Last week I enjoyed spending the morning at Invergowrie Primary School to speak to the children in their classrooms about plans to improve their local play area in Invergowrie Memorial Park in the next year.
The children told me what they thought of the park and what was missing, what would make it better, how often they visited the park and how they travelled there. We also talked about how we could make it more accessible for people with disabilities.
I used my flash cards to prompt discussion on their favourite types of play as it’s important to understand how they like to play before deciding what equipment would help them enjoy their time at the park. Top things to do in order of priority were playing on logs and boulders, climbing, ball games, sliding , playing on mounds and slopes, adventure trails and sledging.
Some of the children had already been thinking of ideas for the park and I came back to the office with a pile of great drawings. The children were all excited about possible improvements and keen to give me their ideas. I said I would keep in touch with the children on progress and get back to them if there were any decisions on equipment and layout we needed help with.
As well as this there is great interest from the local community. Invergowrie and Kingoodie Community Group was officially constituted in January 2018 after around 18 months of public meetings and people coming together to talk about how they want to improve their villages.
At the top of their agenda is improvements to the park. They are looking at doing their own fundraising for park improvements such as enhanced play equipment, community growing space, additional signage and interpretation highlighting the park’s historical significance.
They are keen to improve a much loved community space and also to bring the local community together. Invergowrie Memorial Park is at the heart of their villages being the only public green space, children’s play equipment space and having the villages’ war memorial.
I worked with the group to carry out a public consultation about the park in 2017 which had over 160 responses. By the far the biggest response to what could be improved was play equipment (88.5% of respondents) but benches, bins and flowers/plants all featured highly too.