Work starts on 'hidden gem' Lossie park's new pavilion
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BUILDERS are making a start on bringing a Lossiemouth community's park vision to concrete reality.
Tulloch of Cummingston workers were on site at Marine Park laying foundations for a new pavilion after years of tireless fundraising by community group Action Marine Park (AMP).
The group secured funding of £350,000 in total from Moray LEADER, national sport agency Sportscotland, landfill fund EB Planning, the Robertson Trust, and through community fundraising events. Moray LEADER provided more than half of the funding.
The original pavilion was demolished in the 1990s.
Construction work is scheduled for completion in early summer, providing a much-needed hub for the growing list of activities taking place in Marine Park.
The pavilion work marks phase two of AMP chairwoman Carol Lennon's mission to "revive the park – and every inch of it".
Mrs Lennon said the park was a "hidden gem", tucked away behind houses off Stotfield Road. She added: "People in Lossiemouth are well aware of how this park was in its heyday and we're hoping that will be the case again."
Marine Park was transferred from council ownership last March and AMP aims to restore it to its former glory in phases as funding is secured.
The first phase involved the refurbishment of the tennis courts, which were transformed with European funding and generous local help. Lossiemouth Tennis Club has grown from that to a healthy membership of between 80-100.
A major aim of the group is to make the park inclusive for all. Mrs Lennon said: "We are replacing the pavilion in a more modern style, with more storage for the clubs, toilet facilities, disabled access and toilets. And we can then extend the activities here to be all-inclusive.
"The facilities it provides will enable all the sporting activities that currently take place to grow and it will attract more sporting activities in this area."
The organisation has run various clubs with its limited single outside toilet while it gets its vision up and running, including ride-out biking, walking football and junior football. It runs two popular family fun days in June and August. Mrs Lennon said: "These are hugely supported by the local community and so we know how welcomed and how much the park will be used."
AMP's next focus will be a small disabled-friendly playpark planned for the west entrance. It has a separate fund earmarked for the playpark and will be looking for match funding. Other ideas include a sensory garden.
Julie Smith, of Lossiemouth Tennis Club, said the pavilion will open up competition opportunities. She said: "We've been limited in the competitions we've been able to stage because there's limited changing facilities. We can't interact with other clubs, or if we invite them over we can't host them in any way in offering facilities.
"Surviving with a single outside toilet is not ideal when you're inviting other people to participate.
"What's been missing here is a hub, where we can put trophies out and really inspire the kids, and bring everyone together.
"As far as Lossie is concerned, I think Marine Park has been a bit of a lost space.
"When it lost its pavilion years ago nobody really knew what to do with the park. Now, this will give it that heart and maybe draw people back."