Ipswich: Anger as vandals ruin community garden – again

IPSWICH: Vandals who destroyed a community garden are today being invited to return to the crime scene and use their energies more productively.

The gate to the People’s Community Garden, in Halifax Road, Ipswich, has been repeatedly kicked in over the past month, bulbs have been stolen and polytunnels protecting winter blooms ripped to shreds.

The latest attack happened on Monday and tables, pots and plants were damaged, leaving the team behind the valuable community project demoralised.

Susannah Robirosa, development officer, said: “They seem intent on getting in, they have broken three locks and last time they managed to hop over the fence.

“They have caused quite a lot of damage, smashed up pumpkins and overturned cuttings.

“It is demoralising to see your hard work destroyed like that, it is not really about the value of the work but what it means to the project.”

People with learning difficulties, mental health issues and young offenders from Hollesley Bay all visit the project on a weekly basis and the polytunnels gave them the chance to continue their work during the colder months.

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“We had activities prepared because we cannot get out and dig. It is possible to replace the bulbs and cuttings but a lot of time and effort has been wasted.”

Sending out a message to those responsible, she added: “Instead of using your energies in a destructive way, why not do something valuable and worthwhile.

“Come and join in and put your energies into something productive and stop trying to destroy something that helps so many.

“We are used to working with people who don’t seem to be able to find their right path in life, those with chaotic lifestyles and we could help.”

Mr Robirosa explained they help up to 40 vulnerable residents each week, teaching them gardening skills and giving them a focus.

Alongside the communal gardens are patches tended by young families and some of their sheds have been broken into during the recent spate of vandalism, although nothing has been taken.

“They can come here when they are starting up and learn what to do, borrow tools and get advice,” said Ms Robirosa.

The vandalism occurred on November 9, 12 and 16 and December 2.

Anyone with information should call Police Community Support Officer Rebecca Hillyard at the South West Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood Team on 01473 613500.

n Have you been the victim of an act of vandalism? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk