Everton Park is a 40-hectare green space at the heart of Everton, an area where poor health is particularly prevalent. The park is only a short walk from the city centre and easily accessible from the three central university campuses and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, but is currently underused. As such, it represents a major opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of those who live, work and study nearby. The Cass Foundation is working closely with the Friends of Everton Park to identify and address some of the barriers to use.
In 2013, our focus was events and activities in the Lower Park, which contains the hidden gem that is Everton Park Nature Garden.
In September, we supported two health and wellbeing events in conjunction with Great Homer Street Medical Centre. Heartbeats brought together around 40 people for an afternoon of therapeutic gardening, food, drink and live acoustic music in the Peace Garden. The following week, staff from the Medical Centre joined Liverpool Community Alcohol Service to provide advice on sensible drinking and alcohol harm reduction at the Out of the Blue Festival, staged each year by the Friends of Everton Park, and alongside them was The Brink pop-up dry bar giving out alcohol-free cocktails. The Nature Garden was part of the festival for the first time, with a buskers' stage and children's activities including pond-dipping with Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
Earlier in the summer, we supported a Friends garden party and a music showcase - an event with local bands, put on by Shrewsbury House Youth and Community Centre ('the Shewsy') - also in the Nature Garden.
In 2014, we delivered a project with funding from Liverpool City Council and Veolia Environmental Trust, to improve a pathway through a wooded area of Lower Park. It replaced derelict benches, installed new bins and bollards, painted lamp posts and generally tidied up the area, and we celebrated its completion in November by joining with local residents to plant spring bulbs under the trees.
With the Friends, we started to look at encouraging fitness activities, making the most of the slopes and vistas at the top of the park. Run England helped us mark out one of their 3-2-1 routes, a country wide initiative to encourage people to have a go at running.
In 2015, it's all about Get Going! Everton Park. Continuing the focus on fitness and making use of the 3-2-1 route, we've launched a Beginner Running Group, Nordic Walking and Buggy Outdoor Fitness. With free sessions for local residents, all are welcome for fun, fresh air and exercise - with a view!
Find out more about all these activities at the Friends of Everton Park Facebook page.
Heartbeats, Out of the Blue, spring bulb planting, Nordic Walking