New pocket park for University of Derby campus

This image shows the outside of the University of Derby's Britannia Mill campus
The University of Derby's Britannia Mill campus will be the site of one of the new parks (Credit: Rosie Cowell)

Derby City Council has announced the construction of a ‘pocket park’ which will open this summer at the University of Derby’s Britannia Mill campus. 

The pocket park will be a green space for people to sit and meet with friends and family in the sun, enjoying a coffee or a bite to eat and aims to encourage local people to exercise more regularly.

There will be options to walk, run and cycle in the fresh air, with places to securely park bicycles. 

Plants will be planted to provide a vibrant and inviting atmosphere whilst increasing the biodiversity and sustainability of the area.

There will also be ‘pocket parks’ set up across six other areas of the city which include London Road in Alvaston, Burton Road and Harrington Road in Littleover, Uttoxeter Road in Mickleover, Etwall Road also in Mickleover and Chapel Street in Spondon.

These are sure to provide great opportunities for socialisation and fitness in Derby.

Heidi Shutts (21) is a Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing student from Burntwood in Staffordshire, who studies at Britannia Mill.

She thinks it will be beneficial to university students to allow them to mingle with their course mates

She said: “In the summer it gives them the opportunity to chat and socialise. 

“A lot of people on my course are quite talkative and will speak to anyone. It will be quite nice for them to meet different people especially during Freshers’ Week.

Heidi also thinks it will help with mental health and will be good for the public to have a space away from bustling city life.

“For me, sitting outside gives me a new perspective on things and I think for anyone who is stressed, being outside can provide mindfulness and a chance to escape technology or any other life stresses.

“Derby is very urban so it would be good for people to eat their lunch on a bench in the fresh air.

“By Britannia Mill, there is a big field but there’s not a lot of benches so having an area with benches will encourage people to go there more. 

An image of a picnic bench in Markeaton Park
Benches like this one would be welcomed by the students to eat lunch and chat (Credit: Graham Toney/Alamy)

“People don’t want to sit on wet grass for example but sitting on a bench can help them connect with nature.

“If you’re like me, I always enjoy looking at plants and it would make me respect the environment more.”

Mathias Georgiadis (19) is a film student from Michigan in the United States but is currently living in Matlock. 

He welcomes the introduction of a new park for students where they can relax away from their studies.

“I think it’s really important that they are doing this because at university there is a lot of stress with studying and tests and having a place to go would be nice especially a chill, green area. 

“It will benefit our mental health and help us destress and we could also do coursework there whenever we want.

The park could also assist with university deadlines, providing new avenues for creative content.

“It would open not just a lot of personal opportunities but also educational opportunities for me. Having this nice place would benefit not just students but the programme overall. 

“It gives us a new place to film. Right now we have Markeaton Park but that’s a trek right now, we’ve got to walk pretty far.

“The locations are also overused so having a new park would definitely benefit in the long-term.”

He believes it is important that our cities prioritise having green space despite the rapid urbanisation, especially in Derby.

“I think, here in England, I’m still new here as an American, but when you go into industrialised areas there isn’t a lot of green and it’s affected my mental health being around here but having a park where nature is allowed to be nature, I think that would definitely benefit us.

Mathias went on to compare it to his home in Michigan.

“It is very different, even your small towns are very compact and industrialised. Outside of the towns there is a lot of green but here in Derby it’s all buildings and where I’m from in Michigan, cities like Ann Arbor and around that area have parks like Gallup Park and Wilson’s Park which are nice natural places to go after school.

“I feel like it’s lacking here,” he added.

The park will also allow busy students to take breaks to exercise and look after their bodies.

Mathias said: “Uni has been very demanding. I used to be very active but it has been a while since I’ve taken care of my physical wellbeing and the introduction of a park would inspire me to go out more and benefit my physical activity”

He would be keen to visit the other six locations around the Derbyshire region and travel more. Mathias said: “Right now I just go from the bus station to university and back to the bus station so it’s just the same route but if they make these parks then I’ll have more drive to see more and see what Derby has to offer.”

In short, the parks would be highly welcomed by Derby’s university students, who are keen to have spaces to take care of their mental and physical health on their doorstep. 

Derby City Council currently has a wide range of schemes to help any students struggling with any mental health issues. This can be found here: