A group of Paisley volunteers have been left devastated after around £2,000 worth of damage was inflicted on a space they were sprucing up for the community.
A break-in and resultant destruction at the yard behind the walled garden in Barshaw Park has been described as a “setback” by residents who have worked tirelessly to restore the area.
Members of Friends of Barshaw Park were gutted to discover the gate had been cut open, tool shed doors forced ajar and tools broken and scattered across the yard when they attended on Saturday, October 21.
Cash previously raised to repair some of the buildings will now have to be diverted to make the site more secure in the short-term and a fundraiser has been launched to support the charity in its repairs.
Irene McDonald, chair of Friends of Barshaw Park, said: “We’ve been clearing the yard, so that we could make it a usable space.
“Our intention is to have the buildings restored properly, so we can use them as workshops and it can be a community space for small events and other activities like a Men’s Shed, different things like that.
“We had a few hundred pounds that we got through donations and fundraising, which we were using to repair some of the buildings but now we’re going to have to use that cash to do some temporary repairs to make the place more secure.
“It’s annoying that we have to divert those funds and our time and labour to repair that damage.
“It was very disheartening because we felt as if recently we were making a lot of progress.
“There was a big clearance in the yard and it was looking a lot better.
“We could see our plans could be coming to fruition but this has been a setback for the volunteers who were involved in that.”
A JustGiving page has raised more than £400 so far while the Rotary Club of Paisley made a donation of £100 to the group.
Renfrewshire Council said it was made aware of the incident on Monday after contact from the group.
It has offered to provide fencing materials to help fix the damage, as well as guidance on securing the area.
Councillor Graeme Clark, who represents Paisley Northeast and Ralston, visited the site on Tuesday.
“There’s obviously a need for greater security at the site,” he said.
“It’s troubling that people got in. They’re hoping to build a better fence, so hopefully we can help with that.
“It’s sad and shocking that this happens when people have volunteered and done so much to make the park beautiful.”
Police Scotland confirmed it was investigating, saying: “Enquiries are at an early stage.”
Donations can be made by visiting on the Just Giving page.
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