The redevelopment of the Southend play park, situated between the Golf Course and Guardhouse Park, is an initiative of Stromness Community Development Trust.
Created by landscape architect Sam Green, plans for the redevelopment include a Viking ship, featuring a carved dragons head prow, mast, benches and oars, with the ground around the ship being reformed to create a wave effect. The play park will also boast a Broch, double swing, slide, benches and a level area of grass for playing and picnicking.
These plans were shared with the community and the pupils of Stromness Primary school in 2018. With the pupils seal of approval, SCDT were able to move forward and secure funding.
In 2019 the Trust were successful in applying to the LEADER programme for funding, which was match funded by Orkney Island’s Council Community Development Fund. This was added to an existing pot raised by the local community, with final donations greatly received from Cooke Aquaculture Ltd, Scottish Water and Amey Black & Veatch.
Work on the play park began in the summer of 2019, starting with the removal of the old play equipment. The ground was landscaped, grass sown and areas were prepared for the new play equipment and features. With the majority of the ground work completed, the focus turned to the features within the play park.
The Viking ship and sea monster have both been crafted from local stone, and honour the seafaring history of the town.
Throughout the winter, when the ground was too wet to work in the play park, Sam continued to make progress – hand carving the dragon head prow which will provide a fitting finishing touch to the play park.
The Woodland Trust kindly supported the project by donating a variety of native trees, bushes and shrubs, and recycled stakes and guards. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 restrictions our community planting could not go ahead as planned. Instead, the planting was done by Sam and his team in early spring 2020, ensuring the new additions to the play park had time to bed in before winter. Restrictions also meant work on the play park had to be halted throughout late spring and the summer of 2020, causing a delay in the arrival of the timber play equipment.
Since the easing of restrictions, a huge effort has been made to finish the remaining work, with the aim to have the play park finished and ready to be signed off by the OIC and Play Inspectorate by the end of 2020.
We look forward to opening the play park to the community in spring 2021.