Heartbreak as charity gardens are trashed for the second time

Ben Porritt, Sarah Walsworth, Stuart Lunn, Kate Goode and director Bev Sissons with the damage in the Northorpe Hall gardens. (d611a329)
Ben Porritt, Sarah Walsworth, Stuart Lunn, Kate Goode and director Bev Sissons with the damage in the Northorpe Hall gardens. (d611a329)

Vandals have trashed a garden used by people with learning difficulties and disabilities for the second time in a month.

Yobs tore down a fruit cage and ripped up an outdoor classroom used by young people and adults from charity Ambitions at Northorpe Hall.

And the £1,500 worth of damage isn’t covered by insurance.

Ambitions director Beverley Sissons said: “So much effort has gone into the garden, they are devastated. It’s soul destroying.”

The culprits ripped a polythene tunnel, cut up books and left cigarette butts and beer cans inside. The destruction came as the charity which owns the grounds celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Director Beverley Sissons said the young people and adults, who have learning difficulties and disabilities, were ‘really upset.’

She added: “It’s mindless full stop. These people work their socks off to make it look nice but these silly little people want to go round and wreck it – for what?”

Mrs Sissons said she thought the polythene tunnel classroom was being used as a hideout, as just weeks earlier holes were poked in the tunnel wall.

Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust, who own the grounds, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Director Tom Taylor said: “It’s heartbreaking when they come in and they just look at that sort of damage and they don’t understand why anyone would do it.

“The site is a very beautiful open environment, it may be that we need to be clearer about the borders.

“If we can just get the people responsible to come down and talk to us then they might see that even if they thought it was a bit of fun at the time, it was actually very disruptive and upsetting.”

Police said they were examining CCTV footage handed to them by Northorpe Hall and are appealing for witnesses to come foward. It is believed the incident took place between the evening of July 5 and 10am on July 6.

Northorpe Hall Child & Family Trust was set up by Bruce and Margaret Duncan in 1963.

Since then, the charity has helped thousands of children and families to overcome challenges and build their relationships by providing counselling, mentoring and confidence building activities at the sixteenth century house in Northorpe Lane.

People involved the trust’s 50 year history gathered at Northorpe Hall on Monday to toast its success.

Mr Taylor said: “We’ve had our ups and downs but I think we are a real success story given what’s going on in public services. Charities are going under but we are still growing thanks to our family friendly culture.”

He thanked all the volunteers who had helped the trust over the years. “We owe them a real debt,” he added.

“It’s satisfying and rewarding but also a lot of hard work. Young people and families are under a lot of pressure at the moment.

“It’s important work for our community and our society. These people are going to be dealing with the problems we have in 30 years and they need to be strong and resilient.”

A celebration celidh will be held in the barn on August 31. To book call 01924 492183 or email info@northorpehall.co.uk. To contact police about the vandalism, call 101