New play areas, rediscovered nature reserves and inclusive community gardens have all been developed thanks to more than £2million in funding from Renfrewshire Council’s Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

Since it was launched in 2018, 66 projects have been supported with grant funding up to a maximum of £50,000 to improve and develop green spaces, parks, play areas and community facilities in their local area – with eight further projects being developed and expected to apply for the remaining funding.

Young people and families have benefitted from brand-new and redeveloped play parks created in their local areas with new equipment and resurfacing carried out to create welcoming, safe spaces for active play.

A brand-new interactive park in Bargarran has seen its equipment become the highest used in the UK since it opened in April 2021, Howwood Park now offers an outdoor gym, skate ramps, new goal posts, basket swings and picnic tables, and brand-new play equipment and maintenance work has allowed Glencoats Park to host silent discos, gala days and Halloween trails.

Karen Campbell, Chair of Pals of the Privies, said: “We are so pleased with what we have all achieved in Glencoats Park and I’m so proud of the volunteers who regularly help to make the park look better and help with our events.

“It really feels like there is a really strong sense of community again here in Ferguslie.

“The funding really has made a difference and we couldn’t have delivered what our community wanted without it. Thank you.”

Numerous nature reserves have been brought back to life with Jenny’s Well in Paisley set to be free of Japanese Knotweed this year and replaced with native wildflowers, Newshot Island in Erskine has seen bird watchers flocking to return to the redeveloped viewing area, and Erskine Community Garden has been able to install a labyrinth, extend their sensory garden and now grow fresh fruit and vegetables all thanks to Council funding.

Jim O’Neil, Erskine Community Council, said: “We can confirm that our vision for the Bird Watching area has been fully realised because of the donation received from the Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

“Our regular users are delighted at the efforts made by the Council and the improvements made have resulted in a huge increase in usage of the area so on behalf of the Community Council, and the friends of Newshot Island, we offer our heartfelt thanks”

These projects are in addition to numerous others including community gardens, reclaiming woodland areas for the community and saving community facilities with structural upgrades, such as The Old Library in Kilbarchan.

Other projects expected to come forward soon include new play and fitness equipment in Thomas Shanks Park, a community social garden in Lochwinnoch and new football and gym facilities in Elderslie.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “I’m incredibly proud of how beneficial this fund has been for our communities since we launched it back in 2018 and it’s a real example of how we can make real change working with local people.

“The projects have been brought forward and driven by local groups and we’ve been privileged to support them with advice and funding to make their ideas into reality.

“Almost every community in Renfrewshire has seen a projected completed thanks to this fund and you can see the real difference it has made to our green spaces, parks, play areas and villages.

“I want to thank the staff involved in driving this fund forward, but also the people and groups who have led the projects and been such an inspiration for our local communities.”

Applications to the fund for over £10,000 require additional funds to be in place from the community group which has led to more than £300,000 in external funding brought into Renfrewshire.

In addition to the creation of new projects, eight local community groups have completed, or are working towards, a community asset transfer thanks to grants received from this fund and the Council’s Community Empowerment Fund.

No further applications are being now accepted for the fund with the entire £2.04million committed to existing or expected projects

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