Secure estate joins in with ‘parkrun for the NHS’ weekend
The custodial estate will join in with ‘parkrun for the NHS’ celebrations this weekend to mark the NHS’s 75th anniversary.
Tens of thousands of people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to ‘parkrun for the NHS’ at their local parkrun events on Saturday 8 July and junior parkrun events on Sunday 9 July. The event will highlight parkrun as a safe and inclusive space for all ages, abilities and backgrounds to be active and social in the great outdoors.
Many of the 28 parkruns that take place in custody in the UK will be part of the landmark weekend, showcasing the immensely positive impact they have had on residents since the launch of the first in the secure estate at HMP Haverigg in Cumbria in November 2017.
Since then, there have been 71,014 runs/walks completed in the secure estate by 11,577 people, with 26,429 individuals fulfulling volunteer roles.
Chrissie Wellington, Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at parkrun, said: “We are thrilled to have partnered with the NHS to celebrate its 75th anniversary, and its wonderful to see the events on the custodial estate joining in the nationwide celebrations.
“‘parkrun for the NHS’ will shine a light on the incredible impact of these events on those in custody and on prison staff, whilst also paying tribute to the enormous contribution of NHS staff and volunteers.
“We hope that the NHS75 celebrations act as a springboard for strengthening the connections between parkrun events and the NHS services on the custodial estate in order to maximise the health and wellbeing benefit of walking, jogging, running or volunteering in a parkrun in custody.”
Alliance of Sport Chief Operating Officer Justin Coleman, who has supported the development of parkruns in custodial settings, said: “The parkrun partnership is testament to parts of the prison service that often remain hidden from public view.
“Health care staff inside each establishment have been particularly key to enabling this wonderful initiative which has had immensely positive physical and social impacts and has also benefited resettlement.
“The NHS and parkrun support everyone, whatever your personal and social circumstances, and this initiative proves that.”
Senior Public Health Practitioner Kerry Chevreau leads on improving health and wellbeing within the healthcare team at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, run by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Residents there will be taking part in this weekend’s celebration event.
Kerry said the HMP Berwyn parkrun had been enormously positive for the physical health and mental wellbeing of the wider prison community.
“This simple initiative is a wonderful partnership between everyone at HMP Berwyn – the men, the physical education department and other prison staff, the health service and other invited parkrunners,” she said.
“parkrun offers a really popular and meaningful physical activity for the men, helping them to keep active and connect with one another. There is a little bit of healthy competition for some, but the most impressive thing is the way coming together like this builds mutual support and trust, and boosts mental wellbeing.
“The run is open to all, and the men are really supportive of one another regardless of how fast or slow they might be. And there are also opportunities to give something back and learn new skills by volunteering or even leading the event as race director.”
One regular volunteer at parkruns inside HMP Berwyn said: “I have been a volunteer at Berwyn for a few years now and it plays an important role in my weekly routine.
“Being part of the core volunteer team gives me a sense of purpose and belonging. It also helps to give me mental stability by giving me a focus to provide our parkrunners with an efficient and professional parkrun every weekend.
“I look forward to every Saturday morning as it gives me the opportunity to enjoy the interaction with the lads and staff who take part, and share in their enthusiasm, their achievements and of course the banter.”
*Participation at custodial parkrun events is via authorised invitation only. Please refrain from contacting any custodial parkrun event teams directly