Lancaster community centre leaders vow to bounce back after vandalism

The Marsh Community Centre in Lancaster
The Marsh Community Centre in Lancaster
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The future of a centre at the heart of a Lancaster community is under threat after it was forced to close due to vandalism.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage is thought to have been caused at Marsh Community Centre, and centre manager Rebecca Novell fears it could jeopardise all the hard work that has gone into the facility.

The vandalism caused to the kitchen at Marsh Community Centre.

The vandalism caused to the kitchen at Marsh Community Centre.

However, those connected with the Willow Lane centre have vowed to get it back on its feet as soon as possible.

The damage was caused on Monday afternoon.

In the kitchen, the cooker was pulled from the floor, the fridge destroyed and other appliances were also damaged.

Furniture was also thrown around the centre, and turps was poured across the floor.

Rebecca Novell

Rebecca Novell

Rebecca, who is also a Marsh city councillor, said they have been forced to close the centre “indefinitely”.

She said: “We need to get money together to make the building safe, and we just don’t have that kind of money.

“Ideally we want the centre back open as soon as possible, but we just don’t know what will happen.

“This could cost several thousand pounds to put right.”

The vandalism caused to the kitchen at Marsh Community Centre.

The vandalism caused to the kitchen at Marsh Community Centre.

Marsh Community Centre is a lifeline to numerous people on the estate, and is due to hold many events in the coming weeks including a memorial service on August 7 to schoolboy Leon Hoyle, who died last summer.

A summer fayre to raise money towards the running of the centre is also due to be held on July 28.

Rebecca said a programme of activities to coincide with the school holidays had also been arranged.

The centre also provides help and support for refugees, parent/toddler groups and council tenant support as well as youth work.

The vandalism caused to the kitchen at Marsh Community Centre.

The vandalism caused to the kitchen at Marsh Community Centre.

In addition they offer open access drop-in sessions for people needing help with issues such as housing, drug misuse, unemployment, debt management and benefits.

A meeting was due to be held with the board of trustees this week, and insurers were also due to inspect the damage.

Chair of trustees Jon Barry, also a Marsh city councillor, said he hoped the centre would be open again quickly.

“It’s possible that we won’t be able to use the kitchen for a while but we will be assessing the situation,” he said.

“We don’t want the actions of one person to punish everyone else.”

A 19-year-old man was arrested at the scene at around 3pm on Monday and taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for treatment.

Police say they are awaiting a hospital report before taking any further action.