Innovative Highland Play Area Wins National Award

An innovative new play area at Abriachan Forest Trust near Inverness has won the Nancy Ovens National Award for Best Community Play Project. MSP Adam Ingram presented the award to Abriachan’s Suzanne Barr at a ceremony held recently in  Saltcoats.

The Highland Council granted Abriachan Forest Trust funding to complete the project and Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee met pupils of Dochgarroch Primary this week at the play area to mark this achievement.

Councillor Fernie said:  “The Highland Council’s administration fully advocates fostering young people’s healthy development and working with them to access positive play and learning experiences. This fantastic woodland play area at Abriachan ties in well with the Council’s commitments to leisure, recreation and development opportunities available to young people. I congratulate Abriachan Forest Trust on wining this prestigious award.”

Highland Council’s Play Development Officer, Malina MacDonald is very happy with the results.  She said: “I am delighted that again a Highland play area developed by a community group has proved to be at the forefront of play area design in Scotland.  The new play area is an ideal addition to facilities at Abriachan as the adventurous play equipment is constructed mainly of wood with bark surfacing which fits very well with the surrounding woodland environment.  I sincerely hope other community groups hoping to upgrade their local play area will see what’s been done at Abriachan and want something similar for themselves.”

The equipment was designed by Andy Frost, based on suggestions made by the young people who use the woodland to play and learn in. This has resulted in a mini challenge course, all abilities swingers, traverse climbing wall and many birds, bugs and beasties perching on and around the area. All this biodiversity will multiply as different groups carve new creatures on their visits, continuing Abriachan’s woodland surprises.

Two years ago, another two play areas in Highland won prestigious Nancy Oven awards but in different categories: The Ormlie Community Association from Thurso won the Outstanding Contribution to Play Award and the Lochaber Play Forum won the Best Design of a Play Experience for their site at Inverlochy, Lochaber.

25 Sep 2007