Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena community garden damaged in arson attack

Co-ordinator Catherine Dempsey surveys the damage at the garden
Co-ordinator Catherine Dempsey surveys the damage at the garden

By Nevin Farrell

A community garden developed by people with learning disabilities has been damaged in an arson attack.

The blaze was started at the Base community garden in the People's Park in Ballymena on Monday night, causing damage to a polytunnel and a fence.

Surveying the damage yesterday, one of the users Emma Rea said: "I'm disappointed at what they have done.

"I have been working on the garden myself and I am sad that our good work has gone down the drain but we will bounce back. We will not let it stop us."

Catherine Dempsey, Base co-ordinator, said: "The plastic has been burnt and the flooring of the poly-tunnel has been burnt in two corners and there has been damage done to the fence.

"The frame itself is grand but the plastic. We had planned what we were going to do with the polytunnel in the year ahead. We had organised to put raised beds in it but obviously that has now all been put on hold."

In a direct message to the arsonist, she added: "Do they understand who is going to be affected in the aftermath? I suppose it is close to my heart because I do work with adults with learning disabilities. This is a safe space for them to come out into to garden and it is good for social skills."

The People's Park is owned by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and the Mayor, Maureen Morrow, appealed for witnesses.

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