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Thursday, 10 July 2014

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Volunteers disgusted by Workington playpark vandalism

A Workington playground is constantly being vandalised – leaving the woman who spearheaded a campaign to build it disgusted.

Frostoms play area photo
Youngsters at the Frostoms play area

Alyson Hodgson was known as the backbone of the Next Generation Group which tirelessly fundraised for three years to raise enough cash to build a play area on the Frostoms estate.

And two years ago the group, which has now folded, reached its dream and the £120,000 play park finally opened.

But since its opening youths have vandalised the equipment on numerous occasions forcing the park to close for four months. It has only just reopened this week.

When the park first opened Ms Hodgson and other helpers went round on a daily basis to clean the area, empty bins, lock the gates at 9pm at night and open them at 7am in the morning. She said: “I put so much work into the playpark and now it is a shambles.

“I’m devastated. I have stopped going round there I can’t even look at it anymore.”

She thinks that thugs, from outside the estate, wait until the park is locked at night, climb over the 10ft high gates and vandalise the equipment. They have even found a way of picking the locks in the past.

It isn’t just Ms Hodgson who is upset by the damage caused to the park.

Parents living on the estate are annoyed that it has been closed for so long, especially during the children’s summer holidays.

Leanne Harding, of Cusack Crescent, has 12-year-old twin daughters.

“It’s the six weeks holidays and the kids have been bored,” she said. “They have nothing to do – just to run around. I don’t know why it’s been closed for four months. The kids have been climbing over to get in and play.”

The park is now maintained by social housing association, Derwent & Solway. Ben Brinicombe, projects and regeneration manager, said that the park was closed for safety reasons.

“Repairs were completed last week and all items are now in good working order,” he said. “Derwent & Solway has written to local residents this week to inform them that the park has now reopened.

“It is disappointing when these much-needed and valuable play areas are damaged or vandalised as it can be costly to professionally repair, and as in this case can mean that the area has to be closed whilst repairs are made.”

Any damage should be reported on 0345 345 0272

Have your say

To be expected really, disaffected kids in a disaffected area. Never had anything, never will have anything. Sad really.

Posted by Derek on 21 August 2012 at 11:54

Is it really worth the effort? I sympathise with Mrs Hodgson and her helpers, all of their hard work and effort to raise the money for a play area for local kids only to have it trashed. The same thing happened at Westfield and Moorclose play areas. We all want nice play areas for the kids, but this is how hard work is repaid! this is not an isolated incident. How many more play areas are going to be created for kids to destroy them because they didn't have to put the time and effort raising funds to pay for them, or spend time cleaning the mess up that they create when the vandalise them. It was suggested that the damage was done by children from outside the area, but I would say it is more likely children locally, it was in Westfield and Moorclose. A few years ago I actually witnessed damage taking place on the Westfield play area by a child who appeared from a garden nearby and his parents watched him do it! which is why I said, Is it really worth the effort??

Posted by Anon on 20 August 2012 at 21:30

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