Funding boost for major park restoration project

A project to return Edinburgh’s Saughton Park to its former glory has received a funding boost after awards from two separate bodies.

Work on the £6.7m restoration, made possible thanks to £3.8 million of Heritage Lottery Funding, began in August 2017, including landscaping, replanting of floral beds, construction of a new café and the refurbishment of the park’s Winter Garden.

Now, £99k of funding from WREN’s FCC Scottish Action Fund will contribute to the installation of a new, inclusive playground, while almost £50k from the SUEZ Communities Trust will enable the construction of a multi-use games area.

Transport and Environment Vice-Convener, Councillor Karen Doran, said: “I am delighted with the news that the Saughton Park project will receive not one, but two funding awards, helping further an exciting project to revive this hidden gem for the community and further afield.

“Thanks to WREN and SUEZ we will be able to create two fully-inclusive facilities, encouraging play, interaction and physical activity amongst people from all backgrounds.”

WREN Grant Manager Sophie Cade said: “We are always pleased to fund important community facilities, this project looks to deliver an exciting new play experience for children of all ages and abilities.”

Marek Gordon, Chairman of SUEZ Communities Trust, added: “SUEZ Communities Trust provides funding awards through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund – an important source of funding which came into effect in April 2015.  The scheme is linked to the Scottish Landfill Tax and encourages landfill site operators to provide contributions to approved bodies, who can then pass the funds onto community and environmental projects. We were delighted to be able to offer funding to The City of Edinburgh Council.”

The Saughton ‘Playground for All Project’, which will benefit from £99k of WREN funding, will create a larger, more inclusive playpark, featuring wheelchair-accessible equipment and a range of new facilities, such as trampolines and spinning bowls. This will complement work being undertaken to make the whole park inclusive, with a sensory garden, accessible path networks and plans for activities for people with disabilities amongst improvements.

SUEZ will contribute £49,925 toward a new multi-use games area, to be used for activities like basketball, netball and racket sports, as well as inline and roller hockey. The wheelchair-accessible facility will be located in the centre of the park, and adds to a skatepark, outdoor gym and football pitches, in addition to the upgraded playpark.

The wider project to develop Saughton Park is expected to last a year, and will see the refreshment of some its key features - installed for its opening as a park in 1908 - including the bandstand, botanical garden and winter garden.

Amongst other improvements will be the restoration of the park’s stable block as a community venue and base for project partners the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley), the construction of a new café and the installation of furniture, lighting and new paths across the site.

It is anticipated that the newly restored park will be fully opened by August 2018. Find out more about the project on the Council website.

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