Remember WREN - how funding has improved Midlothian

Cornbank Primary pupils planted shrubs and helped with the overall design of Cornbank Woodlands with funding from WREN

Cornbank Primary pupils planted shrubs and helped with the overall design of Cornbank Woodlands with funding from WREN

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From new paths to play equipment, skateparks to new seating, the awards body WREN has funded Midlothian Council projects to the tune of more than £500,000.

As the non-profit making environmental body prepares to wind down in the Edinburgh and Midlothian area, the Advertiser looks back at just some of the improvements its landfill tax grants have brought to the county.

Back in 2004, WREN awarded £24,500 to upgrade Birkenside Pavilion in Gorebridge. A total of £50,000 of landfill tax money went towards creating a wildlife site at Springfield Mill in 2007 while this year WREN committed £73,000 to improving paths and play equipment at Loanhead Memorial Park. Meanwhile, last year, a wheeled sports facility in Newtongrange has been awarded £30,000 of WREN money.

Councillor Bob Constable (SNP), cabinet member with responsibility for parks and open spaces, said: “WREN has awarded council projects a total of over £550,000 since 2004, helping make 20 conservation and heritage projects become a reality.

“And that’s not to mention the near £1,670,000 in total it’s given to projects across Midlothian, including our own through both WREN’s community fund and heritage fund.

“Without WREN, many of these schemes wouldn’t have seen the light of day. We’re grateful for WREN’s support over the years and we’ll be really sorry to see these funding opportunities go, especially at a time when money is so tight.”

Caroline Sanderson, of WREN, said: “It’s been rewarding to work with the council over the years to enable so many excellent projects to become a reality. I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and work with many committed community groups from all over Midlothian and to support them in the delivery of their projects.”

Current projects which are either underway or just about to start are an upgrade to Bilston Burn Park which is nearly completed. Tenders are due to go out this summer for the Bike, Board and Blade facilities in Bonnyrigg and Newtongrange Park. Work to improve Loanhead Memorial Park and Rosewell Park will start later this year. The contribution by WREN to these projects is in the region of £200,000.

WREN is a not-for-profit business that helps benefit the lives of people who live close to landfill sites by awarding grants for community, conservation and heritage projects.

A total of £13,000 was awarded to a project to improve Cornbank Woodlands in Penciuik. Cornbank Primary pupils, pictured, planted shrubs and helped with the overall design.