‘Mindless’ vandals destroy Sheffield gardening project

Vandals destroyed a valued gardening project after going on a wrecking spree around the site.

Monday, 25th February 2019, 15:57 pm
Updated Monday, 25th February 2019, 16:02 pm
Vandals wrecked the centre and many gardening tools that were donated or built by volunteers

Volunteers from Herdings Community and Heritage Centre, in Gleadless Valley, said they ‘will not be defeated or scared off’ after the attack.

The produce grown by volunteers at the site was given to food banks and community lunch group – the centre also hosts adult education classes, employment support and an over 60s club. 

Steve Rundell, CEO of Reach South Sheffield which runs the centre, said much of what they worked hard to create was now ‘completely destroyed’. 

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He said: “Such mindless vandalism is hard to comprehend. This is a community centre which exists for the benefit of local people to whom it belongs.

“It’s really disheartening, mostly because volunteers have dedicated time and resources into carefully building the place and a lot of that has been destroyed. 

“It’s crazy to think that some of the volunteers could even be related to the vandals who did it – in a horrible way they could have hurt someone they love and care about.”

Trashed porch with tables flipped upside down

Staff arrived at work this morning to find the place ‘in ruins’. They said windows, trestle tables, planters and other garden furniture which had been built by volunteers had been smashed, including a £3,000 poly tunnel. 

They said the building had also been broken into with a brick but suspected the burglar alarm had scared them off before they stole anything. 

Mr Rundell said they are now looking at ways to raise funds and rebuild despite the significant damage to the centre, which was funded by the Big Lottery. 

He said: “It’s such a valuable part of the community. We are not going to be defeated or scared away by it. We will continue to grow the food and support the community.”

The window was smashed with a brick and benches and chairs were broken

South Yorkshire Police’s crime scene investigation team were on the site this morning to try and track down the culprits. 

Volunteers from the group and from Heeley City Farm have also been at the centre to help clean up and start to rebuild. 

The group put a call out on Twitter asking: “If you know anything about the incident or can help us with re-building etc, please get in touch.” Mr Rundell said people can get in touch to help by emailing kim.hinchliffe@gvcf.org.uk

This morning we've been very sad to discover we had a break in at Herdings Community and Heritage Centre. Our gardening project has been almost completely destroyed. If you know anything about the incident or can help us with re-building etc, please get in touch Thank You pic.twitter.com/gMV2J9m8GP

The 3,000 poly tunnel completely ruined by vandals

— ReachSouthSheffield (@ReachSouthSheff) February 25, 2019