Avast ye Hearties: Playtime at Drumfork

Children play on the swings and the new Pirate Ship climbing frame in the Drumfork Playpark.

By Kim Hardie

The impressive new Drumfork Children’s Playpark opened its gates today (Wednesday, September 16) and welcomed children in to play on the swings for the first time.

The opening of the playpark completes the second phase of the Churchill Square re-generation which started with the complete refurbishment of the nearby Drumfork Centre.

The project, which is mainly funded by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), aims to bring benefit to, not only the service families who live locally but also to the wider Helensburgh and Lomond Community.

“The completion of the playpark in Churchill Square is the culmination of our complete modernisation of the Drumfork Community Centre which has served naval families for more than half a century. It is a crucial contribution to the Royal Navy’s strategy to create a home port for all submarines at Faslane,” said the Chief Executive of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, Adrian Bell.

“We know that although one person joins, the whole family serves and our work at Drumfork represents the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity’s biggest demonstration to date, of giving back to the families, whose support all those working in the Royal Navy rely upon.”

Chief Petty Officer Mark Trollope headed up the Community Park Committee which led on the design of the facility. Mark and the other members of the group worked hard to ensure that new park offered something for everyone, carrying out surveys to assess the needs of community and liaising with suppliers to create the best possible facility for all.

As a result of the group’s hard work, the park has a fantastic range of outdoor play equipment for children of all ages, including a wheelchair accessible swing and also hosts a range of sensory play equipment that provide a multitude of sounds, colours and textures that enable children to learn through play.

For the older kids, 14 years and above, there is an assortment of outdoor fitness equipment which uses the very latest Smartphone technology. You simply use your Smartphone to scan the Quick Response (QR) code on each piece of equipment and you will be shown a video demonstrating the exercises that can be done on each piece of apparatus. This provides fitness enthusiasts with their very own personal trainer – free of charge.

Captain Nick Gibbons, Captain of the Base at HM Naval Base Clyde said: “We are delighted to see this fantastic playpark now open, particularly following what has been an extremely challenging few months for many. We remain extremely grateful to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and all involved in the delivery of this exciting and much-anticipated project which, I am sure, will be enjoyed by the whole community for many years to come.”

The re-generation project which began with the transformation of the Drumfork Centre in 2018 is linked to the joint Strategic Delivery and Development Framework (SDDF) agreement signed between the Ministry of Defence and Argyll and Bute Council in February 2017.  The Memorandum of Understanding commits both parties to work together to find ways which the investment in HM Naval Base Clyde can benefit the entire Helensburgh and Lomond community.

It’s open to the public – Shelley Gilmore, Drumfork Centre Manager, Commander Mark Fitzsimmons, Naval Base Executive Officer and David Wood, Drumfork Centre, with the wheelchair accessible swing in the background.

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