The Star Says: Senseless targeting of excellent charity

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Why would anyone want to target a charity that does so much good for some of most disadvantaged people in Sheffield?

That will be the first thoughts of many people when they have read about vandals who have ripped out benches, torn up rose bushes and sprayed graffiti at a popular Sheffield charity’s base.

The criminals targeted St Wilfrid’s Centre on Queens Road, Highfield, while it was closed for its annual maintenance period last week and staff were away.

Workers who help homeless and vulnerable people found the damage to an outside area on their return to the office.

It comes just a few months after thugs scaled a wall to smash up the charity’s minibus – which was used to take service users to trips and activities – and steal the sliding doors in a bizarre theft.

What possible satisfaction can someone get from taking part in such an act?

St Wilfrid’s is hardly a controversial charity campaigning about a subject that provokes strong emotions on either side of an argument.

No, it is one of the city’s best-loved charities whose volunteers and staff work hard to provide a fantastic service. And homeless and vulnerable people are hardly a divisive issue, are they?

Who could possible want to do such a thing?

There are so many questions because answers are hard to come by.

The vandals, if caught, need to spend the rest of the summer cleaning up their mess even before any further punishment is passed their way.

However, St Wilfrid’s are a resilient lot. It will take more than the pathetic actions of some mindless vandals to stop their good work.

This month planners at Sheffield Council gave final approval to plans for a major £2 million residential project that will extend the services of St Wilfrid’s, which helps vulnerable people between the ages of 18 and 65.

A block of 20 individual apartments on land adjacent to the centre, donated by the Diocese of Hallam, will be built to provide low cost accommodation.

The aim of the scheme is to help people live independently with extensive support rather than moving them into a flat and leaving them to cope alone.

Excellent developments are happening, so the last thing St Wilfrid’s want is further unwanted distractions.