A SALTCOATS community group has received a £48,000 funding boost to support its plans to upgrade a playpark in the town and restore it to its former glory.

The cash for Saltcoats Active Lifestyles Team (SALT) was agreed after the proposal was recently presented to North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet by the Three Towns Locality Partnership following consultation with residents.

The boost is all part of the council’s Community Investment Fund (CIF) – a £5.6million pot for supporting local community groups.

SALT is one of the many groups benefitting and the £48k is being used to progress their aims of developing the existing playpark at Winton Circus.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Winton Circus playpark will be upgraded with a pirate ship as the focal point of the new siteWinton Circus playpark will be upgraded with a pirate ship as the focal point of the new site

The local group is also seeking £104,000 from the Coastal Playpark Fund for the much-anticipated playpark regeneration project and has also secured over £2,400 external funding from residents and local businesses.

Once complete, the playpark will help to promote an active lifestyle for children, young adults and visitors to the area, while regenerating the natural coastline of Saltcoats.

Donna McGregor, SALT chairperson, said: “Currently the playpark on the shorefront is in dire need of a revamp and we’re excited to get work underway as the space next to Oscar’s at the seafront has huge potential.

“Studies have shown that the opportunity for children to engage in active outdoor play has a number of physical and mental benefits and children that are used to playing outdoors are also more likely to try new activities, engage in problem solving tasks and socialise with others.

“When I was younger, me and my childhood friends used to enjoy the big pirate ship, blue whale and Nessie from the former playpark. And as many of us in the group are parents, we have spent many an hour pushing our kids on the swings and appreciating just how valuable these facilities are to communities and families – especially throughout the pandemic.

“We are absolutely delighted to be successful in securing the much-needed funding boost from the council’s Community Investment Fund to revive and restore the park to its former glory, none of which would have been possible without the help of the Three Towns Locality Partnership who did a great job helping us to prepare our CIF proposal.”

Elsewhere, Corsehill Primary Parent Council received £50,000 from the Community Investment Fund to support their plans for a new play park in Kilwinning.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Corsehill Primary Parent Council received £50kCorsehill Primary Parent Council received £50k

SALT plan on installing a play pirate ship as the focal point of the site and also want the play area to be more inclusive and any equipment selected for the regeneration of the park to be suitable for children with additional support needs.

Donna added: “We really want to create an accessible play area to remember. A positive social space for all, where families can enjoy themselves and have the freedom they need for their own children’s requirements.

"For example, part of the regeneration will involve us investing the money in inclusive play equipment to be suitable for children with additional support needs. This will include sensory equipment known to encourage engagement by children with conditions such as autism.

“We still have a long road ahead of us, but this is a step in the right direction. Everyone is welcome to get on board, so if you would like to offer your help to the project, please get in touch.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Councillor Louise McPhate​rCouncillor Louise McPhate​r

Councillor Louise McPhater, cabinet member for participatory democracy, said: “To date, over £1.2million has been awarded across North Ayrshire and this is all thanks to the CIF fund, the dedication and community-focus of the six locality partnerships and the work of our dedicated locality officers to help community groups tackle local priorities the way they see best.

“The fund is making a huge difference raising the profile of local groups and the groups we have helped in the last year have been able to leverage an additional £3.5 million from external funders to help them achieve their goals and allow local residents to come together, tackle social isolation and enjoy healthy and active lifestyles.

“This really is putting community ambition into action; not just words. It gives meaningful power and resources to local groups that are making a real difference in our communities.”