A DAY centre that supports adults with learning disabilities has been broken into, leaving staff devastated.
Forget Me Not, in South Street, Rochford was broken into over the weekend, with the culprits leaving a trail of damage as equipment was stolen.
Lisa Allix, 41, the service manager, said: “This is a day centre for people with learning disabilities, it is their safe haven, so to have someone break in and invade the space is devastating for us. I popped in on Sunday and realised something wasn’t right when I saw the office light was still on. I then noticed that a cabinet door had been broken and panic started to set in.”
Ms Allix walked around the building and realised the windows had been broken and called the police immediately before walking around to find what was missing. As well as the damage, a laptop, Nintendo console and cash tins had been stolen.
Ms Allix said: “It isn’t about what was stolen – that is just material and can be replaced. Our guys won’t understand that it won’t happen again and that means they won’t feel safe in a place they are supposed to – it is upsetting. We are here to support the community and the break-in has jeopardised what we do. The money that was stolen had been raised to take everyone on a summer trip to Chessington and now it’s gone – it was over £300 in change. We rely on fundraising, we hold discos and monthly coffee mornings – the money we save goes back into the work we do.”
Since the break-in, Ms Allix said the community have rallied together to show their support.
She said: “The community have been incredible, we have had so many people come forward including Daryl at Revive Property Maintenance who came and secured the building for free on Sunday, Andy at Riverside Computers replaced our laptop. Brenda Sidnell and Matt Bremner donated computer consoles to the day centre and Guy at Carter Glass is fixing the windows and glass door for free.
“We have also started a JustGiving page to raise money to install CCTV – it isn’t something we wanted but it is the way forward and we will put it up outside.”