Mums swing into action
WHEN'S a playpark not a playpark?
When a group of mums from Selkirk are involved.
Squeaky swings, a rusting rocker, and a sleepy seesaw are all that currently awaits children entering the Pringle Park.
But ambitious plans, which took a giant step forward this week, hope to turn the town's main recreation area into the coolest hang-out in the Borders.
The £300,000 scheme would see the introduction of state-of-the-art equipment for youngsters as well as bike jumps and rock climbing for teenagers, and plenty of new seating and landscaping to keep us oldies happy as well.
Over the past few years the Selkirk Playpark Project has raised over £10,000 by organising hill races, quiz nights and cake sales.
And with the blessing of the town's Common Good Trustees, it is set to make its second round application of £250,000 to the Big Lottery Fund as well as smaller applications to Scottish Borders Council's Landfill Communities Fund and the Community Grant Scheme.
Vice chair of the Selkirk Playpark Project, Margaret Sweetnam, told the Border Telegraph: "You just have to look round the Pringle Park to see the need for new equipment. We want to go further than just put in some new swings, though, we want to create a space that will be attractive to everyone in the community and encourage our children to become active."
The group of mums want to import huge boulders and felled trees onto the park as well as create areas of drystane dyking and raised landscaping.
And they believe they can use the park's natural slope to enhance the experience further for youngsters.
Mrs Sweetnam added: "We want to create a park that will attract visitors from all over. Familes in Selkirk go over to Tweedbank or Hawick just now - even Lauder - as the parks in their own town are so poor."
The Playpark committee will unveil their full plans at an open evening in Selkirk Rugby Club on Thursday, September 13.
Secretary Kerry Gentleman said: "This is something we want the whole of Selkirk to get behind. We want to turn this neglected park into an inspiring, safe and stimulating natural play area for the enjoyment of the whole community."
To meet with Big Lottery Fund regulations the mums group need to take control of either the whole park or the area to be developed.
And this week Trustees of Selkirk Common Good met to rubber stamp a 10-year tenure.
Chair of the Selkirk Playpark Project, Alison Cullen, told us: "We hope to come to some sort of agreement with Scottish Borders Council for them to maintain the park - but we will need to continue fundraising once it has been developed to cover maintenance and repairs."
The area of farmland that is now the Pringle Park was left to the people of Selkirk in 1908, to be used as a recreation area, by Mrs Scott, who was a member of the Pringle family.
And it is hoped that these ambitious plans will continue the legacy for another century.
Group treasurer Sheila Cochrane added: "Selkirk doesn't have the green space amenities that other Borders towns of the same size do. All of us want to make Selkirk a better place to live and we feel this would be a big move in the right direction."
The Big Lottery Fund's decision will be made by next February.
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