Appeal launched after vandals "trash" Hatfield nursery garden
PUBLISHED: 10:04 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 17 April 2019
A Hatfield nursery school is fundraising for repairs after youths reportedly "trashed" its garden, causing an estimated £4,000 worth of damage.
The council-run Jim MacDonald Centre, where Footsteps 123 Nursery is based, was closed down for the whole weekend in response to the ruckus.
At 5.21pm on Friday, April 11, police were called to reports of three young people scaling the nursery fence.
The young people, described as aged between 10 and 12, reportedly entered the garden of the nursery and broke into a metal shed before causing damage to the garden.
They also tried to force their way into the nursery, but ran away when approached by a staff member.
Police then were called again by nursery staff at 6.39pm, to reports that more young people had just gained access to the building, but they had gone by the time police arrived.
“It's just gutting,” said nursery manager Amy Payne. “That's an understatement.”
Amy, who runs the nursery with co-manager Natasha Skutela, explained how parents and colleagues fundraised £4,000 between them to create the playground garden last year.
The fundraising was their first community project, and Amy, Natasha and all their staff were proud of the work and generosity that had gone into it.
“All the staff gave up their weekends, their evenings just to do it,” she said, describing how grateful she had been that parents had also worked hard to help.
She believes it will cost the same amount again to bring the nursery back to its previous state.
The community centre, which hosts activities for the elderly, reopened on Monday after closure.
Despite the situation, Natasha and Amy have been struck by the response of their community to the incident.
“It's actually quite a surprise to see how much Hatfield's community has come together,” said Natasha.
At time of going to print there had been no arrests in connection with the incident.
Anyone with information about the vandalism at Footsteps 123 should call the non-emergency number 101 quoting ISR 649 of April 11. To contribute to the fundraising appeal, visit www.gofundme.com and search for 'Footsteps 123'.