Last week was a week of contrasts! We started so saddened by the behaviour of a few people, and ended the week absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity and encouragement shown by so many in response to the devastating fire at Heaton Park last weekend. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us, in whatever way. We are particularly grateful to the people of Heaton who very quickly set up a GoFundMe page, and have generated an extraordinary response from across the city and beyond. Urban Green Newcastle has also been inundated with messages of support, and offers of help, and we cannot thank all those involved enough. If anyone has ideas of further funding, or would like to get in touch, please do contact us at email@example.com.
Over these past few days, we have been concentrating on making the site safe, and cleaning the play area so that young people can continue to enjoy the site. Over the coming weeks, we will remove the remains of the equipment, and will then be able to start focusing on the next steps to find a suitable replacement.
This has been heart-breaking for many within the community, especially those who worked so hard to install the play unit just a couple of years ago. It is particularly sad that many of those who chose to destroy the equipment are likely to have friends and relations who would have used and enjoyed the site. This is still the subject of an active police investigation, anyone with information is asked to contact them via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of their website or by calling 101 quoting log 161 140920.
However, we are determined that we should use the opportunity for positive outcomes, and we have already been working with the fire service to raise awareness of fire safety issues. Over the next few days and weeks, we will start to engage more widely on what we want as a suitable replacement. If you would like to be involved in this consultation going forwards please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Hooper, Director, Parks and Allotments