Borders secures over £900,000 to improve community spaces

Borders secures over £900,000 to improve community spaces

Fountainhall Village Hall and Selkirk play park are among those benefiting

Nearly a million pounds is being shared out across the Borders in the latest wave of Big Lottery Fund grants.

The funding comes from a £10 million pot from the charity being shared out across Scotland to help spruce up community spaces.

Fountainhall Village Hall and Chirnside Community Centre are both receiving a quarter of a million pounds each.

Fountainhall Village Community Council Secretary Jenny Mushlin has been speaking to Radio Borders News about what this means to them...

Meanwhile, a Selkirk school is celebrating today after receiving a grant of £248,750 to update and expand a neighbouring play area.

The revamped Bannerfield Play Park will feature a large all-weather multi-use games area (muga), brand new play equipment and a network of tarmac walkways which will connect to footpaths being constructed as part of the Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme.

Dubbed Bannerfield Active, the project is being led by Philiphaugh Community School.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “Our Community Spaces programme allows local people to get together and shape their neighbourhood by making better use of outdoor and indoor spaces. Today’s investment allows for the development, improvement and creation of village halls, community gardens, art centres, sports and play facilities.

"For some areas, the refurbishment of a village hall will create a welcoming centre which can support a range of activities. For others, the transformation of a disused space offers a secure recreational place for everyone to enjoy.”

The newer of the play park’s two existing swing sets will remain, with the older set being removed to make space for new play equipment.  Pupils, parents and local residents were consulted on what they would most like to see in the revitalised space, with swings, monkey bars, slides and a zip wire proving popular choices with the children. 

The muga, measuring 29m x 14m, will be suitable for a variety of sports including football, hockey and basketball.  Once complete, the fenced play park area of the development will be accessible to pupils directly from school grounds via a new gate and tarmac pathway, and to the wider community through separate gates.

Grace Frew, Headteacher of Philiphaugh Community School, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole school and the local community. The children have been very much involved and are very excited that funding has been awarded.

“It is wonderful that Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Community Spaces grant has recognised the strong community spirit in Bannerfield and everyone is looking forward to the improved facilities this funding will deliver." 

Councillor Vicky Davidson, Executive Member for Culture, Sport, Youth and Communities, added: “This is great news for the whole area and it is going to be so exciting to see this new, fantastic outdoor space take shape over the next few months.

“This has been a fun project to be involved in, with a lot of input from local children and their parents.  I'm delighted that the funding is now in place for the new playground to be built this summer.”