Learners and staff at Sunderland charity distraught after centre damaged in attempted break-in

Learners and staff at a Sunderland charity have been left distraught after their centre was damaged in an attempted break-in.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 10:11 am

Shortly after 8.30am on Wednesday, March 24, Northumbria Police officers received a report of an attempted burglary overnight at Springboard Future’s Southwick farm.

The charity provides education and training to teenagers with autism, disabilities or additional needs.

Offenders caused considerable damage to the shutters during their attempts to access the premises, but left empty-handed.

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Northumbria Police Pc Juliet Clark with Springboard learners, from left, Georgia, Sophie and Declan.

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An investigation has been launched in a bid to identify those responsible, with the damage causing considerable upset among the centre’s learners and staff.

Paul Colborn, lead for community engagement at Springboard Futures said: “Our learners were upset by the damage and found it hard to understand why anyone would want to do this to them.

"They are very proud of the work they have done in the community and find it difficult to accept that others would not share this pride.”

Officers at the SARA Project and detectives from the force’s burglary team are now appealing for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

Sergeant Claire Wood, who leads the SARA Project in Southwick, said: “This crime has caused considerable anguish and upset to those who work and rely on Springboard.

“We are determined to ensure those responsible are brought to justice and are now asking anybody who saw anything suspicious in the area – or who thinks they know who are responsible – to get in touch.”

The SARA Project – an acronym for Southwick Altogether Raising Aspirations – was launched last year to help rejuvenate the area and support the communities who live in the community.

The project sees a number of key organisations and support services all working together under one roof at Austin House, Shakespeare Street, to streamline decision-making and provide effective outcomes.

Representatives from police, the local authority, social services, housing, education and health have all signed up to the project.

Anyone with information about the attack on the building is asked to contact police via the Tell Us Something page of the force’s website or by calling 101 quoting log 159 240321.

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