Abronhill school pupils christen new ‘kickabout’ area

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 22:48 on 23 June 2014.
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23-06-2014 - By Scott Campbell (+44) 0774 296 870 - Broom Road Kickabout opening; Image 4.
Picture: Cumbernauld Media.

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ABRONHILL school pupils officially opened their new ‘kickabout’ area today (23 June), after a one year project to regenerate the Broom Road area of Cumbernauld.

As we reported on Friday, 19th April, 2013, North Lanarkshire Council was awarded £18,000 to establish the AstroTurf football pitch, in Broom Road. 

The money was awarded to the authority through the Scottish Government’s £10million ‘Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund’ programme, which aims to fund sports and recreation projects across the country to ensure a long-term legacy from the Commonwealth Games.

The cash injection meant that work could start on the project, which resulted in the construction of an AstroTurf football pitch in the Broom Road area of Abronhill, which pupils played the ceremonial first matches on today (23 June), following its opening. 

Joined by council officials, SNP councillor Liz Irvine, Abronhill school children and representatives from Abronhill Regeneration Forum, the pitch was opened in the traditional fashion – by a ribbon cutting, which was undertaken by a senior Abronhill High School pupil. 

The project’s completion comes after the ‘Broom Road playarea’ was opened this time last year, after efforts by community activist, Gail MacDonald, to secure the area’s planning, financing and construction. 

Opening the playpark on June 25 last year, Ms MacDonald welcomed the new £140,000 addition to Abronhill, telling Cumbernauld Media that she “had a vision to create an exciting, natural play space”.

“After attending a Play Scotland Conference in 2010 which looked at the development and benefits of outdoor play and learning I felt inspired to create an exciting innovative natural play space for children in our community,” Ms MacDonald told us at the time. 

“I discussed my ideas with members of the local community; there was great interest and overwhelming support for the concept of creating something unique using the principals of play involving the natural elements.

“I had a vision to create an exciting, natural play space on the site of an existing play area at Broom Road, Abronhill. The few items of play equipment in the existing site where old, offered limited play opportunities and no longer conformed to current European Safety Standards. My aim was to regenerate and redevelop this rundown dilapidated area so that it would offer dynamic play opportunities for children 0 – 16 years.”

She added: “We delivered consultation workshops with the pupil councils of Whitelees Primary School and Abronhill High School and their ideas and suggestions have been incorporated into the design to ensure we are creating a space that meets the aspirations of our children and young people. 

“It was clear that the children are very disappointed in the play area as it stood but excited at the prospect of it being redeveloped. We also carried out a community survey the findings where used in the planning process. Our findings showed overwhelming support for our proposal with 100% of respondents agreeing with our proposal to create an exciting and unique natural play space.

“The result of the various consultation exercises informed our design brief to create a play space which offers a way of life linked to outdoor experiences. Children given the opportunity will explore and research their environment. We have developed an environment supporting challenging play with managed risk opportunities while allowing children to find their own levels of courage, resourcefulness, co-operation, compromise and acceptability; a place where children can create good childhood memories, become confident, successful learners and share a respectful understanding of the natural world in which we live, allowing them to grow into responsible citizens able in turn to make effective contributions to their communities in the future. But more than anything we have created a space that will be fun for children to play.

“The natural play space incorporates materials such as grass and sand plus boulders, planting and mounding. There is a covered area suitable for rest, socializing and storytelling, various types of physical play opportunities such as balance and climbing structures, bridges, a grass covered tunnel and stepping logs. There is also fixed play equipment chosen by local children as a result of consultation. We have created a play space that appeals to their senses with the use of planting, megaphones, binoculars and textured surfaces.

“I have been working in partnership with Christina McGready at CultureNL and North Lanarkshire Council we secured grant funding from a number of funders including Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN), Biffa-award, the Environmental Key Fund and North Lanarkshire Council totalling £140,000. Work start on site in February 2013 and the play area was completed in June 2013.”
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