Workers gives cash boost to Sunderland charity left devastated by thieves

Staff at a Wearside firm have dug deep to raise cash for a children's charity targeted by thieves.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 09 November, 2018, 05:00
Youth worker Lisa Wilson-Riddell with some of the youngsters at The Box Youth Project where thieves cut through metal barried to steal the van.

Children and staff at Sunderland’s Box Youth Project, were left devastated when thieves stole their new van, which had cost them £8,500.

The project, which does fantastic work with young people and the community, said they couldn’t believe anyone would do something like that to a charity.

Nathan Haley (front left) apprentice at Liebherr presents a cheque for £834 to Bradley Ford Stubbs from the Box Youth Project.

The theft happened in September and raiders cut through two sets of padlocked gates with an angle grinder to take the van, which young adults, many with special needs, used to carry out work in the community to raise cash for the charity’s activities.

Lisa Wilson-Riddell, the charity’s youth and community worker, said everyone, including all the children, was left very upset by the theft.

In a bid to give the charity and the children a boost, staff at crane manufacturer Liebherr, invited a group of young people to spend the morning at the plant and also handed over a cheque for £834 which they had raised for the charity.

Lisa said: “Liebherr has worked with us in the past, their apprentices have helped out here.

Lisa Wilson-Riddell at the Box Youth Project centre.

“When they read about what had happed to us they wanted to do something to help. It was really fantastic of them to raise the money for us.”

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She said the young people also had a great time visiting the plant.

Lisa added: “We had a great time and the kids loved it. They got the chance to wear hard hats and see the cranes.

“The two apprentices who showed us around were brilliant, they told the young people all about the work and really engaged with them.”

The youth worker said she was very grateful to Liebherr for their support.

The Box Youth Project, which is based in Sunderland’s Hall Farm Road, was set up 16 years ago and provides scores of activities and educational events for young people.

Throughout the summer it ran an extensive programme of fun and low cost events and trips to support families in the area.

They bought the van so the group of volunteer workers, some with autism and other disabilities, could go out into the community with all their tools and do work for people, such as gardening for the elderly, for small donations.

They also used the van to collect and upcycle unwanted items, which are then sold to support the charity’s activities for the children.