Healthy parks, healthy people
Sam from Healthy Generations on transforming how Islington parks are used
Healthy Generations is a health charity which aims to reduce social isolation and improve people’s health and wellbeing. They work mainly with older people, people with health conditions, disabilities or special needs. They run a wide range of exercise, music, digital, dance and diet classes, both online and in person, from a number of community spaces, care homes and day centres, in partnership with many organisations. A lot of their classes focus on improving strength, flexibility and independence through general fitness. They also offer remedial classes for specific conditions such as osteoporosis, stroke and Parkinson’s.
Sam Tomlinson is an operations manager at Healthy Generations. He tells us more about how, as part of the Parks for Health scheme, they are improving people’s health by transforming the way Islington’s parks are used
Can you tell us a little bit about Parks for Health and your involvement with it?
We were aware of the desire and need to help people out and get them healthy after the Covid lockdowns. We also had a long-term aim to begin history walks in Islington, beginning with the Great Islington rock and roll walk, which fitted well into the overall strategy, which we began in March.
Why are you involved and what changes do you hope to see?
We are a health charity working mainly with older people and people with mental health issues. Our whole ethos is to promote community, health and wellbeing, so working in the parks was a natural progression for us. We want to host these outdoor classes year-round, so are talking to community centres and nearby gyms to see if we can take them indoors when it gets really cold.
What sorts of events and activities do you run?
We’ve been doing a lot of events in parks to help with people’s health. We do qi gong, total body workouts, cardio and muscles keep fit classes in parks, as well as history and monthly rock and roll walks around Islington. It’s wonderful to see parks being used in this way – giving people the opportunity to enjoy these lovely outdoor spaces, while getting some exercise and improving their wellbeing.
We will also be at the Parks for Health event in Caledonian Park on 7 July. Sarah Jane Moss will be running several short sessions of around 20 minutes between 12noon and 2pm, which will help to raise awareness of the wonderful things happening in the parks.
What are the benefits?
The main thing for us is to see local residents become more involved with their area and use the facilities and community more. We have had a lot of really positive feedback, which is great. We also see it as a big opportunity to forge closer relationships with community centres and gyms. We think it’s really important for us all to work together and move forward helping Islington residents as much as possible.
All Heathy Generations sessions are free to attend. Instead, if you are able, please make a donation, which will be put towards running costs for future classes. Visit the Healthy Generations website to find out more and discover a class. Alternatively, give them a ring on 079 8114 2376 or email firstname.lastname@example.org