Exhibition showcases City Deal community arts project

East Renfrewshire residents have shown great creative flair by getting involved in a community arts project to create an inspiring new boardwalk within Dams to Darnley Country Park.

An exhibition displaying the creative concepts has been scheduled for 14-18 March at Barrhead Foundry and 19 March at The Avenue in Newton Mearns. All are welcome to drop in and see the ideas.

Supported by Glasgow City Region City Deal investment, exciting plans are in place to transform Dams to Darnley Country Park, between Barrhead and Newton Mearns, into a must visit leisure destination. Attractions will include a visitor centre, wake park and boardwalk with improved access to the park for cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

Initiated by East Renfrewshire Council, ideas for how the boardwalk at Balgray Reservoir within the park will look and feel have been the subject of a series of consultation events, interactive walks at the reservoir and art workshops. Schools, community groups and residents have been involved in exploring several creative themes relating to history, landscape and functionality.

Cllr Tony Buchanan, Leader East Renfrewshire Council, said: “It’s really inspiring to see the creative ideas produced by our residents for the boardwalk. Having local people involved in shaping our City Deal projects is really important to us. This community input will contribute to the final boardwalk design, helping to create a distinctive outdoor space to explore in East Renfrewshire. Our ambitious City Deal projects will play an important part in developing East Renfrewshire’s local economy, improving leisure and business opportunities as well as creating jobs.”

The events were run by the Council’s appointed architects erz Ltd in collaboration with artists Bespoke Atelier and poet Ken Cockburn. Participants explored the rich textile history surrounding Balgray Reservoir through block printing and mark making. They also created short poems including words inspired by the reservoir.

Artist Yvonne Elliott-Kellighan from Bespoke Atelier said, “Connecting and collaborating with the local community is an integral part of our design process. We really enjoyed meeting and working with everyone involved- the prints created are extremely inspiring. We look forward to revealing how the project has developed at the upcoming exhibition.”

Funded by Glasgow City Region City Deal and with support towards the design from Sustrans Community Links, the planned boardwalk will join existing paths to create a continuous 4km walking and cycling circuit around Balgray Reservoir. Walking and cycling connections between Barrhead, Newton Mearns and Dams to Darnley Country Park will also be improved.

As part of the £44million Glasgow City Region City Deal investment in East Renfrewshire, plans are also under way to improve the road network between Barrhead, Newton Mearns and the M77, create a new train station in Barrhead and a new business centre in Newton Mearns.