Community spirit at play in Carstairs

Communities in Clydesdale are renowned for rallying round to help a good cause on their doorsteps.

Carstairs Village play park has been transformed, thanks to a huge community effort which began in June 2018 and has now finally been realised - much to local children's delight!

Carstairs Village play park is a prime example of that community spirit still being alive and kicking.

In June 2018, mum Gayle Scott hatched a plan to refurbish the play park in the village green, which had been neglected for around a decade.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A member of the Carstairs Village Primary School Parent Partnership, Gayle soon had the support of her fellow parents.

Zipline is proving a big hit with children of all ages.

And, with guidance from the landscape team at South Lanarkshire Council and the endorsement of primary school head teacher Angela Sneddon, they made the play park their mission.

First and foremost, they had to raise £4000 to be able to apply for funding from larger organisations.

Gayle said: “Everyone in the community got behind us – from the pupils and parents who held a silent disco and bag packing days in Tesco and B&M to businesses and community groups. We were overwhelmed by the support we received.”

By January 2019, they had amassed just under £9000 and went on to secure match funding from the Levenseat Trust (£29,000), Renewable Energy Fund (£30,000), Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (£25,000), Quarry Fund (£3589) and Tesco Bags for Help (£1166).

The Parent Partnership was determined to give youngsters and the wider community a say on how the new play park would look.

Children were asked to come up with ideas and there were lots of them, from skate parks and zip slides to chutes and swings.

A community consultation event was also held in the community centre to harness more views.

Gayle said: “These ideas helped to assist the planning team and shape the brand new design of the park. The redesign cost just under £100,000 and we had everything in place last March when the pandemic hit.”

Due to challenges posed by Covid, the contractor Covanburn was unable to start work until January this year.

But they worked tirelessly with Joe Gillies from the landscape team and planner Veronika Svatosova and on Friday, May 28, the park finally re-opened … it hasn’t been quiet ever since!

Gayle said: “The first weekend, more than 200 people were there each day enjoying the new equipment.

"It’s been absolutely crazy – we’ve even had people coming up from Wishaw, Motherwell and Newmains!

"The kids are absolutely loving it; our son Harris (15) is a bit too old to enjoy it but Eilidh (12) and her friends are down there every night!

"There’s two areas – one for wee ones and another for older children so it’s got something for everyone.”

Of course, the dream hatched back in 2018 could not have been realised without support.

Gayle added: “The park is an excellent example of what can be achieved when a community pulls together. We want to say a very big thank you to everyone who made it possible.”

A huge thank you is extended to all the businesses and organisations that contributed.

They were as follows: Carstairs Community Centre Carstairs Community Council, Carstairs Drama Group, Carstairs Gala Committee, Carstairs Masonic Lodge, Carstairs Pre-5 Group, Carstairs Senior Citizens, Carstairs Toddler Group, Carstairs Women’s Institute, Dan Henderson Garage, Davidson & Lindsay Electrical, DM Risk Management, Ian Brown Funeral Directors, Johnstone Oils, McColl’s, ML12 Aviation Services, Mouse Valley Plant Hire, Revitalise Physiotherapy, Rosemount Car Sales, RX Pharmacy, Scott Brothers Joiners and Synergy 3 Group.