Campaigners are celebrating the re-opening of community facilities, some of which have been closed to the public for many years. In January, Kirsten Robb from the Scottish Greens and The Space to Play campaign wrote to South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) to highlight that in and around one council ward, 4 of the 7 multi-use games areas (MUGAs) attached to new primary schools were closed.
This is despite the intention for these MUGAs to be open out of school hours for community use and only to be closed for a short period if there were vandalism issues. After several emails and meetings between SLC and the campaign, another 3 MUGA’s were reopened, including the one adjacent to St. Leonard’s Primary School, which had been closed for years, and those at St. Hilary’s and Long Calderwood Primary Schools. South Lanarkshire Council also confirmed they are investigating how informal access could also be made for the games area at Hunter Primary.
Kirsten said, “Free-to-use play spaces are really important for children’s health and well-being. That’s why it was absolutely right that the new MUGAs were to be available to local communities out with school hours. Even more so as some of these schools were built on previously open greenspaces. I’m really pleased that the campaign’s efforts helped open up another 3 MUGAs for my local community. I would like to thank SLC, schools, janitors and communities for their help to get the MUGAs reopened and in keeping them clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy.”
A list provided to the campaign by the council shows that there are 125 primary schools in South Lanarkshire, 73 with informal access to a pitch or MUGA that could be open. Of these, the list states that 9 are currently closed. If your local MUGA isn’t open and you think it should be, check this council provided list of sports facilities and access within the school. If it should be open and is not, then contact email@example.com for help.
Scottish Greens Central Region MSP, Gillian McKay, added:
“I’m delighted to see South Lanarkshire Council have reached this decision and MUGA’s are being opened up out-with school hours for community benefit. At a time when many young people have been stuck indoors for a sustained period of time, these Multi Use Games Area’s will bring a great deal of joy as well as health & well-being benefits.
I’d like to thank Kirsten and everyone at the Space to Play Campaign for their hard-work and dedication, without them this wouldn’t have happened. This highlights the importance of community organising and solidarity, and long may it continue.”
To support the campaign to open up more MUGAs to local communities and for SLC to prepare a play strategy to recognise the importance of play, sign here https://greens.scot/space-to-play
. Join the Space to Play South Lanarkshire community on https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacetoplaysl