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National Trust Urges Cooped Up Britons To Take Back Weekend

Monday, 01 June 2009

The National Trust is today urging Brits to reclaim their weekends after a new study revealed that we have become a nation of unofficial weekend workers.

A survey carried out by the Trust reveals that 45 per cent of us returned to work today feeling exhausted after a weekend spent largely indoors at home, catching up on work or in cars and indoor shopping centres.

Many workers will have spent the weekend worrying about work, with 57 per cent admitting to working at weekends or during days off once a month or more.

However, the National Trust hopes to urge more of us to take back our weekend and instead spend time relaxing with family and friends.

The survey also revealed that workers are so worried about missing an important call or email that 70 per cent would never leave home without their mobile phone or BlackBerry. One in 10 even takes a laptop on holiday. 

The situation appears to be getting worse and although people know how to relax - with 43 per cent saying they would feel more refreshed after a weekend spent outdoors - one in four now feels under more pressure than ever before to work at the weekend.

Health psychologist, author and broadcaster, David Moxon, said: "Spending time outdoors can be beneficial for both our physical and mental health. 

"Physically, we know that sunlight can enhance mood by affecting the production of bodily chemicals such as melatonin and serotonin. Being outdoors even on a dull day can lift our spirits.  Psychologically, it can distract us from the pressures of work and create a sense of 'mental space' in which we can be creative and re-think old ideas.  

"It can also give us the opportunity to actively slow down our physical pace of life - which can only be a good thing."

The survey of 2,000 people across the UK also revealed that those in the South East are most concerned by not spending enough time outdoors while those in Northern Ireland are the hardest working with 51 per cent spending more than 10 hours in the office each day of the working week.

Those in the North East are the most likely to make it to work when they are sick, with 76 per cent struggling into the office. People in the East Midlands are the most likely to take a laptop on holiday to complete work tasks with 12 per cent taking their computer away.

Fiona Reynolds, director general of The National Trust, said: "It's sad that the pace of modern life means that so many of us are now spending our weekends and free time indoors worrying about work.

"For many of us, weekends provide a much needed chance to relax and enjoy ourselves. What a shame it is that so many start the working week feeling exhausted.

"From the results of our survey it is clear that there's huge benefit to be gained from making  the most of our free time by enjoying the simple pleasures in life.

"People in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are never more than 40 minutes away from a National Trust property, where we can promise free time will be well spent. They offer beauty, expanses of parkland and gardens where visitors can recharge their batteries." 

The National Trust's campaign to 'take back your weekend' is supported by Enjoy England. This summer the organisation is urging everyone to make the most of their free time by enjoying every minute and treating each and every weekend like a holiday. 

For more information about all of The National Trust's properties visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.




Interviews are available with spokespeople from the National Trust and David Moxon


Notes to Editors:

  • More than 2,000 adults across the UK took part in the survey which was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the National Trust in May 2009
  • The National Trust is currently featuring in the Enjoy England national TV campaign, 'Enjoy Every Minute'. Designed to inspire and stimulate, the multimedia TV advert features a series of spectacular aerial photographs illustrating just some of the treasures England has waiting to be explored this summer. Showcasing Glendurgan Garden, famous for its bewildering laurel maze, and the beautiful island St Michael's Mount, the National Trust's 10 second advert will follow on from the original Enjoy England advert in the same commercial break. It will be played approximately 3-4,000 times across a variety of terrestrial and digital channels until the 28 June, on a week - on, week - off basis
  • The National Trust has a host of summer events perfect to refresh your soul from outdoor theatre to firework displays and outdoor proms - log onto www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events for more information
  • Family admission prices are great value. There is no definitive price as they vary from property to property but the average price is just £13.72 for a family of four (under 5yrs are free of charge).
  • To find out more information on properties protected by The National Trust please log on to www.nationaltrust.org.uk
  • The National Trust is Europe's biggest conservation organisation and looks after special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland for ever, for everyone. People and places are at the heart of everything it does. Over 3.5 million members,  over 50,000 volunteers, 500,000 school children, and millions of visitors, donors and supporters help the Trust look after 300 historic houses and gardens, 707 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of open countryside.