Did you know, in Birmingham, 77% of visits to the natural environment are by white people, despite only making up 58% of the population? Had you noticed that Park groups are mainly run by elderly people, with activities mainly targeted towards young families and the retired?
So, what causes these accessibility issues? There are physical health factors such as reduced mobility, and sensory acuity. There are also organisational barriers, which include transport issues, and the low inclusivity of programmes. Thirdly, there are social issues, associated with safety concerns and environmental understanding.
This is where Outside-In Brum come in! Our aim is to investigate what people use green spaces in Birmingham for, and how they might be improved. We want to include younger people in particular in this conversation, as they are statistically less likely to be using green space.
So how will we do this? Firstly, we want to share ways young people can bring nature to their homes, using tips focusing on growing fruit and veg at home, building homes for wildlife, as well as nature-based literature recommendations. Secondly, we want to conduct short interviews with local environmentalists to discuss what nature means to them. Finally, we have generated a survey to investigate what the barriers that stop people from using green spaces are.
We’re steadily gaining followers on social media accounts, but we’re very proud to have recently reached 100 followers on Instagram. We’re in regular contact with three local organisations, Groundworks, The Active Wellbeing Society, and the Birmingham Open Space Forum. We also launched our survey a few weeks ago. These organisations have been helping us along the way, especially with their feedback regarding our survey. In terms of social media presence, we’ve had posts shared by groups such as Cotteridge Park British Nature Guide. We’ve certainly come a long way, and there’s been plenty of lessons learned.
Our next steps for the moment are to continue to encourage young people to engage with nature through our social media channels, to share and discuss the results of our survey with our partners, and to continue to support our partners through social media.