Appeal after arson attack destroys all tools at A Place to Grow project, in Enderby
An appeal for help has been launched after an award-winning community garden project lost all its tools in an arson attack.
Vandals destroyed a chalet and two storage sheds in the incident at the A Place to Grow project, in Mill Lane, Enderby.
They also climbed into the neighbouring allotments, breaking into sheds and greenhouses.
People with mental health problems, learning difficulties, physical disabilities and school children have all benefited from the project which grows organic vegetables for the community.
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John Beckett, the project manager, said: "We will not be closed down by this attack. We are determined to carry on. But we need help from the community to replace tools which were destroyed.
"We urgently need spades, garden forks, trowels and rakes."
He said 100 people, who would otherwise not socialise, work on the project which has won green flag environment awards for three years running.
Mr Beckett said: "The fire destroyed the chalet which we used as a meeting place. Two storage sheds where we kept all our tools were destroyed, as were two giant water butts."
Firefighters were called to the site on Saturday afternoon but could not save the buildings.
The garden is managed by the Community Action Partnership, working with Blaby District Council.
Alyson Oliver, business and operations manager at the partnership, said: "This is devastating. All that remains are bits of metal that used to be garden tools.
"A Place to Grow is a lifeline for some people who would most likely be in hospital if it wasn't for the project."
Council leisure spokesman David Clements said: "It is an utter disgrace that this has happened. A Place to Grow is a fantastic example of how people, voluntary organisations and local authorities can work together on a project that benefits the whole community."
Ashley Cox, chairman of the Mill Lane Allotments Society, said: "After they attacked the community garden, they came on to the allotments attacking sheds and greenhouses and throwing items around."
It is not the first arson attack at the allotments.
Mr Cox said: "Last year, they burned two sheds down."
He said he hoped the police would be able to track down those responsible.
Society treasurer Kim Shaw said: "My greenhouse was attacked. But it is not as bad as what happened next door. We will help the community garden as much as we can with tools and support. It is terrible what has happened to them."
A police spokesman confirmed they were investigating. People with information can call the police on 101.
People who can help with the tools appeal can contact Abdul from the Community Action Partnership on 0116 272 7670.