New lease of life for South Shields project hit by thieves

Holder House Allotment users and staff ahead of the weekend fun day.
Holder House Allotment users and staff ahead of the weekend fun day.

A vandal-hit South Shields project supporting disabled people is celebrating a new lease of life with an open day.

Heartless thieves smashed their way through gates to ransack the site used by Holder House Allotment Project, in March.

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

They escaped with thousands of pounds of equipment and left behind a trail of destruction and damage.

But thanks to local people and businesses, along with those who use the Whiteleas site, were able to clean up the damage and keep the project running.

The site, which provides gardening and woodwork opportunities, has also been revamped with new additions, including walkways and a patio complete with shelter.

Now, a Celebration Open Day on Saturday, funded with a celebration grant from the National Lottery, aims to showcase the project, as well as give people the chance to find out more.

All profits are fed back into the business to develop the service

Anne Marie-Pape

Director Anne Marie-Pape said: “Fred Thompson, the chair of our company, and his colleague Bob Thompson have done some hands-on work on the site.

“They have worked with all the people and created a fully accessible area for people of all abilities to enjoy gardening and the open air.

“Going forward, Holder House CIC is expanding its activities on offer, and as well as the garden we will be offering activities in the community.

“For example there’ll be swimming, pool, gym, exercise classes, arts and crafts, courses and outings.

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

“We are a not-for-profit organisation, and all profits are fed back into the business to develop the service and meet people’s needs.”

The work on the site and open day has been made possible with help from The People’s Angels, fundraising by Cleadon Social Club, donations of timber by James Southern at Southern Timber.

Travis Perkins has also loaned equipment needed to enable service users to carry out work on the site.

Lottery funding has also allowed the project to work with the Creative Seed, run by Garner and Sandy Harris, to create a finale spectacular for the day.

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Mrs Marie-Pape added: “As well as people using their direct payments to access the service, we also rely on donations to keep us going.

“We have recently received a donation of £402 from Alison Cairns and the Darts League, South Shields, for which we are very grateful.”

Holder House Allotment Projects also has a weekend club for adults and children and an after-school club on a Tuesday and Thursday.

Gates to Saturday’s event open at 11am, and it runs until 3pm.

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday
User Andrew Thompson's new chicken shed

Holder House Allotment user's and staff ahead of weekend funday User Andrew Thompson's new chicken shed