Belfast Telegraph

DUP MLA offers to don tools to help fix damaged Northern Ireland park - but he needs your help

Can you help Paul fix the People's Park?

By Claire Williamson

DUP MLA Paul Frew has offered to don his tools and help fix a park in Ballymena which suffered severe damage after an arson attack - but he needs the public's help.

More than £65,000 worth of damage was caused to the People's Park in an arson attack last weekend.

The damage is significant and the area is now deemed structurally unsafe. Most if not all of the play area equipment will have to be demolished and replaced.

The earliest date for repairs to be competed is estimated for the autumn meaning it will be out of action for the busy summer months.

At the time DUP MLA Frew, an electrician by trade, voiced his anger at the destruction and now he has offered to get involved to help.

He said he has had tradesmen getting in touch with him to offer their services and the DUP man has seen an opportunity to turn it into a community project.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I've had joiners coming to me and offering their services and saying it shouldn't take this long and people chipping in to say if the council need help they would offer it.

"They are saying 'let's get this up and running'.

"If it becomes a community project - why not? You see these programmes on television when they go in and change houses and bedroom so why not a playpark?

"We could get the young people in the local NRC tradesman involved and get them practical employment and experience and also give them ownership of the play park.

"I would help them and get my hands dirty.

He added: "There is also examples of people setting up justgiving pages to raise money to give to the council to assist them.

"I just feel that to have this sitting idle for months is only impacting the people of Ballymena even further."

Police investigating the significant damage caused to play equipment and windows at the People’s Park in Ballymena are asking for witnesses to come forward.

Inspector Doris Purvis said: “It is an absolute shame that damage has been caused to a play area that benefits so many children in the local area and I would strongly urge anyone with information about who is responsible to contact us on the 101 non-emergency number.

"Equally, if you saw any suspicious activity at the park or during the early hours, please get in touch quoting reference 320 of 24/04/17.”

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