A community group is keeping up its campaign for new equipment to be installed at a Southampton play park - raising almost £10,000.

Friends of Portswood Rec have built up a pot of around £9,500 in large part through donations from residents.

Grant funding is needed to cover the cost of the new equipment, which is estimated to be around £70,000 in total.

One of the pieces of play equipment that was removed from Portswood Recreation Ground last summer. Picture: Friends of Portswood Rec The group wants new apparatus suitable for children aged over six to be secured after two large pieces of equipment were removed last summer on health and safety grounds.

An online fundraising page has received £5,260, nearby Portswood Primary School has given its support and the Friends of Portswood Rec matched the first £2,500 of contributions.

The project was unsuccessful in bidding for National Lottery funding last year.

It surpassed the required 10 per cent seed funding threshold to qualify for the Landfill Communities Fund but learned earlier this year that this application had also been turned down.

The group is on the lookout for further grant opportunities and launched an e-petition on Southampton City Council’s website to raise awareness. It received 135 signatures.

The petition also calls for the carpet flooring of the play area to be replaced.

Portswood Recreation Ground play area with the empty space where the equipment was removed. Picture: Friends of Portswood RecBev Pearce, who is co-ordinating the campaign, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We are trying to get two pieces of equipment for over six year olds that are suitable for them and to keep them engaged.

“A lot of them missed out on social mixing and making friendships when they were younger due to Covid. That is just so important for their mental health.”

Friends of Portswood Rec formed in 2011. Its successful projects included getting an access ramp to the park installed and resurfacing the tennis courts.

Ms Pearce said the current campaign feels different to previous efforts.

“This feels like a much more community thing with everyone involved,” she said.

Southampton City Council is currently working on a city-wide play improvement programme.

A spokesperson said this includes installing new play equipment at Portswood Recreation Ground.

“We have been working with the Friends of Group to review funding options and potential equipment to be installed and are currently looking at applying to a grant provider to help fund the equipment,” the spokesperson said.

“We hope that the new equipment will fulfil the needs of older children and fit in what was most wanted from the public consultation the Friends of Group carried out.

“Designs are still at an early stage and we are currently finalising the play area improvement programme so are unable to confirm the exact dates for when the new play area equipment could be installed.”