Royal Parks charity launches Welcome Winter campaign to combat winter blues

The Royal Parks charity has launched a campaign to encourage people to get outside to improve their mental health this winter.

The Welcome Winter initiative aims to spur on individuals to take a 20-minute walk in their local green space.

Andrew Scattergood, chief executive of The Royal Parks, said: “It’s never been more important to look after ourselves than now.

“Put simply, a walk in the park makes you feel better.”

In September, Kingston Council published data indicating that more than half of Kingston residents were concerned about their mental health as a result of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, a study by the charity Mental Health Foundation found that nearly 60 per cent of adults have spent time walking outside as a means of coping with the stress of the pandemic.

Bushy Park, which is looked after by The Royal Parks charity, has seen a substantial increase in visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Jacqui Dyer, mental health equalities advisor for NHS England, agreed that walking and getting out in green spaces has been a key coping mechanism this year.

She would like to see this continue through the winter.

“The Royal Parks’ Welcome Winter campaign is a great way of sharing the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time outdoors safely, even during the winter months, which can support people to build strength and resilience,” she said.

The charity is also offering digital resources such as nature trails and craft sessions for people having to stay home during the pandemic.

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