Mindless vandals who smashed up a popular community garden in Bulwell have been condemned by its users and supporters.
The Bulwell Forest Community Garden charity has been hugely successful since it launched four years ago, growing fruit and vegetables to share out among local residents, as well as organising family events.
But earlier this week, the garden off Austin Street, was wrecked in a spree of wanton damage that will cost up to £3,000 to put right.
“It’s just senseless, nasty stuff,” said the charity’s development worker, Barbara Bates. “It is heartbreaking. After all the hard work and commitment from our volunteers, we are devastated.
“We have had minor damage before, but never anything so malicious. This is something completely different.”
Plants were destroyed and thrown around, fruit trees were pulled out of the ground, while two picnic tables were upturned and smashed. Seats and benches were damaged beyond repair, and arches to a sensory garden were kicked out of their steel posts.
A toilet was also vandalised, with its disabled handles pulled off the walls, while the skin was slashed of a polytunnel growing plants for a wood to encourage more wildlife, as part of a project involving children at nearby Cantrell Primary School.
The vandalism happened on Monday night or Tuesday, and rocked the Bulwell Forest community, which has taken the garden to its hearts. In the last six months, it has attracted nearly 2,000 visitors, who have not only benefited from the produce grown there but also taken part in educational workshops, environmental play sessions and health and wellbeing activities.
Within 24 hours of hearing about the damage, more than 100 comments expressing outrage and disgust and offering sympathy and support had been posted on the garden’s Facebook page.
“The response has been phenomenal,” said Barbara. “We have had offers of practical and financial help that have been so re-energising, showing that what we do is very worthwhile. It has been overwhelming.”
The police have been informed, but anyone with information is urged to e-mail the garden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A spokeswoman for the police said: “Our neighbourhood policing team will be investigating this. There is no CCTV coverage at the site, but we will be making door-to-door enquiries in the area and also contacting local schools.
“We recognise that the community garden is an asset, and we want to protect it.
“Anyone with information should ring 101 and quote incident number 887/January 11.”