Blantyre’s New Playpark – Gift for Dr Livingstone

It’s with great delight we can announce exclusively here that the funds have now been fully raised for a brand new, state of the art playpark at the Village, Blantyre. We’ve been delighted to help fund this, our latest donation made this week for £2,584. To celebrate and get the fantastic news out, David Livingstone Birthplace have kindly asked us to post their following press release and photos follows:

“The David Livingstone Birthplace is delighted to mark Livingstone’s birthday this week, with a gift of £2,584 from the Blantyre community towards its new children’s play park, scheduled to open this summer.

The new, much anticipated play park is inspired by Livingstone’s African expeditions and will be built around a large multi-play structure based on the ‘Ma Robert’, Dr Livingstone’s steamship which was used on his second Zambezi expedition. The play park, which has also secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Land Trust and South Lanarkshire Council, will also include a number of interactive activities such as a rain wheel, and trail maps for families to explore the Museum’s grounds.

Paul Veverka, local businessman and community volunteer, who led the fundraising campaign said: “It says a lot about the kindness and generosity of the people of Blantyre to have raised £2,584 towards an exciting, new play park at the height of the health pandemic. The readers of Blantyre Telegraph went out their way to help ensure the new play park at David Livingstone Birthplace becomes a reality. As hope slowly emerges of a return to some normality, it is truly fitting that this worthwhile endeavour will bring joy to generations of children, especially after all they’ve been through this year. My sincere thanks go to all the individuals and local small businesses who contributed.”

The Birthplace, located on the site of the former Blantyre Works Mill has been closed for a 3-year, £9.1 million regeneration. When it reopens in the summer, the Shuttle Row tenement where David Livingstone was born and raised, housing the museum’s exhibition space, will be completely redesigned. There will be a new light and bright café offering home-baking and light snacks, a retail space selling Livingstone themed gifts, and the new children’s play park built on the Museum’s 11 hectares of parkland. 

Sandy Wilkie, who works closely with the Trust and supported the redesign of the play park said: “We are delighted to have this world-class visitor attraction on our doorstep, the Birthplace has always been loved by locals, and on behalf of the Trust I’d like to thank the local community for all their support. With the Museum’s exhibition reinterpreted for today’s visitors, and a great café, shop, and play park, local families won’t need to travel far for a fantastic day-out. We are very much looking forward to visiting this summer.”

Livingstone (1813-1873) was a Scottish physician and pioneering Christian missionary with the London Missionary Society. From his humble beginnings working at the Blantyre Mill Works, he became a life-long, anti-slavery campaigner, abolitionist, and well-respected explorer in Africa. 

The three-year redevelopment of the David Livingstone Birthplace funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Scottish Government and Historic Environment Scotland, has transformed this small independent museum into a world-class visitor attraction. When the Museum reopens in the summer, visitors will be presented with Livingstone’s story re-interpreted for a new generation, told from multiple perspectives, and central to discussions around Scotland’s role in slavery and colonialism.

Grant Mackenzie, Interim Director at David Livingstone Birthplace said: “When we reopen the Birthplace this summer, we will be presenting Livingstone’s story for a 21st century audience: making it relevant to discussions around Scotland’s role in slavery and colonisation, and with regard to the often untold part of his story that relates to the five African countries he visited. The Birthplace will be a vibrant new visitor destination, presenting this world famous adventurer from multiple perspectives, and offering a great family day-out for local visitors and those visiting from further afield. We’re delighted by the support we have received from the local community, funders, and from our international partners who have been working with us on reinterpreting David Livingstone’s story, and we hope that the Livingstone themed play park, trail maps and all our family activities will instil a real sense of adventure in adults and children alike.”

The David Livingstone Birthplace will reopen to visitors in summer 2021, with annual passes and day tickets both available. The café, shop, play park and 11 hectares of surrounding parklands will be accessible to the public without the need to purchase Museum admission, and will open early for dog walkers and early risers. 

To find out more about the David Livingstone Birthplace visit www.david-livingstone-birthplace.org.

Photo Courtesy: David Livingstone Birthplace – Children’s Play Park Design (render) by Kompan, David Livingstone Birthplace and Paul Veverka.

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