“YOU thought you could destroy us, but instead you have brought us closer together” – that was the verdict of Sandycroft support worker Paul Grummett after the local community, tradespeople and residents from all over Redditch and beyond rallied round to help re-build the centre.
Last week the Redditch Standard told how vandals with malice in mind had effectively destroyed the centre’s stand-alone module.
They’d wrecked the babies room, tore down double french doors, taking half the wall with them, smashed cookers, sprayed obscene graffiti on the walls, let off fire extinguishers, left taps and heaters on, slashed walls and left them gouged with stab marks.
All this in a place where some of the most vulnerable people in Redditch receive help to re-build their lives.
But this week something remarkable happened: The community rallied together, tradespeople offered their services, an anonymous donation for £1,000 came in and a Go Fund Me page started to swell with funds.
“It really restores your faith in humanity,” said Paul.
“We despaired when we walked in and saw all the damage that had been done, but the people of Redditch have rallied round to help us out.
“We asked if anyone wanted to come down and help us and a whole bunch of people responded – we can’t thank them enough.”
Among them were technicians and an apprentice from Oakenshaw-based maintenance firm Arcus who joined a 20 strong community group to make the building safe, repair several large holes in the walls and a large hole in the floor.
They also secured the building, changing damaged door locks and reconditioning and refitting doors.
Jamie Middleton, technical services manager at Arcus said: ‘Although I was in awe of how committed everyone was. I was extremely proud to support such a worthy cause.”
They were joined by Vicky Round and Adam Hotchkiss from AH Services Painting and Decorating who joined others scrubbing and re-painting.
“It’s about supporting the families and people who use this centre and putting something back into the community, so we were more than happy to help,” said Adam.
Other helpers included Borough Conservative Councillors Joanne Beecham and Brandon Clayton.
Sandycroft is a refuge for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and also offers family mediation and supervised visits, offender rehabilitation, victim support, group sessions for mental health and support for those recovering from drug and alcohol dependency.
It is also an education centre and runs a series of courses on everything from sewing to business administration.
“We don’t know the names of all those who helped but their contribution was gratefully received,” said Paul.
“Many of the centre’s volunteers worked really hard and I’d also like to say thank you to people who made donations through our Go Fund Me page and also we have been promised donations from the Round Table, Redditch Lions, BRWR and Asda.
Also thank you to the Bridge Cafe in Evesham who donated cakes and an urn.”
To donate to the centre visit www.gofundme.com/n3z9g8 . To see the volunteers at work, visit www.redditchstandard.co.uk
Police inquiries into the culprits are still ongoing.