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Active Quarter receives funding to monitor park visits

Active Quarter receives funding to monitor park visits

The Active Quarter partnership has successfully secured funding to monitor how many people are visiting Northampton’s parks.

Published March 29, 2024

The funding has been awarded through the University of Northampton’s Higher Education Innovation scheme. It will allow the Active Quarter partnership to better understand how many people make use of parks in the area. Declan Ryan, who represents the University of Northampton in the Active Quarter partnership, said “This is a really important way to help us estimate park visitors, which is something that is not consistently measured across the county.”

Visitors will be measured using anonymised smartphone GPS data (where users have consented to share this) and provide monthly estimates of how many people are visiting local parks. Residents have told the partnership how valuable their local parks are for socialising, escaping urban environments, and helping to manage their mental health and wellbeing. Gathering these statistics will help reinforce what we already know – and help the partnership better understand whether efforts to improve access to these spaces have been successful.

Alongside the interviews we've done with residents, we are starting to build up a picture of just how important parks are for our community. This research can help inform future planning so that local outdoor spaces can fully meet the needs of local people.

Declan RyanUniversity of Northampton

I have suffered with depression and this was my happy place then. I would come after work, have a walk round and just decompress from the day. It’s very important to have those spaces.

Visitor to Delapré parkInterviewed as part of ongoing research

The collected data will also help support Northamptonshire’s Integrated Care System to monitor their progress to achieving their Live Your Best Life strategy. It will also help West Northamptonshire Council with its ambition to ensure local parks are well-maintained and accessible to all, as part of the Clean and Green priority within its Corporate plan.