Van­dals at­tack cen­tre

Char­ity face bill of £375 af­ter bur­glars leave trail of dam­age

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Lost In 1974... Found In Revamped Building - By Tim Collins

tcollins@thek­m­group.co.uk Smashed up fur­ni­ture and de­mol­ished walls greeted staff at a men­tal health char­ity on their re­turn to work this week.

Van­dals tar­geted the car park of the Live It Well Cen­tre in Can­ter­bury Road, Ash­ford, over the weekend, caus­ing an es­ti­mated £375 of dam­age to ta­bles, chairs, walls and wooden supports, with bins flipped over and rub­bish strewn across the floor.

This is not the first time the cen­tre has been attacked. Staff say they have been bur­gled three times in the past year and have pre­vi­ously ex­pe­ri­enced is­sues with van­dal­ism.

Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment as­sis­tant Sh­eryl Daw­son said: “It’s get­ting a bit de­mor­al­is­ing to see this sort of dam­age to a ser­vice, in par­tic­u­lar when it’s our ser­vice users who have dec­o­rated the build­ing and gar­dens.

“We have now been bur­gled three times over the last year or so, and projects that have had a lot of time and ef­fort in­vested in them have also been af­fected.

“Our sum­mer house, for ex­am­ple, is a build­ing that mem­bers of the arts and crafts group built into a com­fort­able re­lax­ation space, and re­cently we had the door kicked in dur­ing the night.”

The Live It Well Cen­tre of­fers men­tal health ser­vices and sup­port from a num­ber of providers to peo­ple liv­ing in Ash­ford and the sur­round­ing ar­eas.

They par­tic­u­larly spe­cialise in the treat­ment of de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety.

Staff are now hop­ing that busi­ness will take pity on their plight and help them with the costs of in­stalling im­proved se­cu­rity mea­sures to de­ter would-be crim­i­nals.

Ms Daw­son added: “We are tak­ing a look to see if we can in­vest in more ad­vanced se­cu­rity equip­ment, but un­for­tu­nately we do not have a large sur­plus of funds in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial cli­mate.

“We’re ap­peal­ing to busi­nesses in the bor­ough for con­tri­bu­tions and any equip­ment that can be do­nated would be grate­fully re­ceived.”

The in­ci­dent hap­pened some­time be­tween 3.30pm last Fri­day and 8.30am on Mon­day.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to con­tact PC Leanne King­well on 101 quot­ing crime ref­er­ence ZY/1359/14.

Al­ter­na­tively, call Kent Crimestop­pers, anony­mously, on 0800 555 111.

If you can help with the costs of a new se­cu­rity sys­tem, call the cen­tre on 01233 625371

FM2986940

Staff and ser­vice users sur­vey the dam­age by The An­nexe and, right, van­dalised bins and fur­ni­ture

FM2986959

Sh­eryl Daw­son with some of the smashed up chairs in the smok­ing area

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