Its Mental Health Awareness week and this year’s theme is one very close to our hearts here on the South Cliff Gardens team – nature. I know that my mood over the last year of national anxiety and uncertainty has been lifted by having the privilege of living and working somewhere so diverse in its natural habitats. And I’m still finding places to discover, only last week my partner and I visited Burton Riggs nature reserve for the first time on the advice of a member of our Friends gardening group and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Beaches, parks, gardens, lakes, woodlands, a castle and even our very own Easter Island, Scarborough has so much to offer that its little wonder that prior to the pandemic we were one of the most visited places in England with an estimated six million day trips annually and almost one and a half million overnight stay holidays.

Of course that all changed in March last year when stay at home instructions became the new normal for most of us. With one of the only exceptions being authorised daily exercise perhaps one of the few positives to come out of this unprecedented period is that more people appear to have give themselves permission to use this time to explore the world on their doorsteps, to spend extra time in green and blue spaces and to try new things. Pastimes such as sea swimming have increased in popularity and the results of our own survey into the use of the gardens over the pandemic showed both a greater use of them and the sense of a deeper appreciation of the natural escapes that they offer.

The benefits of our greater appreciation of nature may also have a positive impact for the environment, research has shown that the more ownership we feel of our special outdoor spaces the more we are likely to value them and to seek ways to protect and enhance them.  The rise in the number of people organising litter picks and other environmental drives in the Scarborough certainly seems to support this.

South Cliff Gardens was already in the privileged position of having the support of the local community before the pandemic and it’s this dedication to their preservation which has resulted in the backing of the National Lottery Heritage and Community Funds to regenerate the gardens.  We couldn’t be happier that work has finally been able to commence ensuring that not only will the gardens heritage be protected but that they will have a legacy for future generations to benefit from also.

If you are looking for new ways to enjoy nature this Mental Health Awareness week why not join us for our Wednesday morning gardening session. We meet on the Esplanade at the entrance to the Rose Garden at 10am, everyone is welcome and no experience is necessary. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions or would like to find out more.

On Thursday afternoon we will be hosting a birdwatching and nature appreciation session in collaboration with Scarborough Survivors in the glorious Italian Gardens, please contact them if you would like to come along as booking is essential. All details are on the poster bellow.

If you would like to enhance your daily walk with a story then our friends at Animated Objects have just the thing. They have created a brand new geolocation walk which re imagines the epic story of The Odyssey. It can be enjoyed in 25 different locations along the Yorkshire Coast including South Cliff Gardens. The first episode The Gathering Storm is available to listen to now, you can find all the details about this and their three year project to bring Ancient Greek mythology to life on our coast on their website

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness week or to download a free nature journal which can be used to enhance outdoor experiences visit The Mental Health Foundation

Gemma Alexander

South Cliff Gardens Community Engagement Officer

Tel: 01723 232464



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