Playpark fundraising campaign gets off the ground

Some of the children who took part in the sponsored teddy toddles.
Some of the children who took part in the sponsored teddy toddles.

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Campbeltown mum Iona MacLean’s campaign to purchase an inclusive, wheelchair accessible swing-set for Jock’s Adventure Playground is one step closer to success thanks to a wind energy company.

Last month, the Courier revealed that Councillor Donald Kelly had secured a pledge of £10,000 from an external funder towards the cost of this project, dependent on the community being able to raise the balance for the £25,000 equipment.

It can now be revealed that ScottishPower Renewables is behind the donation.

A spokesperson for the company told the Courier: ‘We’re very pleased to kickstart the fundraising for the new accessible equipment at Jock’s Adventure Playground, with a donation of £10,000 from our Beinn an Tuirc 3 construction team.

‘This donation shows the positive contribution we make to the local communities where our windfarms operate. We know the new play equipment will make a real difference for local children and families in Campbeltown and we hope to see the fundraising campaign reach its target as soon as possible.’

Councillor Kelly added: ‘I am delighted to have been able to secure this fantastic donation from ScottishPower Renewables and I would like to thank Gillian Arnot of the company for her sterling work in this regard.

‘Both Iona, and Catherine Dobbie of Campbeltown Community Council, are working tirelessly in an effort to secure the balance of the funding required.

‘Any donation large or small will be most welcome and will contribute to making Jock’s Adventure Playground inclusive and accessible to all children.’

The swing-set – with an adapted seat with straps on one side and a wheelchair accessible swing on the other – will be installed in a vacant area at the council-owned playpark which currently has just one wheelchair accessible item.

Iona was inspired to start the campaign after own experiences when taking her children, seven-year-old Esmie and four-year-old Lyle, who has autism, to playparks in Campbeltown and surrounding villages, and noticing the lack of equipment for children with less ability.

So far, £1,355 has been donated through an online fundraising page set-up with the aim of raising the additional £15,000 required.

In a bid to boost the total, Iona has organised the silent auction of a hamper of goodies donated by local businesses. Worth a combined total of about £775, the hamper includes a one-night stay for four people at Ugadale Cottages; a four-ball for Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club for four people; one Serenity Spa hot stone back massage; a selection of products from Serenity Spa; and a bottle of 18-year-old Glen Scotia single malt whisky.

The closing date for bids, which can be submitted privately via Iona’s Facebook page, is 8pm on Sunday (May 16).

A further fundraising boost came thanks to two Campbeltown childminders, Sarah Mckeown and Carol Linfield, who organised two sponsored ‘teddy toddles’ for the children who attend their settings.

Sarah said: ‘Lyle has attended my setting for the past three years and we wanted to do something that the other children could join in with to help their friend raise the funds needed to purchase the inclusive play equipment.’

There were two walks, last Thursday and on Monday, so all the children could take part. Ranging in age from one to five years old, the children and their teddies walked, ran and danced from the ferry terminal to the former paddling pool, where they received special medals and certificates and enjoyed a picnic. On Monday, they were joined by Lyle at the finish line.

Visit gofundme.com/f/inclusive-swing-for-campbeltown-playpark to contribute to the fundraiser.

The children from Sarah Mckeown and Carol Linfield's childminding settings walked from Campbeltown Ferry Terminal to the former paddling pool.
The children from Sarah Mckeown and Carol Linfield’s childminding settings walked from Campbeltown Ferry Terminal to the former paddling pool.