The Gardens, located in the picturesque rolling hills of Clackmannanshire, received £750,000 of UK Government City Region Deal funding to support development of the site with the aim of bringing benefits to local communities through employment opportunities for those living in deprived communities.
The investment has helped restore the historic gardens to their former glory, with the recent creation of a stunning thatched garden pavilion included in the works. As a result, the Gardens have seen their visitor numbers increase.
Partners in the City Region Deal came together to see the improvements for themselves on Friday 11 November, and hear how the regeneration aims to put the Gardens back on the map for locals and visitors as the City Region Deal continues to deliver for Clackmannanshire and Stirling.
Opportunities for local business
Clackmannanshire Council Leader, Councillor Ellen Forson, said: “I was delighted to welcome partners in our City Region Deal to the Japanese Gardens at Cowden. The funding means that the opportunities for local businesses and citizens are maximised to ensure that the Japanese Gardens continue to be a jewel in Clackmannanshire’s crown that benefits all our communities.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: “Scotland and Japan have benefitted from cultural and economic links for more than 150 years and the Japanese Garden at Cowden is an enduring and important part of that heritage.
“The UK Government's £750,000 investment in restoring the facilities will ensure that generations to come will be able to enjoy and experience the gardens and the cultural exchange they represent. This is part of more than £2 billion we are investing in levelling up communities across Scotland.”
Better facilities for visitors
Sara Stewart said: “The City Region Deal funding has enabled Cowden Castle SCIO to progress with the completion of the restoration programme and provide our visitors with better facilities. The funding has also delivered essential space for interpretation, outreach and education. The whole team are immensely grateful to the UK and Scottish Governments plus Clackmannanshire Council for their support.”
The garden upgrades will aim to provide benefits to the wider local economy, with local businesses engaged in the redevelopment, employment and training opportunities on offer and the chance for school children across the region to visit and learn about Japanese culture.
The project is one the main elements of the £90.2million City Region Deal, along with Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling and Scotland’s International Environment Centre at the University of Stirling, which are both currently in delivery phase.