Vandals attack centre
Charity face bill of £375 after burglars leave trail of damage
email@example.com 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
Staff and service users survey the damage by The Annexe and, right, vandalised bins and furniture
Sheryl Dawson with some of the smashed up chairs in the smoking area