Vote for the Pans Labyrinth!

The Friends of Cuthill Park are asking people to vote for their project to receive funding from the Aviva Community Fund.  (Voting begins Friday 21st October)

This grant will enable the charity to work with international labyrinth artist Jim Buchanan in holding several events in Cuthill Park to design a labyrinth linked to the salt-panning heritage of Prestonpans, and have it installed at the top of our beautiful, sloping park where it will have breathtaking views over the Firth of Forth and bring the benefit of mindful, peaceful, reflective labyrinth walking to our whole community.


The group will involve the community in workshops to develop a unique design for the Prestonpans labyrinth under the guidance of experienced labyrinth artist Jim Buchanan. This is an exciting and unusual opportunity for the community to be part of the development of something beautiful, enduring and positive, which they can take pride in for years to come. Several temporary labyrinths will be mown into the grass in the park, a final design will be chosen and installed using hard wearing, low maintenance materials.

The labyrinth will address the Area Partnership’s priority to improve wellbeing by providing a permanent space for people to go to experience meditative, peaceful pondering. This reduces a person’s stress levels & helps them to develop resilience.

A permanent labyrinth will also provide a focal point for mindfulness events for the community and the varied groups who come to Cuthill Park, from the local Home Educating families, to the nursery, Afterschool Club, DadsWork, and the local schools.  Many families bring their children to play in the park, and grandparents, parents and children alike can enjoy walking a labyrinth. Likewise there are hundreds of local dog owners who visit the park regularly and who will have the opportunity to include a peaceful, meditative experience in their daily walk.

There is a great deal of community support for this project. The results of our 2014 community consultation, showed that a maze was the most requested item from all the online surveys, while it came second to a trampoline in all the surveys handed out to youth groups and schools. Sheila Laing, head teacher of one of the three local primary schools, wrote the following:

‘As Headteacher of Prestonpans Infant School, I wholeheartedly support the creation of a labyrinth in Cuthill Park, Prestonpans. My pupils have benefited in the past from the visit of a temporary labyrinth. It is a great way to help children to learn mindfulness and the importance of reflection and stillness. We already teach this in school as a means of improving children’s mental health and wellbeing. Having a labyrinth permanently in Cuthill Park will give our children a place they can retreat to ponder, be still and exercise mindfulness throughout their lives. It would promote mental and spiritual wellbeing in Prestonpans for all ages, which is one of the priorities of the Preston/Seton/Gosford Area Partnership.’

The nursery and the AfterSchool club both take care of raised beds in the community garden, and feel the addition of a labyrinth to the park will bring another facet to their experience there. DadsWork (a charity supporting fathers) use the park regularly and will benefit from the labyrinth.

Di Williams MBE, the UK Master Teacher for Labyrinth Facilitator Training, advised on the best location for the labyrinth, expressing delight over the effect the stunning view will have on those walking the labyrinth.

As shown by the many projects we have successfully completed in the park, we are experienced at working in partnership with other organisations and have the necessary experience, enthusiasm and resilience to see this project to completion. We find great fulfilment in providing our community with a rich and diverse range of opportunities and experiences when they visit our much-loved park.

Friends’ Secretary, Carole Sneddon said: Please help us bring peace and balance into the lives of our community members – vote for us so we can provide this healing space for all who need it, as they walk the labyrinth and experience the ‘landscape of their soul.’

Vote here: https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/16-2735

Prestonpans Park Commended at Scottish Play Awards

Cuthill Park in Prestonpans, has been honoured at the Nancy Ovens Play Awards, which recognise those who provide or support access to high quality outdoor play experiences for children. The Trustees of the Nancy Ovens Trust commended the park in the Play in the Community category.

carol_with_awardThe accolade was announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 4th October 2016 at Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire.

In 2012, the park had the lowest quality rating of any play park in the East Lothian area.

Fearing it may become lost to the community, the Friends of Cuthill Park group sought to safeguard its future and it was given permanent protection from development when it was designated a Queen Elizabeth II Field. Since then, improvements have included the installation of decorative railings in the roadside boundary wall and the annual sowing of wildflower meadows.

The biggest change came in 2015 when £87,000 was spent on play equipment in what Jupiter Play described as a ‘challenging‘ project owing to a mixture of ground conditions including undulating grass areas surrounded by sloping hills lined with trees.

Since the creation of the play area, Cuthill Park has received outstanding 5 star ratings on popular review sites Trip Advisor and Netmums and has seen a large increase in visitor numbers.

Friends of Cuthill Park Secretary Carole Sneddon said:

“We are really thrilled to have our hard work recognised. East Lothian Council’s Amenity Services team have been very supportive in helping us create a very special play park for all sections of the community.”

Carole continued:

“Creating the play area has been a lengthy process during which we forged great partnerships with local groups, schools and the Council. We are now looking to develop these links as we progress other projects within the park”

The Friends charity is currently one of three local organisations to have been selected to receive funding from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme. The Friends’ project to create a ‘Woodland Learning Zone’ will receive either £8k, £10k or £12k depending on public vote which takes place in Musselburgh Tesco from 31st October to 13th November.