In the 1930’s St Fillans Parish Council minutes said it would be good to have a play park in the village. It’s taken the community several years and much fundraising (£160,000+) but all worth the hard work to see the children (and adults!) run in and play once the ribbon was cut this Saturday. It was a pleasure to work with the volunteer committee that pulled off creating this amazing, creative space.
Photos by Diane Cassidy & Nick Bowen
Work is underway to build a new play area in St Fillans. Volunteers from the community have been very successful in raising funds for to make their dream of a creative play area a reality. They hope to have the work finished mid March and the park will be ready to use soon after then.
They have incorporated elements of the local history in the design, drawing on the factual and fictional myths of the area (e.g. Neish Island, eternal geese, the faerie stone and croc rocks, Dundurn Hill) to create an unique playpark which can inspire children to create their own legends and learn through play.
The Provost officially opened the refurbished Alyth Square this week, with help from Alyth Primary School children, following intense works to overhaul the space. The square is now accessible for all residents, with dropped kerbs and wide pavements. Access for buses has been improved and parking spaces were retained.
The opening was attended by representatives from Alyth Development Trust, the local Community Council, Alyth in Bloom and the church. The project received almost £500,000 of funding, including £250,000 from Perth & Kinross Council. Alyth Development Trust organised local consultations, applied for grants and spent 18 months fundraising to make up the shortfall. The Centre for Inclusive Living Perth & Kinross provided advice on the accessibility of the design, which was all completed in-house by Perth & Kinross Council.
For further details on the project, please see the PKC website: http://www.pkc.gov.uk/alythplacecheck
Following extensive public engagement, we are pleased to hear that the work in Alyth square is to be completed later this month. The Council has worked closely with Alyth Development Trust, Alyth Community Council and the wider community to develop the project which has seen an investment of around £500,000 in upgrading the town square. This complements the works done to replace the bridges following the flooding.
The aim of the improvements are to:
- Create a square that is pedestrian friendly, with improved access for all pedestrians, wider pavements, reduced street clutter and dropped kerbs at key locations.
- Create a flexible space which would enable opportunities for outdoor events to be held in the Square whilst recognising the everyday need for car parking.
- Improve bus access, pedestrian safety and passenger boarding facilities
On Friday, the community of Blackford celebrated the completion of a new park with a barbecue for local residents. A plaque marking the occasion was unveiled by former councillor Anne Gaunt. Perth & Kinross Council replaced the existing equipment while Blackford Improvement Group (BIG) raised thousands of pounds to buy extra apparatus for the park.
Last week I met with Invergowrie and Kingoodie Community Group who have improvements to Invergowrie Park at the top of their agenda. Following on from the workshops at the school and a couple of community surveys, our Landscape Architect, Russell, had drawn up a draft plan for the park to help with discussions.
The old equipment has come to the end of it’s life and the new play equipment will fit into the woodland setting, being made of wood with ropes. There will also be informal play encouraged with mounds and logs.
It is hoped the new play area can incorporate equipment suitable for children with a range of abilities, such as a roundabout accessible by wheelchair, a basket swing and sensory equipment, with pathways for access.
The community are looking at doing their own fundraising for park improvements to add to the funds the Council has committed to spend and hope to raise money in the future for things like a seesaw, sensory equipment, lighting bollards, path and fence improvements. They are also hoping to involve the Men’s Shed in the project. Watch out locally for news on the pub quiz fundraiser and the Wine & Gin Tasting evening!
