The founder of a Sunderland health scheme has told of her anger after a recently renovated former bowls pavilion was targeted by vandals.
The former bowls pavilion at Barley Mow Park, in Hendon, was daubed with graffiti and had its CCTV cameras smashed earlier this week.
The incident came just weeks after the building had reopened, with the scheme B Active ‘N’ B Fit having launched a £200,000 relaunch of it as a social retreat.
Included in the redevelopment was a memory room, and areas to undergo beauty treatments, therapies and exercises, with a particular focus on older people.
The managing director and founder of B Active ‘N’ B Fit, Lynn Summerside, was left devastated after discovering the damage, with the incident being investigated by police.
She said: “It’s awful.
It would be terrible if something like this stopped older people from coming into the park and the buildingLynn Summerside
“I was devastated when I saw the damage. It’s awful for the company, when you consider all the money it brought into Hendon through the redevelopment.
“This building has been redeveloped as a social retreat, and a lot of older people come here.
“A carers’ group come to the building on a Thursday, and some of them are over the age of 80.
“One of them came in and said she felt a bit scared when she saw all the damage.
“This is a building where people should feel safe, and it would be really disappointing to think that was not the case.
“It would be terrible if something like this stopped older people from coming into the park and the building.”
B Active ‘N’ B Fit secured a 25-year lease on the building 18 months ago, and much work went into making it fit for purpose before it reopened on May 31.
The scheme specialises in older people and helping to maintain independent living. It is tailored towards exercise programmes and well-being services to suit individual needs. Donations from the public have already been made since the damage was discovered.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Police are carrying out inquiries after graffiti was spray painted and the glass on CCTV cameras damaged at Barley Mow Park in Sunderland.
“The damage happened between 3pm on June 28 and 10pm on June 29.
“Any witnesses should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 244 300617 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”