The George Thomas playground in Salford, which had been closed for three months due to vandalism, re-opened on Tuesday after a flurry of community support.

This children’s Playground in Princes Park, Irlam, was closed for safety reasons after it was targeted in August by young people

George Thomas playground in Salford
Sign for George Thomas play area, credit: George Thomas Playground Facebook

who pulled up the park’s rubber safety flooring.

However, the residents of Salford responded by launching a crowdfunding campaign to help to accrue the estimated £1,000 needed to fix the damage, and an additional £44,000 for renovations.

The park has been in need of regeneration for some time, with the rubber surface having deteriorated years ago. Stacey Antcliff, spokesperson for the George Thomas playground, told Quays that the surface was loose and easy to pull up.

None of the loose rubber surfacing had been removed by the council, leaving it lying around for people to pick up.

Ms Antcliff added: “There is only 1 piece of equipment on that playground that isn’t nearly 30 years old. It took me 10 months to actually get anywhere with the council, with me from the start offering to help raise funds if it meant getting a decent playground.”

Salford City Council have since laid a £20,000 sand-filled carpet to replace the rubber surface, as well as pledging £35,000 to support local community groups campaigning to renovate the park.

The community fundraising page on JustGiving, which raised £580 towards the repairs, read:

“The George Thomas Playground in Salford has long needed some regeneration. It has unfortunately been repeatedly vandalised costing a lot of money to fix leaving not much money for new equipment.”

“£15,000 is available from this year’s capital budget towards the cost of new equipment. Ideally to bring the play area up to date and install a new range of equipment will cost around £60,000 leaving a shortfall of £45,000.”

“As a community WE can raise this money through events, donations awards and get the playground the children of Irlam deserve to have.”

Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for housing and neighbourhoods, said: “It was a huge shame it had to be closed over the summer because of the damage but thankfully those involved were caught and have been dealt with.”

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