A COMMUNITY-LED organisation has been awarded a £107,897 grant leading to the restoration of one of Scotland’s most historic bandstands.
Friends of Stonehouse Park (FOSP) was awarded the funds from the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) – a fund distributed by South Lanarkshire Council utilising funding from Banks Renewables’ wind farm developments.
Founded as a community-led organisation in 2015, FOSP continuously strives for the improvement of the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park and its facilities in a bid to encourage the people of South Lanarkshire to visit and protect the park.
The funding has allowed the group to bring the park’s bandstand back to its former glory. Once built for the 1911 Scottish National Exhibition in Kelvingrove Park, the bandstand was bought by the Fourth District Council and moved to Stonehouse Park in 1925, where it struck a chord with its flood of visitors and became a popular tourist attraction.
John Young, Committee Member at Friends of Stonehouse Park said: “To now be in the process of restoring the original bandstand is a massive milestone for Stonehouse.
“We are incredibly grateful to South Lanarkshire Council, Banks Renewables and all of the other funders involved for providing us with the financial support to be able to restore such a historical asset.
“We’re hoping it sends a strong message to our surrounding communities to show what is possible when people come together.”The bandstand itself will provide endless benefits to local people and we’re really happy to be extending its legacy.”
The funding allowed the group to undertake extensive restoration works on the bandstand which included the reconstruction of major brick base walls, the removal of rot affected softwood and the replacement of a brand-new roof, among a number of other key works.
Over the years, offering an all-year-round calendar of events to the community has become the group’s main focus. The park has seen people of all ages attending a wide variety of events – events that have become so popular that the organisation now has to resort to EventBrite in order to manage the number of attendees.
This then quickly led to the development of the park – including the creation of a local nature reserve – and the restoration of the bandstand in order to improve the public park and establish a sense of pride within the community.
Friends of Stonehouse Park is the latest addition to a long list of initiatives that South Lanarkshire Council and Banks Renewables have supported through the Renewable Energy Fund.
The community group worked closely with South Lanarkshire Council’s external funding team to develop a complete funding plan – which also involved financial support from Suez Communities Trust and EB Scotland – to deliver the £215,793 restoration project.
Councillor Robert Brown, the council’s Chair of Community and Enterprise Resources, said: “This wonderful bandstand has been a fixture not only in the park but also in the hearts of the people of Stonehouse for almost 100 years, so restoring it to its full glory will be a landmark for the community.
“The Renewable Energy fund is a great example of how we can generate our energy more responsibly and at the same time benefit local communities through partnership working and mutual support, and it is great to see a true win-win situation.
“New forms of renewable energy look to safeguard the future whilst local people benefit in the present with funding that helps preserve the irreplaceable heritage of the past. It is a true project of the ages.”
The Renewable Energy Fund comes from renewable developments across South Lanarkshire which helps communities within 10km of participating windfarms.
Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables said: “The group has made incredible progress in turning this unused park into a major community asset that everyone can enjoy. To see a piece of history restored for community use is a testament to the Friends of Stonehouse Park.
“It is an excellent example of how the community benefits of a wind farm can support a variety of brilliant projects around the local area.”
The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic, social and environmental benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.
To find out more about Banks Renewables, please visit: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/renewables/
To find out more about Friends of Stonehouse Park, please visit: http://www.friendsofstonehousepark.co.uk/becomeafriend