As part of the Make Space for Girls campaign, The Friends of Rowntree Park are hosting a month of events in Rowntree Park during June 2023 to inspire and empower girls. From sports and fitness classes to art and craft workshops, music and dance performances, and nature-related activities. It’s time to reclaim the public space, try new things, meet like-minded individuals and most of all, have fun! Most activities are FREE, but some need booking in advance as spaces are limited – use the clickable links in the brochure.
Why do we need to ‘make space’ for older girls in parks?
The Friends of Rowntree Park have been running the ‘Make Space for Us’ project since October 2021. The focus is on looking at how to get more older girls (aged 10-18 approx) to use the park. They have carried out a range of research and are focusing on two key things at present – how to improve the park for older girls (including getting new equipment) and having more events in the park aimed at girls and women.
‘Make Space for Girls’ is a separate charity set up around 2021 to start raising awareness that parks exclude older girls, and they have influenced the Friends of Rowntree Park’s work. MSFG highlighted the issue that parks design excludes girls. They collate research, connect people and want to influence councils, planners, designers and other related groups to think about older girls and make change happen. MSFG argue that public parks are designed for the default male citizen’ and the views of girls aren’t considered (equipment added for older children often becomes skateparks, MUGAs, BMX tracks and Basketball courts that can’t be seen as gender neutral when dominated by boys). The views of older girls (and boys) are rarely sought when new parks are planned and councils and designers default to what they know. MSFG primarily focused on park design and that new parks should include views of older girls when being created.
Research shows that after the age of 10 girls use public parks less and therefore this can affect physical and mental health. There are numerous reasons as to why girls’ use of parks drops, however looking at how to improve the physical space to make them more welcoming to girls, plus having more events/activities aimed at girls that encourage back in parks should start to make a difference.
The Friends of Rowntree Park’s own research has highlighted what our girls like and don’t like about the park, and what improvements they’d like. In addition, our research has shown that older girls like seeing events in the park and people of all ages using the park – this helps them feel they are welcome and also provides a feeling of safety.