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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Win for people power as Clough’s newly refurbished play park is opened

Local children enjoying New community play park in Clough, County Antrim

It was a win for people power and fun for all the community as Clough play park opened last week following refurbishment work backed by thousands of pounds from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.


Local resident Laura Aitcheson launched a petition two years ago with the help of TUV Councillor Timothy Gaston, calling for the local authority to take action to refurbish the park which had not been updated in over 20 years.



Laura explains:


“A lot of the village people and school parents were unhappy with the state of the park.


“Some mothers had been telling me they used to play on the equipment as children. It was unsafe and some children had been getting hurt in it. So I contacted a local counsellor, Timothy Gaston, to help with the process of it.


“Together we launched a petition which attracted over 500 signatures from the local community and surrounding areas, eventually submitting it to the council.”



TUV councillor Timothy Gaston pictured with Laura Aitcheson at New community play park in Clough, County Antrim

TUV councillor Timothy Gaston pictured with local resident Laura Aitcheson at the new community play park in Clough.


Laura continued:


“Timothy helped me from here on in with the meetings with the park safety team and council representatives also attended all the meetings. We finally got approved that we needed a new park.”


Following investigation Council noted that the park needed refurbished or would have to be closed. At that time costs were expected to be around £182,500.


The design of the new play park was developed following a community consultation process which helped shape this fantastic provision for children of all abilities.  

 



The project - which aimed to create a more inclusive and accessible space - has transformed the park into a vibrant and exciting playground for children of all ages.

 

The play park now boasts a range of exciting new equipment and play structures - including swings, slides, climbing frames plus much more. It was designed with accessibility in mind to ensure that children of all abilities can enjoy it.


New community play park in Clough, County Antrim

 

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said:


“It is great to see the completion of this work – such an amazing resource for the local community!

 

“This play park has been refurbished as part of the Council’s Play Investment Framework and Out to Play Strategy which aims to create a more inclusive and accessible space for all. This strategy and ongoing investment demonstrates the importance placed on play throughout the Borough.

 

“I am particularly delighted to see that there is a greater emphasis on ease of access and inclusivity. This play park will ensure future generations of children can come together to play and have fun!”

 



New community play park in Clough, County Antrim

Councillor Timothy Gaston welcomed the completion of the refurbishment works and praised those local residents who worked hard to see a new play facility delivered for all the community. He said:


”I am delighted for the local parents who have actively campaigned for the deserved new play park in Clough.


”Back in 2016 /2017 the Clough play park was listed on the Capital Plan for investment but was kept on the long finger until Laura energised a campaign in Spring 2022 highlighting the poor condition the park and equipment was allowed to get into.



“Cllr Jamieson and myself hosted an on-site meeting in April 2022 between council officers and parents and thankfully 2 years later we now have a completed fit for purpose play park meeting the needs of the local community.


“The new park and the existing MUGA have given the children a safe areas to play in and I look forward to seeing it being well used by the kids from the village, the local primary school and surrounding rural community.”



Concluding, Laura said:


“I'm just so pleased that the children from the village and surrounding areas have a safe, and nice new park to play in. We aren't a village that has vandalism and the park wasn't being shouted about and that's why it was forgot about. But I think all children from rural villages deserve to have a safe play area as there is very little for our children in these areas.


“It might have took two years from start to now to get our lovely, bright, safe park, but it was definitely well worth it.”

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