I’m not sure if I have ever been more ready for spring. I love all of the seasons for different reasons but this year as we emerge from another national lock-down, spring, the season of renewal and rebirth, has an extra special resonance and of course carries the promise of re-connection as we are once again allowed to spend time outside with our family and friends.
It was really fantastic to welcome back our Friends of South Cliff Gardens, gardening volunteers and to say hello to some new faces. And what a morning we had for it, bathed in sunshine we couldn’t have wished for a better day to start up again.
Towards the end of last year after the first lockdown had ended and we had enjoyed a summer of limited but welcome freedoms we asked you how the pandemic had changed your view on South Cliff Gardens.
Eight five people responded. Not unexpectedly we saw an increase in the use of the gardens with most visitors spending over 30 minutes in them. The majority of respondents who said that they were using the gardens more came for exercise whist the next most popular reasons to choose South Cliff were to enjoy the scenery and to be in nature.
70% of respondents felt that the gardens have become more important to them during the pandemic though the reasons varied from being able to enjoy a self distanced walk with friends and family to simply having a time to reflect away from the confines of home the message was clear, the gardens enhanced peoples lives in a time of previously unimaginable turmoil and uncertainty. This increased sense of connection with local natural spaces has been observed throughout the country and has highlighted the need for these natural escapes to exist. I have written before about the benefits to mental and physical health simply being in nature can bring and with outdoor exercise counting as one of our only permitted escapes from our homes during periods of lock-down spaces like South Cliff Gardens have rarely been more needed.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey and for all of your inspirational comments on what the gardens mean to you. It’s simply fantastic to have so much local support for South Cliff Gardens and the project to regenerate them.
Community Engagement Officer