Over the past year LDCI has been working with a group of parents in Lairg to explore the possibility of regenerating the playpark at the Ferrycroft Visitor Centre.
This process has taken some time because, for historic reasons, Ferrycroft playpark was not included in the Highland Council Amenities budget, which funds playparks. Highland Council will only maintain and invest in playparks which are included in this budget.
Due to budget constraints, Highland Council were not able to simply transfer Ferrycroft playpark into the Amenities budget. However, following negotiations, they brought forward the the following proposals:
1. Ferrycroft will become an Amenities playpark. Highland Council will continue grounds maintenance, as at present. LDCI and the Ferrycroft Playpark Group will fundraise for new equipment in partnership with Amenities, who will provide advice to ensure that appropriate, accessible and good quality equipment is purchased. Highland Council will maintain this equipment.
2. Ord Place playpark will cease to be a playpark, although Highland Council will continue grass cutting as at present. The Council would consider transferring the site into community ownership if there was local support for this. (The playparks at Lochside and Clashbreac are unaffected by these proposals.)
LDCI, the Community Council, and the Ferrycroft group have discussed these proposals, and feel that the options offered by Highland Council provide the best outcome for playpark provision in Lairg. At Ferrycroft there is access to ample parking and public toilets, and having an attractive playpark could help ensure the future sustainability of the Visitor Centre.
In September 2022, LDCI carried out a community consultation to gain feedback regarding the development of the playpark at Ferrycroft, and the closure and potential community asset transfer of the playpark at Ord Place.
There was overwhelming support (over 90% in both cases) for a new, all-abilities playpark at Ferrycroft, and for investigating a community asset transfer of the Ord Place site. Many people felt that developing an improved and upgraded playpark at Ferrycroft would complement the Visitor Centre, and thus attract tourists as well. Overall, the responses showed a strong public desire to provide modern play and recreation facilities in Lairg for children of all ages and abilities, including older children and young people.
In 2023 LDCI and the Ferrycroft playpark group have continued to work together and we now have a preferred supplier and design. The challenge now is to raise the funds for the playpark equipment by approaching local, regional and national funders.
If you would like to support the playpark through fundraising or sponsorship - we would welcome your ideas! Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org .