Sunderland community asked to back crowd funding campaign to replace drums used to teach city's most in need
A community campaign has been set up to help replace drums used to teach some of the most vulnerable people in Sunderland.
A Ford Transit van filled with 17 African drums was taken from The Grove in Ashbrooke during the early hours of Monday, January 13, leaving teacher Mark Barfoot without the essential tools he needs to take classes around the city.
His sessions give people with mental health issues, stress and disabilities a chance to learn the skill and give students an outlet for their creativity.
Now it is hoped he can replace his kit and vehicle through a fundraising page set up by his supporters, with hundreds already raised towards the £4,000 goal thanks to those who have been moved to help him after hearing of the theft.
In the meantime, he is using spare drums and a rental van to reach his sessions across Wearside, with it hoped that cash can be raised to plug the gap between what his insurer will payout and the cost of a suitable vehicle, as well as source new drums from Africa.
Mark had a number of the drums specially made for him by people living in rural Africa who were then able to use the money from the sale to buy land for their families to build homes.
Each of the instruments is handmade and will need to be replaced.
Mark said: “I’ve been teaching community courses for about 15 years and will always continue to support the vulnerable people in our community.
“We have a lot of social isolation out there, problems with work stress and I would like to go on to help more and more people.
“I need to replace the drums as soon as possible and I’m also paying £150 a week to rent a van.”
Mark hopes funds will cover additional security measures to make sure his new van is extra safe from thieves.
Northumbria Police is investigating the theft of the white van, which had the registration plate ND63 YDJ, and has asked anyone with information to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.