• Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

North East Connected

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A crowd funding campaign has been launched as a community rallies round to replace a toddlers’ play area and equipment destroyed by fire in a vandal attack.

The attack in Darlington’s South Park on Monday (20 February) night, has seen widespread condemnation from parents and local residents on social media as well as offers of help to reinstate it.

Now Groundwork North East & Cumbria has launched a crowdfunding campaign as it calls on the community to help raise the £23,000 needed to replace the pirate ship and other play equipment and repair the specialist children’s play surface.

Already dozens of pledges of support have been received including the Friends of South Park, Darlington Bondgate Round Table and Sherwoods Vauxhall.

Lisa Locke, Programme Manager for Groundwork North-East and Cumbria, said:

“We felt saddened like many others reading about the vandalism to the play area and felt that we had to do something to bring the community together. South Park is such a popular park for many families throughout the year but as spring approaches it’s important that we try our best together to provide the toddlers with a new facility that they can enjoy again.

“We are asking everyone to join the campaign in any way they can and hopefully we can achieve the target we need and work can begin straight away.”

John Throw, Chairman of Friends of South Park, said:

“The Friends of South Park are extremely upset and disappointed at this senseless act. The unhappiness it has caused to the young children and parents has been very visible. It is most urgent that the play area is quickly restored.”

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and the Local Environment, added:

“We were appalled by the mindless vandalism that has destroyed a popular piece of play equipment that has been enjoyed by many young visitors to South Park but have been heartened by the positive comments and pledges of support already made via social media.

“It’s great that Groundwork is bringing the community, its people and organisations, together to create something positive from this incident; and I would stress that South Park is still very much open for business and there’s still plenty to do and enjoy within its grounds, including the adjacent children’s play area.”

To find out more and to pledge your support, visit the South Park Toddler Play Area – Crowdfunding campaign page at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/southparktoddlerplayarea.