Parks – A mainstay of sporting activity

Statistics cited by Sport England suggest that; “amongst adults who regularly participated in sports….23% take part in parks.”

The Council of Europe, European Sports Charter  defines sport as, “all forms of activity through casual or organised participation, that aims at improving physical fitness and mental well being, forming social relationships, or obtaining results in competition at all levels”.

If this definition is used, and if casual and informal participation, and that of children, is included in the calculation, the figure of 23% is likely to be higher. The General Household Survey 1996 reveals that 25 million English people take part in some sport or active recreation at least once a month.Office of Population Censuses and Surveys: Living in Britain (1996)

Of the top ten participation sports, 55% are activities that typically take place in parks such as, walking, football and running. Bowls, which does not appear in the top ten list, has over 435,000 club members, many of whom play several times per week. A high percentage of the 11,000 bowls clubs are found in public parks. It is the only sport where participation increases with age.

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