Visit to Borders is child’s play for Scottish Government minister Fiona Hyslop

Fiona Hyslop with Maia Russell at Harestanes. Photo: Phil Wilkinson
Fiona Hyslop with Maia Russell at Harestanes. Photo: Phil Wilkinson
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Challenging though they might well be at times, ministerial roles can be child’s play at others, and the latter was efinitely the case for Scottish Government culture, tourism and external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop today, June 5.

Mrs Hyslop, MSP for Linlithgow in West Lothian, was shown around the new playpark at Harestanes, near Ancrum, during a visit to the Borders.

From left, Sandy  Aitchison,  Ben Lamb,  Steven and June Russell with daughter Maia, Fiona Hyslop, Angus Mackintosh and Craig Blackie at Harestanes. Photo: Phil Wilkinson

From left, Sandy Aitchison, Ben Lamb, Steven and June Russell with daughter Maia, Fiona Hyslop, Angus Mackintosh and Craig Blackie at Harestanes. Photo: Phil Wilkinson

The £350,000 playpark, looked after by Live Borders, enables has welcomed about 7,000 youngsters since opening at Easter, and it came as no surprise to Mrs Hyslop that it is proving so popular.

She said: “Tourism is everybody’s business. We all have a role to play, and Live Borders is playing its part well in ensuring that we have good-quality attractions in the Borders.

“It is also important that these high-quality attractions are inclusive and open to everyone, regardless of ability.

“Harestanes playpark is an excellent example of an attraction that ensures our differently-abled children also have access to fun activities.

“I’ve really enjoyed visiting the park today and hearing their plans for the future.”

Ben Lamb, director of facilities for Live Borders, said: “The first few weeks since officially opening the playpark have gone extremely well.

“The feedback we have had from visitors across the region has been positive, and we are looking forward to developing and enhancing the facilities to maximise the customer experience.

“The inclusivity and accessibility of the site will remain a key focus, and we are delighted that Fiona Hyslop has had the opportunity to experience this first hand.”

Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and locality services, added: “The council is delighted with the success of the new playpark at Harestanes, and its popularity reiterates the importance of our investment programme to create more outdoor community facilities for families to enjoy and keep active.

“Our next two playparks, in Coldstream and Kelso, are progressing well, and we hope to see them open later this year.”