Rothes Community Playpark is located in the small town of Rothes Moray, the park has recently been upgraded to include a variety of fun and inclusive play equipment as chosen by the school, nursery and wider community.
The committee was created in December 2020 by a group of Mums who wanted to update a rundown, increasingly sparse, unloved park to create a fun, safe, inclusive space. Due to funding restrictions many items in the old park were removed due to safety concerns but not replaced therefore the park was nearing end of life. Families forced to meet outdoors in the pandemic began to feel the negative effects of having a poor outdoor space. The community felt the old park was not suited for all ages 0 to 12, particular for children aged 5 to 8 years therefore not meeting the needs of all families. Rothes is several miles from the next village therefore this space really is an important part of community life, evident by the community support given and community feedback given.
The group worked in partnership with Moray Council, who own the space, to raise an incredible £163,000 in 6 months through inventive fundraising ideas due to the restrictions of Covid lockdowns. Fundraising efforts were supported by a huge variety of local groups and individuals who went up and beyond to make the project succeed within the short deadline given by Moray Council, due to budget restrictions. In the end the community surpassed their funding target by an incredible £43,000 which was used to add additional play equipment to the park and a fence to surround the area as requested by the community.
The school, nursery and wider community have been central to making all decisions involved in the design of this space, from initial community surveys that shaped the requirements on the tender, to voting and feedback (online and in person) on designs received. We were overjoyed to have the support of so many local businesses and funders who saw the worth in the project.
Although the group experienced several delays to works due to a backlog of jobs because of covid, work began only a couple of months behind schedule in May 2022 by Kompan Scotland. Work was finished in stages with the initial area of the park opening in July 22 and the official park opening on the completion of all equipment in September 22. The community celebrated with an opening event inviting the local school and nursery as well as the wider community and funders to a ribbon cutting event.
On the completion of the project the community group continue to work in partnership with Moray Council to look after this space holding regular litter picks. An end of project survey found our park is visited far more frequently and by a wider range of visitors from the surrounding area which in turn benefits our whole town. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the committee are ecstatic to see the park so well used daily.
Supporting StatementBuild and design quality
Our park was designed by Kompan Scotland who won the tender with a clear majority from our vote (electronically and in-person) and Moray Council review. From our initial surveys we knew being inclusive was a huge priority to our new park, Kompan incorporated a wet pour rubber surface as an essential part to the new design to replace the old bark pits. The new design incorporates 12 of the items highly requested from the initial surveys. Feedback showed 97% of our community felt the new park meets the needs of the town. Furthermore our completion survey found visitation to the park has drastically increased.
Enhancement of local built environment
The previous park was becoming a bit of an eye sore with several pieces of equipment already removed leaving blank spaces within the old park and more equipment nearing the end of life. Bark pits were becoming muddy puddles and edging rotting. Our initial survey feedback found the community viewed the park as ‘neglected, dirty, unsafe and tired’. It was important to the community that the new park was bright, colourful, and fun. We asked visitors at our ribbon cutting event to name 3 words to describe the new park and found ‘inviting, fantastic and fun’ to be a few of the positive words given. The playpark group have now been approached by other community groups in the area who would like to complete a similar transformation in their own town.
Community Involvement Benefit and Impact
Community decision making was central to this project with the initial survey creating the requirements for the tender information. The community and school voted upon the results of the tender electronically and in person with a socially distanced pop up event in the park. The community fundraised through the 2nd covid lockdown with creative socially distanced events such as tea parties, sponsored walks, stalls in the square, a tattie bogle treasure hunt, pub quiz and our fire crew completed a 24-hour challenge on a dreich night. We found 97% of our community either agreed or agreed strongly that the community were central to the decision-making process. The playpark committee have established a litter picking group which meet once a month, although many can often be seen tidying on their daily walk.
Moray Council invested £50,000 toward this project to support the fundraising and community engagement received when the committee was formed. This money however came with a deadline of 6 months until the tender needed to be released. The group created fundraising milestones with £120,000 being the top tier which would guarantee wet pour accessible surfacing the most expensive element to the new park. A combination of fundraising and investment from local funders and businesses lead to the group raising £163,000, by surpassing their funding target the group decided to implement both project 1 and 2 of their action plan together rather than fundraising separately. This drastically reduced completion time.