Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs visits Harestanes
Scottish Parliament’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop visited the brand-new play park at Harestanes on Wednesday.
Harestanes, which is managed by charity Live Borders, enables children of all ages to enjoy outdoor play with countryside views, and has welcomed in the region of 7,000 people since opening at Easter.
Scottish Borders Council has invested £350,000 in the new park as part of its £3.1million investment in new play parks, skate park, pump tracks and other outdoor community facilities across the Borders over the next four years.
The Harestanes development includes around 50 pieces of innovative, durable play equipment from play specialists, Wicksteed as well as multi-sensory textures, landscaped features and safety surfacing.
In addition to the dynamic play equipment, there is an agility trail, a picnic area and a toddler play garden. At the heart the play park is an impressive Jedburgh Abbey-inspired centrepiece and pyramid tower.
Featuring the region’s only wheelchair swings, an all-inclusive sensory boardwalk and a Jedburgh Abbey-inspired centre feature, the park will be a beacon for accessible play in the Borders.
The play park creates a challenging, imaginative and educational play space that can be accessed and enjoyed by children of all ages and abilities, helping children to get active in a fun environment.
Ben Lamb, Director of Facilities for charity Live Borders, said, “The first few weeks since officially opening the play park have gone extremely well. The feedback we have had from visitors across the region has been positive and we are looking forward to developing and enhancing the facilities to maximise the customer experience.
“The inclusivity and accessibility of the site will remain a key focus, and we are delighted that Fiona Hyslop MSP has had the opportunity to experience this first hand.”
Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Locality Services, said: “The Council is delighted with the success of the new play park at Harestanes and its popularity reiterates the importance of our investment programme to create more outdoor community facilities for families to enjoy and keep active.
“Our next two play parks – in Coldstream and Kelso – are progressing well and we hope to see them open later this year.”
Tourism Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said: “Tourism is everybody’s business, we all have a role to play and Live Borders is playing its part well in ensuring that we have good quality attractions in the Scottish Borders.
“It is also important that these high quality attractions are inclusive and open to everyone, regardless of ability. Harestanes play park is an excellent example of an attraction that ensures our differently abled children also have access to fun activities. I’ve really enjoyed visiting the park today and hearing their plans for the future.”