Sheffield is a green city. We often hear it, but how many people in Sheffield feel it? There are many leafy streets and beautiful parks. There are also streets that feel grey. There are apartment blocks where it’s an expedition to get out into the sunshine.

On Saturday 27th April it will be 39 years since the official opening of Mount Pleasant Park in Sharrow. Mount Pleasant was one of six inner city parks built by the Council in the 1980s. People knew then that green spaces have huge benefits for our health and wellbeing. This matters for everyone, but especially for those who don’t have a garden.

Councillor Maroof Raouf at Mount Pleasant park

There is research paper after research paper, including studies done in Sheffield, showing the benefits of green spaces. They improve child development, help mental and physical health, and reduce isolation for the elderly and refugees. Our public parks are free, so they benefit everyone in our city without barriers.

The council has got some money to invest in green spaces. I’ve worked to get more CCTV in Mount Pleasant Park, pushed for new playground equipment and signage, and a fantastic new park building with a cafe. But there is more that could be done. More urban gardens and allotments, more play spaces, more welcoming and safe parks, more accessible activities.

Investing in parks and green spaces has all kinds of long-term benefits; from educational, to economic, to environmental. We all want more parks. We all need more parks. We know the council could do with a lot more funding. But the council also needs the vision to involve local communities and commit to making a difference.

When Mount Pleasant park turns 40 next year, maybe all councillors could work together and commit to making another six more parks in our wonderfully green city.