VOLUNTEERS are picking up the pieces after vandals struck at a community project in Leamington.
The Friends of Foundry Wood (FFW) arrived at the site on the former Ford foundry on Monday June 29 to discover extensive damage.
The recently rennovated Railway Wagon workshop space had been ramsacked with windows smashed and the woodburner inside broken beyond repair, and the site’s recently rebuilt compost toilet had been burnt down.
Friends chair Kristie Naimo said: “We are devastated to see damage to the woodland. This is a community space to be enjoyed by all and it’s such a shame to see a few spoiling this for others.
“The compost toilet must have been intentionally set fire to and it was burned to the ground. This will require a complete rebuild.”
The toilet had only recently been rebuilt, in partnership with the SAFE youth club based at the nearby Westbury Centre. The youth club are running a series of forest skills activities in Foundry Wood over the summer holidays and will now be without facilities on site.
Ryan, a member of the youth club, said: “It’s been fun helping to build this compost toilet and we were looking forward to using it this summer when we were up here learning forest skills.”
Police are investigating and area appealing for people who saw anything suspicious on Princes Drive overnight on Sunday June 28 to contact them.
Security to the woodland has been stepped-up and FFW are looking at more long term solutions with neighbouring Network Rail, police and fire services.
Volunteers are looking to repair the damage as quickly as possible so summer activities can continue as planned.
FFW have launched a ‘local giving’ campaign – https://localgiving.com/appeal/foundrywood – to raise funds to repair the railway wagon and install a replacement compost toilet.
Foundry Wood – co-managed by FFW and community interest company ARC – opened two years, and already attracts 2,500 visitors a year from scouts and guides to a mother and toddlers group.
Events range from wildlife walks, theatre, film and music events, community parties, pizza-making, craft activities and talks on the history or the site and its surroundings.
Visit www.foundrywood.co.uk for further details.