Hatfield community hub thriving after cruel act of vandalism

PUBLISHED: 13:13 26 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:26 26 April 2018

Left: Angela Gaughan with her team of friends and volunteers. Right, top: The Hatfield Connect premises after the vandalism. Right, bottom: After the big clear up. Picture: WHTimes.

Left: Angela Gaughan with her team of friends and volunteers. Right, top: The Hatfield Connect premises after the vandalism. Right, bottom: After the big clear up. Picture: WHTimes.

Archant

A community hub in Hatfield has reopened and is “thriving” after being destroyed during a cruel act of vandalism.

The Hatfield Connect premises above Pump Gyms, in Beaconsfield Court, was targeted by yobs between Saturday, January 13, 5pm and Monday, January 15, 1pm.

Offenders broke in, vandalised walls and furniture, stole items, ripped out security cameras and lights from the ceiling, barricaded all the exits and kicked walls down.

Bottles of alcohol and empty cigarette packets were left with other rubbish including their fish and chip dinner.

The main area, which also received the worst damage, was due to be a space for children on the autism spectrum or who have ADHD to enjoy, feel safe, make friends, and have fun in.

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan with her team of friends and volunteers.   Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan with her team of friends and volunteers. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The hub reopened a month ago and Angela Gaughan, who set up the group - Potential Kids - told the Welwyn Hatfield Times that the group is “thriving”.

So far two sessions have been held and each time around 70 people have shown up.

Angela said: “We’re looking up now and feeling positive about how far we’ve come.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their help, the volunteers and to everyone who kindly donated.”

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Darius Kovacs, 5, enjoys playing with the train set.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Darius Kovacs, 5, enjoys playing with the train set. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Over 100 people showed up to the grand opening throughout the day including police officers and councillors.

Within a week of the vandalism the people of Hatfield set up a GoFundMe page and over £2,000 was raised to repair the hub.

Hundreds of people offered up their time to clean up and offer a number of services including painters, plumbers and more.

Donations of toys are still welcome.

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Beaumont Conway-Starns 
, 7, plays with the lego.

Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Beaumont Conway-Starns , 7, plays with the lego. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Despite a forensic team going in after the vandalism and, according to a source, names being handed to them the police have not made any arrests.

A spokeswoman for the police said: “All lines of enquiry have been completed but any new information that comes to light will be acted on accordingly.

“There isn’t anything more we can do at this stage.

“Anyone with any information should contact Hertfordshire Constabulary on the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference B2/18/233.”

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Emilia Hoxha, 9, enjoys playing in the soft play area.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Emilia Hoxha, 9, enjoys playing in the soft play area. Picture: Karyn Haddon

For more information about Potential Kids and the sessions on offer visit www.potentialkids.org/

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan opens the Hatfield Connect.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan opens the Hatfield Connect. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Amelie Sutherland, 3, enjoys playing in the soft play area.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Amelie Sutherland, 3, enjoys playing in the soft play area. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan opens the Hatfield Connect.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Angela Gaughan opens the Hatfield Connect. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Elkie, 7, enjoys drawing a picture.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Elkie, 7, enjoys drawing a picture. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Flora Hoxha, 2, plays with the football. 


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Flora Hoxha, 2, plays with the football. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Fred Burroughs, 8, plays with the lego.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Fred Burroughs, 8, plays with the lego. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Finn Cannon, 7, enjoys playing with the soldiers.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Finn Cannon, 7, enjoys playing with the soldiers. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hatfield Connect Reopening - Alice Hoxha, 11, enjoys the computer games.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHatfield Connect Reopening - Alice Hoxha, 11, enjoys the computer games. Picture: Karyn Haddon


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