Special needs academy 'overwhelmed' by support after vandal attack

A special needs academy says it has been overwhelmed by the community’s support after it suffered a vandal attack to its gardening area.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 12:04 pm
Catcote Futures Students (left to right) Daniel, Ebony and Alex next to the vandalised Polytunnel. Picture by FRANK REID
Catcote Futures Students (left to right) Daniel, Ebony and Alex next to the vandalised Polytunnel. Picture by FRANK REID

Catcote Academy’s Catcote Futures, in Warren Road, Hartlepool, which supports older students, some of whom have significant disabilities, was left saddened when vandals caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to a polytunnel last week.

Trespassers slashed the outer covering of the 30ft-long structure used by the students as part of their horticulture work.

Catcote Futures Student Ebony holding one of the plants that was grown in one of the vandalised Polytunnels. Picture by FRANK REID

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But offers of support have been quick to come in, including one parent who has set up an online fundraising page at the website JustGiving which has raised almost £750 already.

Started by Sally Davis to help repair the damage she said: “Scott’s attended Catcote for 14yrs....its an amazing place that helps all ages with different difficulties in their health both physical and mental.

“We would have been lost without this place and Scott has thrived being there.

“They are an academy so have to raise their own funds for things they need.”

One donor said: “Let’s hope this puts the smile back on everyones face. The people of Hartlepool are behind you 100%.”

The vandals got onto the academy site sometime overnight on Monday, June 10.

They did not steal anything but caused significant damage to the polytunnel.

Assistant headteacher Barry Currell described it as ‘wanton vandalism’ and mindless.

He added the students could not understand why someone would do something like that.

The academy has built up the horticulture area gradually with money they raise and support from local businesses over two years.

Mr Currell said the students love working in the garden and helps their development, employability skills and general wellbeing. 

The academy said on social media: “We have been totally overwhelmed by the kind words and offers of support following our sickening news over at Catcote Futures horticulture.

“A parent has kindly started a funding page and we felt that this was so powerful that we are sharing this page to give people an opportunity to donate if they would like to.

“Anything raised over the target amount will go towards improving the opportunities of the students.”

To donate to the JustGiving page click here.