese adults and are likely to reduce their life expectancy by 9 years.
  • The growth in childhood obesity means that today’s children are unlikely to live as long as their parents.

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