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Fundraising appeal: Youth club on mission to replace bus destroyed in arson attack


The minibus was found burned out at the youth club’s base on Belfast’s Limestone Road

The minibus was found burned out at the youth club’s base on Belfast’s Limestone Road

The minibus was found burned out at the youth club’s base on Belfast’s Limestone Road

A north Belfast youth club has launched a fundraising drive to replace a “much-needed” minibus torched in an arson attack.

The Holy Family Youth Centre is based in the Limestone Road interface area.

Its two-year-old minibus was destroyed in what the centre described as “a cowardly arson attack” on October 17.

The youth club was open that night, and when workers arrived home, they were informed by residents that the bus was on fire.

By the time they arrived at the scene, the vehicle was “totally destroyed”.

Youth worker BJ McKevitt said the perpetrator was captured on CCTV.

“It’s sad that someone would think it’s acceptable to do that to a resource which is there for the whole community,” he added.

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The bus was used for youth club activities and by groups in the wider community.

An insurance pay-out has been arranged, but the centre has been left facing a shortfall in the region of £4,000 to £4,500.

It would also like to secure the area by installing a CCTV camera above where the bus was parked.

Any excess money raised by the appeal will be donated to another worthwhile cause.

Mr McKevitt said the destruction of the bus had been a huge blow for the club.

He added: “We’re trying to replace this so we can continue to use it for our sports teams, guide unit, cross-community activities and family work.

“The bus would be used over the summer for day trips and stuff like that.

“Even for something a simple as a family going away on holidays, if we were able to help, we would help.”

The bus has been vital to the centre’s work during lockdown, being used to support families who were isolating because of Covid-19.

Mr McKevitt said: “We delivered regular activity packs, food drops and so on. Santa even used it last year to deliver presents to children who couldn’t get to large-scale festive events.”

The youth centre is asking businesses to donate prizes or vouchers to be raffled off.

Tickets will be available from the youth centre, and workers want anyone with fundraising ideas to get in touch.

A draw will be held at one of the club’s Christmas events on December 22.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said of the arson attack: “Following the incident, one man aged 18 was arrested for arson.

“The man was released on police bail, pending further enquiries. Enquiries are ongoing.”

To make a donation or to learn more about the organisation’s fundraising drive, visit the GoFundMe website and search for Holy Family Youth Club

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