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Glenavon Residents Association

24 October 2014
Children's playpark

Glenavon Residents Association was set up in January 2012 to represent local tenants who live in three tower blocks in Glenavon, Maryhill which is home to some 360 individuals and families. Despite living so close together, many residents said they didn’t actually know their neighbours very well. Indeed, there was a lack of opportunities for people to get together to build community spirit; there was nowhere for children to play, or nowhere older people could meet up with neighbours or friends.

Glenavon is one of the most deprived areas in the country and like many areas faces issues of low income, poverty and unemployment.

The volunteer-run association decided to take action and harnessed support within the community to set about revitalising the area, working alongside the Housing Association and local councillors. They surveyed residents and the need for a play park with a seating area and benches came top of the priority list. The association worked hard involving all members of the community and raised a fantastic amount of money towards the project. 

In 2013 the group was awarded a grant of £1000 from Red Nose Day Community Cash to purchase a basketball hoop and also received a grant of £3874 from the ScotRail Foundation towards the cost of installing a safety surface for the play park.

Foundation Scotland was delighted to be invited along to the opening of the new play park in July.  The former derelict area in the centre of the three tower blocks has been transformed into a welcoming open space for all members of the community to enjoy. 

As well as having a basketball hoop, climbing frame and green space for children and young people there are picnic benches for mums and dads, neighbours and other residents. As a result, parents are encouraged to let their children out to play and have fun, because they too have somewhere to supervise them, while getting to know other parents and their neighbours. Cartoon murals have been spray painted onto surrounding walls – giving the community hub a cool, urban feel which will hopefully encourage teenagers and older children that this is a safe and friendly spot where they can come to socialise and play.

P1000325As well as building relations and enhancing community spirit, the new play park promotes health and well being and encourages youngsters and their families to lead healthier lifestyles by getting outside and taking part in some physical activity. 

Many ethnic minority families live in Glenavon and the flats are also home to a number of asylum seekers and refugees. This new hub in the heart of the community is a great way for people of all ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures to come together and build relationships. 

We have somewhere for the kids to get outdoors and play, instead of being stuck in the house or having to walk miles to the local park."  Local resident

The Association is also keen to get local people involved in its volunteering projects. Recently, volunteers got together to paint some railings and make the area look as good as possible before the opening. In doing so, they feel people have a sense of ownership and increased desire to keep the area and play park looking good.

Glenavon Residents Association secretary Ann MacPherson said: "It is a godsend that the money was awarded through Foundation Scotland for this project and has made an enormous difference in peoples lives, in helping the residents integrate and kids having somewhere to play at last and not to mention how this park has made the area in and around the high rise towers look bright and pleasant.  With a lot of hard work and commitment from the Association and other partnerships we are very proud of our achievement and continue to make improvements in and around our estate."

This is just the beginning. Glenavon Residents Association is   keen to continue to help children, parents and older people to come together to build a strong, vibrant community – where people are proud to work, play and live.

Funded By Comic Relief Logo 2009         CSR Logomonopms

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