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swing park
swing park

Community Action Plan and Fund stimulate major new community improvement project

In the picturesque village of Cockburnspath, nestled along the stunning Scottish Borders coastline, the Cockburnspath Playground Association (CPA) has been hard at work.

The group has embarked on an ambitious project to breathe new life into the village's aging playpark, promising to create a vibrant hub for children and families to enjoy for years to come.

The CPA is a dedicated group of local volunteers who want to transform their community's ageing play area. Led by an experienced project manager, this passionate team is working to ensure that the young people of Cockburnspath have access to safe, modern, and engaging play equipment.

The current playpark is in need of rejuvenation, with equipment that no longer meets the needs of the community. Local nursery staff have reported that children quickly become bored with the existing facilities, often resorting to playing around the margins of the playground instead.

A refurbished park will not only provide a safe and stimulating environment for children to play but will also serve as a central gathering point for the entire community. It promises to encourage physical activity, social interaction, and imaginative play – all crucial elements in children's development.

The CPA's project aims to completely refurbish the existing playpark, which is ideally located adjacent to the Village Hall and across the road from the local primary school and nursery. The revitalized park will feature a carefully selected range of new equipment, including swings, a seesaw, a springer, a musical instrument, a carousel, and various balancing apparatus. The goal is to create a diverse and inclusive play space that caters to children of all ages, from nursery through to secondary school pupils.

The total project cost is approximately £100,000, and CPA is working diligently to secure the necessary funding through a combination of community support, local benefit funds, and potential external grant opportunities.

The project has already gained significant traction within the community. The CPA has secured a Memorandum of Understanding with Scottish Borders Council (SBC), the current landowner, ensuring that the site will remain a park area for at least 10 years after the refurbishment. SBC has also agreed to remove the old equipment and prepare the site for the new installation at no cost to the CPA.

With community consultations completed and equipment selections underway, the CPA is now focused on securing funding arrangements to bring their vision to life.

Community Consultation: A Collaborative Approach

The CPA has ensured that the community has been consulted throughout the planning process. In 2021, they conducted a comprehensive survey that received 123 responses from a village population of around 430. The results were positive, with 98% of respondents supporting the proposal and 93% agreeing to back a community project seeking funding for the upgrade.

Building on this, the CPA has continued to engage with local stakeholders, including the primary school and nursery. The group has ensured that the local children make the final choice – a strategy that has proven successful in nearby communities.

The Community Action Plan: A Blueprint for Progress

The playpark refurbishment project aligns with the village's wider Community Action Plan, which was developed in 2022 following extensive community polling. This plan identified the playpark as a key regeneration priority, reflecting the community's desire for improved recreational facilities.

The Community Action Plan has played a crucial role in identifying community priorities. It has provided a framework for coordinated action and helped to secure support from the SBC and the Cockburnspath and Cove Community Council.

The Foresight Kinegar Windfarm Community Benefit Fund has emerged as a catalyst in bringing this project to fruition as it has also played a significant role in advancing the playpark refurbishment project.

By providing crucial financial support of £25,000, Foresight Kinegar has empowered the community to take charge of its own development. This investment in local infrastructure and community wellbeing demonstrates the positive impact that local groups can have on rural communities.

The completion of this project promises to bring a multitude of benefits to Cockburnspath and its residents. It's estimated that approximately 85 children from the village will directly benefit from the new playpark, with the total number of beneficiaries, including family members and visitors, reaching around 100 people.

However, the impact of the refurbished playpark will extend far beyond these numbers. It will serve as a focal point for community gatherings, encouraging social interaction and reducing isolation among residents of all ages. Parents and caregivers will have a safe, engaging space to bring their children, fostering new friendships and strengthening existing bonds within the community.

The new park will also contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of local children, providing them with opportunities for active play and imaginative exploration. This, in turn, can lead to improved health outcomes and enhanced social skills.

Moreover, the project has the potential to stimulate further community development initiatives. Success in this endeavour could inspire confidence and enthusiasm for tackling other local priorities, whether in sports and recreation or other areas of community life.