Celebrations erupted in Earlston this week with news that an adventure play park project is to get £250,000 of lottery funding after all.
It follows last year’s disappointment when the Big Lottery Fund rejected a community trust bid for money for the proposed adventure play park, which would be sited on an area of land known as the Cauldie.
The rejection was on the grounds Earlston was deemed weak in terms of community cohesion. There were doubts the project could bring the local community together and the scheme was also blighted by confusion over actual ownership of the site.
However, that has all since been resolved and, following a reassessment of the bid by the Big Lottery Fund last month, there was joy for villagers, with news that Earlston Community Development Trust (ECDT) has now secured the substantial cash award.
The total cost of the project is pegged at approximately £310,000, with additional funding expected to come from a variety of other sources.
The Big Lottery Fund confirmed the funding award – one of the largest ever – as part of its Community Spaces Scotland programme.
Mags Powell, chair of ECDT, says all those involved are over the moon: “Last year, we were devastated as the project started to look unachievable due to land and funding concerns, however, the land issue has been resolved and we are delighted to have secured this funding as we can now plan to progress work on site during 2015.
“Our project will have huge benefits to young people and the wider community in Earlston, and we aim to deliver a much-needed high-quality community facility for all.”
The plan is for the new play park to have a sensory path, a suitably equipped play area for children of all abilities up to 18, a multi-use shelter, seating and picnic areas.
Scottish Borders Council leader, David Parker, one of the three local SBC members for Earlston, told us: “I’m absolutely thrilled the Big Lottery Fund has announced its support for this project.
“The volunteers who run ECDT have worked enormously hard over the last three years to make the project a reality and it is fantastic their efforts have secured this funding.
“We’ve worked with the Big Lottery Fund and other funders to support this project from the outset and I’m pleased funding is now in place to allow the project to take place in 2015.”