Community rallies to raise funds to repair vandalised play park

Gordon Woolsey pictured with some of the broken play equipment at Scotch St Play Park. INPT26-232.
Gordon Woolsey pictured with some of the broken play equipment at Scotch St Play Park. INPT26-232.

A small community on the outskirts of Portadown has rallied round to help rebuild a vandalised playground.

Last Sunday thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to the community play park at Scotch Street.

Scotch St Community Association Chairman Gordon Woolsey vowed to have the damage repaired.

And a special Community Big Breakfast has been organised to help raise funds to repair the extensive damage.

DUP Cllr Darryn Causby lambasted the destruction to a ‘brilliant facility’ such at Scotch Street Youth and Community Centre.

Mr Woolsey said the play park was damaged by children as young as 12.

However, he added he had been heartened by the community response.

“We are disgusted at the damage caused to our park, the play frame, our toilet and damage to at least two neighbours homes,” he said.

“This park is for the whole community to use and enjoy and unfortunately the actions of a few are prohibiting children enjoying the park.

“The damage caused in Scotch St included: smashed light in outside toilet; broken telescope from play frame; broken steering wheel from play frame; burnt out strap of nest swing meaning swing has to be replaced; flooded sink (stuffed plug hole and left taps running) causing extensive water damage; wet toilet roll thrown at neighbour’s home; steering wheel/toilet brush thrown into neighbour’s home; damaged camera of neighbour’s home; tried to burn trees on neighbour’s property; burnt part of MUGA surface. We are disappointed, disgusted and saddened at what has happened. However, fortunately for us, CCTV footage caught these young people, aged between 12 and 15, in the act and it has been passed to police.”

Mr Woolsey said the community had rallied round and, while they don’t have the money for repairs, a Community Big Breakfast has been organised for August 12 from 9am-12 at Scotch St Centre.

He added that there were incidents of vandalism happening regularly such as leaving taps on and burning children’s toys. Last week vandals lit a mini-bonfire on the council-owned MUGA pitch.

Cllr Causby said the vandalism was ‘disgraceful’. “People are working hard to provide facilities for young people and unfortunately it’s young people that have damaged this brilliant facility.”

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Shortly after 5.30pm on Sunday, 25th June, police in Portadown received a report that criminal damage had been caused to premises on the Moy Road. A number of young people have been spoken to by police.”