Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) and football pitches in schools are fabulous spaces to help increase health, wellbeing and community activity, safely away from traffic hazards. They are meant to be freely available to local communities outwith school hours, but many of these are now locked up. Support our call for South Lanarkshire Council to open up more MUGA’s and school football pitches for local communities.
New Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) and football pitches have been built alongside new primary and secondary schools across South Lanarkshire over the past decade or so. Investigating these in her local ward, East Kilbride East resident and Green campaigner, Kirsten Robb, was told by South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) that MUGAs should be open out with school hours, unless closed ‘for a period’ for maintenance or vandalism.
But when Kirsten visited local sites recently she found only 3 out of the potential 7 play areas in the ward open, with many other grass areas waterlogged and unplayable. She was also told that pitches linked to secondary schools, such as those at Calderglen High School are not available either, as responsibility for them lies with the private owners of the school built under Private Public Partnership (PPP).
Many of these spaces to play, often built on previously openly available greenspaces, are now locked away from local people.
Issues around vandalism have been raised, along with the impact on janitor workload. And in the case of Calderglen High, the council does not even have responsibility for the pitches. Yet, it comes down to this – these sites were intended for community use too and that is not happening in many cases. And with other greenspaces waterlogged, there are less and less traffic-free places for children, families and young people to play and exercise.
With support to maintain, manage and improve them, these spaces could be opened up to the local community as originally intended.