CHILDREN and families across Stirling are enjoying the benefits of the council’s continued commitment to investing in local play areas.

More than 20 new items of play equipment have recently been funded from Stirling Council’s Investment in Play Areas programme.

The programme helps replace dated play equipment to ensure parks are up to standard for both today’s and future generations of Stirling’s children, while engaging with individual communities so they can have a voice on the specific equipment needed for their local play areas.

During 2019/20 an investment of £180,000 will be made in play park redevelopments across Stirling, including council funding, developer contributions and external grants.

Work was recently undertaken to install a range of inclusive play equipment in Stirling’s Kings Park to benefit children with additional support needs. Stirling Council worked with closely with Friends of King’s Park to secure funding, with a grant of £40,413, awarded by WREN’s FCC Scottish Action Fund.

The grant helped purchase inclusive play equipment, including a wheelchair accessible roundabout, triple combination swing and sensory equipment, as well as a wheelchair accessible picnic bench.

Further investment is planned for Killearn at Crosshead Road play area, Cambusbarron at King George V Park and Raploch at Craigforth play area.

This builds on investment from the last financial year, 2018/19, in a range of parks across Stirling. Dunblane’s Laigh Hills Park received a £106,000 injection to completely refurbish the play area, installing a host of new play equipment including a zip wire, multi climber unit, see saw and toddler rotator.

The funding was also used to replace older equipment with new apparatus, including flat seat swings, cradle seat swings and a basket swing, helping to provide a variety of play experiences for all age groups.

Similarly £48,000 of work was carried out at Donaldson Park in Balfron with funding aid from Balfron Community Council, while a replacement multiplay unit was also installed at George Street play Park, Dunblane, in the late Spring.

Causewayhead Park had a flying fox zip line wire installed costing £13,000, with the Community Council contributing £5,000 via a grant from the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Environment Trust.

Convenor of the Environment and Housing Committee, Councillor Jim Thomson, said: “We want our children to be as active and healthy as possible, and the improvements made to the playparks are a great example of how committed we are as a Council to providing facilities that will help them achieve this.”

Vice Convenor Danny Gibson said: “Play parks offer a number of positive benefits for pre-school and young children, including improving health, learning and physical and social development through play, exercise and interaction with greenspace

“The funding has made real changes to these parks, providing excellent outdoor facilities for children and families to enjoy.

“The improvements are a wonderful example of the council engaging with local communities in order to take Stirling’s play parks and green spaces, which are a vital resource to our residents, to the next level.”