A community project in Rosemount has been vandalised over the weekend.
The ‘Growing Together Project’, located within the grounds of Rosemount Resource Centre, transformed derelict space in the area into a community garden and allotments, which are used by both the local and wider community.
The vandalism focussed primarily on the polytunnel at the project, which has been cut through and removed in places.
Project manager Dalton Kehoe said that the young children from the local Treehouse Playgroup had planted potato seeds and placed them inside the polytunnel alongside other seedlings planted by local residents.
There are also 22 allotments on the site, and young primary school students from Rosemount and St Joseph’s Boys School as well as senior citizens have been involved in developing projects there.
Efforts are now under way to try to find funding to replace the tarpaulin on the tunnel and to ensure the seedlings planted by the toddlers and other people in the community are not destroyed.
Mr Kehoe said the vandalism occurred overnight Sunday into Monday.
He said: “They took a Stanley knife and they cut big square at the front and back of it. It wouldn’t even be up 10 months. Somebody seems to have just come over the fence. They were probably looking for equipment but we have nothing of any value, no strimmers or tools.
“The children’s work was inside cages so that was protected.”
Mr Kehoe added; “It’s unfortunate that somebody out there would cause this destruction. We will try now to save the seedlings if we can and try to get a new tarpaulin and get this repaired.”
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, who granted the scheme £5,000 in the summer of 2015 through the DOE’s Challenge Fund for environmental projects, has also voiced his disgust on Facebook.
He said, “I am disgusted at the wanton vandalism of Rosemount’s Growing Together project which is led by Dalton Kehoe and enjoyed by the community, from pre-school children to senior citizens. I funded the project through the Challenge Fund and have seen its benefits first hand.”