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'Big plans for the future' of revived recreation park in Easter Ross

By Niall Harkiss

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The group behind the revitalisation of an essential recreational area in Evanton are encouraging people in the village to make the most of the facility.

Black Rock Recreation Park has had a complete makeover thanks to a five-year initiative led by Evanton Social and Event Group (ESEG) to convert the space into a hub for community-wide events.

The pavilion is situated next to Culcairn football pitch.
The pavilion is situated next to Culcairn football pitch.

The long-time home of Black Rock Rovers amateur football club, Culcairn Park – as it was previously known – and its changing rooms fell into a poor state of repair when the team stopped playing during the 2010s.

As its condition deteriorated, ESEG elected to take on the lease in a bid to breathe new life into it.

Chair of the Evanton Social and Event Group, Anne MacDonald, said: "When we took the building on, it had been left derelict and our biggest fear was that, as a football park, if it wasn't being used would housing go on it?

"It is the only big area of recreation ground in the community and we had to hold on to it.

"We had to rip the whole place apart and everything in it is brand new. Now that we have completed all of the works inside the building and erected the surrounding fence, we feel that it is ready for the community to use more."

The recreation park is in its fifth year of a lease from Novar Estate. During that time, the committee have completed a total refurbishment of its interior.

Over £80,000 in donations and funding helped the group reach their goal, with community payback workers to thank for a lot of the work completed.

The inside of the building has received a big upgrade to make it useable for various community events.
The inside of the building has received a big upgrade to make it useable for various community events.

The group hope that the revitalised facility will be embraced by the community and can be used for more events.

Ms MacDonald added: "The building has new electrics, new plumbing in the toilets and shower areas, heating installed and the two changing areas have been converted to include a kitchen and seating areas. The building also now contains disabled toilet facilities. It's very surprising how much room there is inside it.

"Ronald Munro Ferguson of Novar Estate also kindly donated a shed to us for storage, which is very useful. There is still stuff to be done, but the main work we have completed. We have achieved in the five years, what we hoped to achieve.

"We have big plans for the future use of the facility. It could be used for coffee mornings, birthdays or meetings for example. The field can be used for so much too.

"Black Rock Rovers have access to it for their season, and we have also had contact from a girls football group who are hoping to use the pitch in the summer.

"We would welcome interest from anyone in the village. The park is for everyone."

Mr Munro Ferguson said: "The transformation of the pavilion has been a great success due to the hard work and fundraising efforts of the Evanton Social and Event Group. I am pleased we were able to contribute by providing a wooden storage building from Novar Sawmill.

"From what I understand, the pavilion is well used, enjoyed by many different groups and it is my intention to renew the lease."

For bookings or more information, Evanton and Social Event Group can be contacted via email at anneculcairn@gmail.com.

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