You can read more about play area improvements on our webpage
Coalition of national organisations call on political leaders to save UK parks
On the first day of summer, the UK’s political leaders are being asked by Greenspace Scotland to champion parks and local public greenspaces across the UK to halt and reverse their decline. The Charter for Parks, launched today by the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, and a coalition of national organisations, calls on Prime Minister Theresa May and First Ministers Nicola Sturgeon, Carwyn Jones and Arlene Foster, to celebrate these spaces so vital for all communities and take action to safeguard them
The Charter calls on the UK’s four political leaders to:
- Endorse a legal duty for all public greenspace to be managed to a good standard
- Ensure adequate long-term resources for maintenance, management and improvements
- Recognise the right of every citizen to have access within walking distance to a good-quality public greenspace
- Celebrate the central role well-run parks play in our neighbourhoods for all sections of our communities
- Embed effective protection from inappropriate development or use, or loss of any part of our parks
- Encourage and enable community involvement and empowerment of local people and park users
Groups and organisations throughout the UK are being urged to sign up to the new Charter from today and throughout the summer. Representatives from Friends of Parks Groups in Edinburgh gathered in greenspace beside the Scottish Parliament to launch the Charter for Parks in Scotland. Events also took place at Westminster and Cardiff. Dave Morris, Chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, said: “Time is running out for local parks across the UK. Continuous budget cuts to staffing and maintenance are leaving them vulnerable to neglect and deterioration, or even sell offs. Many people think local councils are legally responsible for maintaining local parks and open spaces but unfortunately, unlike waste collection, that’s not the case yet. Our Parks Charter calls on the leaders of all four home nations to take action to ensure these essential and highly-popular public resources are properly funded, managed, maintained, and protected for current and future generations. As the voice of the movement of more than 6,000 local Friends of Parks Groups throughout the UK we recognise the immense contribution that these community volunteers are playing. Now it’s time for government to show an equal commitment to act. The public will not forgive political leaders who let the sun set on the UK’s parks.” Julie Procter, Chief Executive of greenspace scotland said: “Scotland’s parks are one of our national treasures, but they face an increasingly uncertain future. Like many public services, they have been feeling the pinch; and with no legal duty to maintain parks, too often they are seen as an easy budget cut. Parks really are our natural health service, our children’s outdoor classrooms, our cities’ green lungs – essential to our quality of life, our sense of place and community. Yet we are rapidly approaching a tipping point leading to the downward spiral of reduced maintenance, poorer quality greenspaces and lower levels of use.” We call on politicians, organisations and park users to stand up for parks and support the Charter.” Allison Ogden-Newton, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy said: “As the operators of the national standard for parks and green spaces – the Green Flag Award – we know how important the provision of these quality spaces is to local communities and the health, prosperity and wellbeing of our nation. We welcome this charter.” Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: “Our research demonstrates that parks and green spaces have proven physical and mental health benefits. These are valuable places; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play. We need to champion and support these precious spaces by protecting them for people to enjoy in perpetuity. Because once lost, they are lost forever.” David Lambert, Trustee at The Gardens Trust said: “Our heritage of public parks is a national treasure but as a discretionary service, parks remain first in line for budget cuts, and eight years of austerity have seen disastrous reductions in staffing and maintenance. We need central government to recognise the scale of the problem and the risk to health that poses, with all the consequent human and financial cost.” Notes
- Organisations and groups are encouraged to sign the charter via the Charter for Parks website. parkscharter.org.uk Twitter: @parkscharter Facebook: parkscharter
- The Charter for Parks is launched on the first day of summer (21 June 2018) with the initial support of the following founding organisations: National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, The Parks Alliance, greenspace scotland, Keep Britain Tidy, Fields in Trust, Friends of the Earth, Llais y Goedwig (the voice of community woodlands in Wales), The Parks Agency, The Gardens Trust, Unison, and 38 Degrees.
- In 2016, the State of UK Public Parks report from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) found a continuing decline in the state of parks’ infrastructure while public use of public parks was increasing. More
- In February 2017, an inquiry into the future of public parks by MPs on the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee recognised that parks are at a ‘tipping point’ and reported that “without being able to demonstrate the contribution made by parks to broader agendas local authority parks departments will find it difficult to secure sufficient priority”. More
- In May 2018, the Scottish Parliament Local Government & Communities Committee held a roundtable evidence session on access to greenspace. More
The survey results for the upcoming improvements to Play Areas throughout the region are now with our Landscape Architects and we’d like to say a big ‘Thank you!’ to all who took the time to tell us their views.
We had an amazing 338 responses and we met with over 250 school children in workshops we held at their schools, where children were able to draw up their own designs.
Working with our Rangers and Community Capacity Builder, key groups from some of the communities will now begin to bring their ideas to fruition by raising awareness and funds for additional equipment.
If you’d like to be involved in improving one of the play areas below, or have ideas for one near you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stanley Crescent, Perth
- Hay Street, Coupar Angus
- Westfield Common, Rattray
Please see our website for the latest information
Community Greenspace are always keen to involve people in decisions about their play areas. We are now looking ahead to the play areas we hope to upgrade over the next few years and would like to ask you a few questions about your local play area. Please click on the survey link if you have an interest in any of the following play areas:
Perth & Kinross Council maintains over 150 play areas; to allow us to manage these to a satisfactory standard we have a rolling programme of play area improvements. Each year we focus on the improvement of approximately six play areas that are coming close to the end of their usable life, usually after 15-20 years. The guiding principle of the new designs is to balance a stimulating playscape with the need to be low maintenance. To this end, the council aims to provide places that are fun to use and are in an attractive setting.
Last year we had over 1000 comments on our play area surveys and we are hoping to involve even more people this year. We have also supported a number of communities to improve their local parks and play areas. These community groups raised almost £300,000.
These funds have been raised to add additional equipment and features to Blackford Park, create a new woodland play area in St Fillans, renew the historic terraces in Pitlochry Recreation Park, add inclusive play equipment to MacRosty Park and fund a BMX park at Westfield Common.
We are grateful to the huge amount of volunteer time and effort given by people who care about their parks
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.