A swing for disabled children, damaged by vandals over the bank holiday weekend, has now been fixed, Boston Borough Council has confirmed, thanking volunteers who offered to repair it for free, today (Wednesday).
In a post on social media, the authority said: “The disabled swing in Central Park has now been fixed after the vandalism at the weekend.
“We would like to thank everyone for their offers of help and support #disabledswing #boston #centralpark.”
The swing, especially designed for children in wheelchairs, was damaged only a few days after it was officially opened.
A spokesman for Boston Borough Council said after the damage was discovered that at some time over the week the retaining clips for the wheelchair ramp at the swing had been removed and thrown away.
The clips allow the ramp to be lowered so that a child in a wheelchair can access the swing. The ramp is then clipped in place during the swing’s use to act as a safety barrier.
The council spokesman said: “Our grounds staff have found them and we are now looking at a way of refitting them so they cannot be removed.”
The swing, paid for by fundraising from charity Local Hope and Boston Big Local and part of an overall £100,000 improvement to play areas and parks throughout Boston, was only opened last week.
Boston Borough Council’s play and physical activity officer Fran Taylor, who last Thursday thanked representatives of all the contributors who attended the launch and said how amazing the new equipment was, said she was disappointed by the news.
In a statement on the council’s Facebook page following the original news she said: “It is really disappointing to think that someone thought it is acceptable to spoil the fun for families who were thrilled that a wheelchair swing has been installed in Central Park.
“It is hoped that the swing will be repaired and ready for use in the next couple of days.”
Shortly after the news spread on social media, a number of community members offered to help repair the swing for free - however, after the council found the clips this was not necessary.
In particular, Darren Ruck, commented on the Boston the People Facebook page: “Has anyone got a couple of these [with an image of the clips] kicking about? I’m a qualified welder and have all the kit to weld them on. Bit of red paint and 5 minutes and it will be fixed.”
Trevor Ellis also offered their services adding: “If you got time to do it I’ll nip to Nick’s down Marsh Lane and get some.”
Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) drew up plans for the improvements following a tour of all public open spaces.
Play equipment and outdoor gym equipment in Central Park has been replaced or repaired and a roundabout which can be enjoyed by someone in a wheelchair, a slide and goalposts is also due to be added soon.
Items have been repaired in St John’s Park, Shelton’s Field and Woodville Road where surfacing under swings was funded by Boston Big Local
There have also been repairs to the nest swing in Garfit’s Lane and repairs to the Garfit’s Lane changing rooms.
Planting has already taken place under trees in Woodville Road playing field of 9,000 snowdrops and bluebells, courtesy of Boston in Bloom which received bulbs and seeds worth £1,000 from Boston Seeds.
There are plans to plant more early-season bulbs, snowdrops and bluebells at other sites next autumn.
Two bug hotels, designed and made by Boston College students and donated to Boston in Bloom, will be made available for Broadfield Lane and the Central Park growing space
St John’s Park will get a basket ball hoop and surfacing and a new rubbish bin. Garfit’s Lane is to receive a multi-use games area and two new dog waste bins. Burgess Pit will get a new see-saw, two springer rides and surfacing to the basket ball area. Woodville Road and Shelton’s Field will each get a new roundabout.
There will also be landscaping works including expansion of the existing orchard and wildflower area in the St John’s Play area and Burgess Pit and creation of orchards and wildflower areas in Garfit’s Lane, Woodville Road and Shelton’s Field.
Broadfield Lane will have an expansion of its existing orchard and wildflower area and creation of a hedgehog-friendly grass margin around the field edge.
Central Park will see an extension of the Birch avenue at the Tawney Street entrance, a pollinator-friendly garden near the sub-station and shade-loving plants to the nature area near the tennis courts. There will be ground cover planting at Pilgrim Patch alongside John Adams Way.
Last Thursday, Frances said: “Local Hope members have worked tirelessly over the last year holding various fundraising events and along with sponsorship from Chestnut Homes, Boston West Golf Club, JKA Plumbing and Heating, Rev R T Westland, the additional grant from Boston Big Local then getting permission from BTAC to situate the new swings in Central Park they were finally able to see for themselves the project completed and realise what a great addition to the play equipment in Central Park it has brought for children with disabilities and their families.
“It was amazing to witness the children having such fun on the equipment. Now they are able to enjoy the opportunity to swing along with their siblings which is fantastic.”
Further projects will see an inclusive roundabout with connecting path that also accommodates wheelchairs, a new slide and goal posts funded by Boston Big Local and BTAC which will begin the second week of June 2018.
Anyone with information should at this time should call Matt Fisher at Boston Borough Council 01205 314200.