The Nature Is Nurture report responded to two questions posed by the Local Government Select Committee. Firstly, who uses parks and open spaces, how often and what for? Secondly, what contribution do parks make to the health and well-being of communities? The foremost was addressed through pupil, parent and adult questionnaires and the latter was answered through an investigation into connections between greenspace and mental health.
Kilgarth and Gilbrook Schools are both maintained special schools in Merseyside that cater for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties. Given the questions at hand, naturally this group provided appropriate individuals to gather feedback from. Questionnaire feedback was also sought from pupils’ parents and adults to provide a wider scope for the data.
A review of research literature showed that greenspace plays an important role in mediating mental health problems and can be used as a therapeutic backdrop for several conditions such as ADHD and SEMH. It also showed links between a lack of greenspace, poverty and how greenspace may improve academic attainment.
In total, 55 pupils and 53 parents/carers replied to the questionnaires. Results showed that a greater majority of adults use parks and greenspaces more frequently than pupils, with a distinct amount of pupils never using parks. The majority of park visits are used for family days out. On the whole parent/adult respondents were more emoted in response about losing their parks and greenspaces when compared to pupils, showing a disparity between groups.
Finally recommendations were made in regard to the use of greenspace within education, particularly those pupils with SEMH/SEN e.g. ADHD. Additionally recommendations were made to city planners for the way in which greenspace is used and implemented in the community.