Green spaces can improve your quality of life

As the Woodland Trust says: "life is better with trees." Photo: Sunny Johnson

Plant a tree, save a life.

That’s the idea behind the Green Gym charity. With the help of the Dunfermline and West Fife Community Health Partnership, they aim to improve the lives of patients at Lynebank Hospital by planting trees.

The Green Gym charity encourages communities to work together to enhance their local areas by creating a green space. The aim of the scheme is to create a garden area at the hospital to promote positive health and wellbeing among patients, staff and visitors.

The charity running the Green gym claim a daily walk in a park can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes by 50%, cut breast cancer by 30% and Alzheimer’s by 25%.

They received a free 240-tree pack from the Woodland Trust. The environmental organisation has received over 1,000 community packs resulting in more than 200,000 native trees being planted all over the UK.

The Woodland Trust is supporting this project as it coincides with its main aims “we want to see no further loss of woodland and the creation of new native woodland.”

But the community packs are part of a bigger project. The Jubilee Woods scheme has a target of planting six million trees by the end of 2012.  It is one of a few projects in the UK that carry’s official Royal approval, with HRH the Princess Royal as its patron.

The charity’s aim is to raise awareness of the importance of parks. Over 33 million people in the UK choose to use their green spaces. Statistics show that the more often a person visits open green spaces the less often he or she will report stress related illnesses.

The Woodland Trust and Green Gym feel it is important to encourage people to take part in creating green spaces. This is because the local authorities are not legally required to provide, invest or maintain public parks and green spaces.

The Green Gym project will run for ten weeks in total with volunteers coming every Tuesday from 10am – 1pm. The initial five week period will finish on Tuesday 6th December. But it will pick up again on Tuesday 17th January until Tuesday 14th February.

The marketing and communications manager for Love Parks Week states “the Love Parks week is definitely the biggest public campaign”.