In early 2018 a number of residents had approached their local elected members to raise concerns in relation to the on-going anti social behaviour that was taking place with in the Dalmonach play park.
After several meetings with local parents, it was also identified that as well as the anti social behaviour which entailed continuous dog fouling and vehicles using the play park and youths drinking within the play park thus putting people at risk. It was also identified for a much needed up grade the current play equipment, BMX Track and a desire for two additional picnic benches one of which would be disabled access friendly.
Another aim was to facilitate a serious of meetings with residents and partner agencies and discuss in greater detail about the Your Community initiative and to encourage the residents to take ownership and have the confidence too report issues for themselves. And to also build capacity within the local community using the Your Community model.
Throughout 2018 and the early part of 2019 several key dates were established in the process of having the two picnic benches purchases and installed and the existing one re-located to another section of the park.
The first step in the process was for the residents to choose what type of benches that they wanted. As a result of consulting with the community it was decided that the benches would be recycled plastic and one of which would be disabled access friendly, due to its durability it would make it harder for it to be moved, once bolted and secured and less prone to vandalism.
Over the weeks and months other small issues such as the cycle track being repaired and the See-Saw fixed also for safety reasons. With help from various council partners and external agencies such as the WD Environment Trust who contributed to cutting back the surrounding hedges and some of the play equipment that was deemed to be a safety issue. It was also discussed about the possibility of installing two removable bollards which would prevent any un-authorised vehicular access to the play park, as there had been anti social behaviour issues with vehicles using the park and potentially putting users of the park at risk. However due to the depth required and with the location of gas and electricity pipes underneath it was decided that this would not be a viable option.
Total resources purchased were : Two benches, Cement and Bulk Granite for the foundation’s, fixtures and fittings : grand total of £1684.09
On reflection the project took almost a year from start to finish and at the beginning the community were enthused by the prospect of having new benches installed within the play park thus allowing more people to utilise the area and be able to enjoy the facilities. How ever due to the time of year and process controls, there was a general feeling that the residents began to lose confidence as did the community workers as there had been several set backs due to time delays getting the benches installed.
However on a positive note, the team were resilient and persevered with project to see it through to end and with one member of the team attending a community council meeting to discuss what had happened so far, there was great delight and thanks by the members. There has also been a great input by the local community as they are carrying out litter picks and reporting any issues to the respective agencies and departments.
As this was a first project I felt that there was much to learn and despite the time constraints and set backs etc. a successful outcome was gained. The team will continue to support the local community by way of advising on any future ideas or issues within the play park.
It was also encouraged for the local parents to get involved in a “Friends of Dalmonach Play Park Group” however they decided not to opt in this option and try other alternatives such as sourcing funding through their Community Council and other ways of getting involved.