THE Friends of Cambuslang Park were last week thanking their lucky numbers after being awarded £1/2m in Heritage Lottery investment.
The Heritage Lottery Fund made its 26th award through its parks programme last week, designed to regenerate and restore much-loved parks across Scotland.
Cambuslang Park has been awarded a grant of £551,500 by HLF which will be used to restore its historic character, upgrade its amenities and introduce a range of volunteering and training opportunities.
Although formally established as a park in 1913, the site of Cambuslang Park has been used for hundreds of years as a gathering space, beauty spot and in the 1740s, a focus for a Christian revival movement which attracted crowds of 30,000 to daily lectures on its Preaching Braes.
One of the few green spaces left in the area, it remains popular today with the Friends of Cambuslang Park group, which has around 200 members, holding many fun and cultural events such as guided walks, bulb planting and fun days. It is also used by schools who come along for scavenger hunts, beastie hunts and clean ups.
Covering an area of 27 acres, Cambuslang Park has four very distinct areas: the formal area with the historic Preaching Braes; the Borgie Glen, a dramatic tree-lined ravine; the sunken arena and children’s play area; and an area of open grassland which is used for sports and recreation.
Friends of Cambuslang Park chairman Norman Rae said: “I am, of course, absolutely delighted about this outcome, but I'm particularly delighted for the local community who have been so supportive of our efforts, and who will soon have this greatly enhanced open space on their doorstep.
“I'm also delighted for my colleagues on our management committee who have worked so hard and so diligently over the past few years to achieve this result.
“However, I do want to pay special tribute to those staff of South Lanarkshire Council, Changing Places and Create, who have made such a major contribution to this success.
“There is no doubt that the deep and ongoing level of co-operation between the Friends Group and these organisations has played a major part in the award of this substantial investment in our much-loved park.
“It has been a model of best practice in community and public service co-operation and involvement.”
Each area of the park will benefit from restoration and replanting encouraging more people to use the park. The arena will be improved to allow more events to take place, the play area will be upgraded, and railings, paths and seating areas will be improved.
The introduction of a full-time park keeper will help develop new activities and oversee people using the park. Themed guided walks will increase awareness of the park’s rich history while more organised sporting events will encourage young people to use its facilities. There will also be opportunities for volunteers assist in events, healthy living walks and woodland management.
Rutherglen MP Tom Greatrex said: “I am delighted that Cambuslang Park will receive such substantial investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“As a regular user of the park myself, I am delighted that the hard work of Friends of Cambuslang Park, in particular Norman, Margaret, Joy and the rest off the committee, has paid of with this announcement. It is a great local park, that will be improved and enhanced for all our benefits.
“The money will benefit the whole community, allowing more events to be held in the park and conservation work to be carried out.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund is an important funder for community-led groups and projects, and I am glad they have made this well-deserved award.”
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, Colin McLean, said: “Cambuslang Park is a place of sanctuary for many so we are delighted to be able to help transform it into a pleasant leafy green space which the community can enjoy and be proud of.
“We are particularly pleased as South Lanarkshire is a priority area for HLF and we have been working with lots of local groups to make sure that they make the most of the heritage lottery grants available to them.
“I hope that this investment will not only encourage many more people through the gates of Cambuslang Park but will also encourage other projects to come forward to benefit from Heritage Lottery investment.”
Councillor Chris Thompson, chair of South Lanarkshire Council's enterprise resources committee, said “This is an exciting award for the local community and all those involved in planning the regeneration of Cambuslang Park.
“The grant award is testament to the hard work over several years of the local community working in close partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and the Changing Places community regeneration partnership.
“The project will deliver physical improvements to the park such as improved play facilities and entrances but will also help the community to get involved and learn about the environment and local history.”
The total cost of the project is just over £1million with half coming from South Lanarkshire Council and the other half from the Heritage Lottery Fund.