‘Make Space for Girls’ June programme of events in Rowntree Park celebration!

Through June 2023 we have been running a programme of events and activities in Rowntree Park aimed at older girls. The focus is on empowering teenage girls and expanding their access to public spaces, and as part of their ongoing project on making the park more ‘welcoming’ to older girls.

The month long programme of free events has included a range of sports and dance, arts and crafts, theatre and music, as well as nature based activities and conservation work. Over 250 girls have been involved and had the chance to try new things, meet new people, and have los of fun!

The project has been funded by the Friends of Rowntree Park, along with some support from the Micklegate Ward. We are looking for continued funding to be able to continue with the overall project that has two key objectives at present:
-Getting new equipment requested by girls.
-More events and activities aimed at girls & women.

“We want to create a space where girls can feel safe, confident, and empowered to be themselves. We believe that every girl deserves access to public spaces and the opportunities they offer. Our events aim to inspire girls, build supportive networks with other girls and women, and try to change the fact that girls’ use of parks drops as they get older.”

Abigail Gaines – FRP Charity manager and Creator of the ‘Older Girls’ project.

Take a look at some of the photos over the last month, and read on for why we are doing this project, what happens next, and how you can support!

Why do we need to ‘Make Space for Girls’ in Rowntree Park?

Recent studies have shown that girls’ use of public spaces declines from the age of 8, limiting their access to the benefits and opportunities that these spaces offer. Access to parks is beneficial to physical and mental health, therefore making parks welcoming to older girls is important.   The Friend’s work was initially influenced by charity ‘Make Space for Girls’ who seek to raise awareness that when parks are built for older children, the facilities added are not built with girls in mind. How girls use parks, and what they want, is rarely considered.  Therefore the Friends of Rowntree Park have carried out a  range of research to find out what local girls want from their park, and they aim to redress this imbalance by doing what they can to provide a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment.

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. We have carried out a range of research and are focusing on two key things at present – new equipment for older girls and more events and activities. Our research also shows that many boys would also benefit from new equipment as our feedback shows many want similar things that girls have asked for – mainly swings, social benches, climbing equipment and agility equipment all away from the play park aimed at smaller children. They want an area where teens feel they are ‘allowed’ to be – where they can ‘play’ and chat with friends.

We are looking for funding for new equipment. If you can sponsor or donate – please do!

We are currently focusing on ‘girls’ and the park, but do recognise there are numerous factors other than being a boy or a girl, that affect park use. There isn’t much research on how other factors affect park usage but hopefully this will start to emerge.

Read more on how to become a ‘Male Ally’ for the ‘make Space for Girls’ in Rowntree Park project here.

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