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Community garden arson strengthens Ushaw Moor volunteers' resolve
VILLAGERS have pledged to continue their efforts to improve their community, despite an arson attack setback.
A shed at Ushaw Moor community garden was burnt to the ground in broad daylight on Sunday lunchtime (October 20).
The garden, off Durham Road, opened last summer – part of an effort by Ushaw Moor Action Group (Umag) to spruce up the village and boost community spirit which has also seen the development of The Hive, a community venue on Station Road, and The Hut, a space for group activities.
The garden features displays, paths, vegetable plots, a large potting shed and a “classroom”, which is soon to become a “Men’s Cree” – a space for men to meet in an alcohol-free environment, having won funding from the East Durham Trust.
It has enjoyed support from Groundwork North East and hosted Durham Agency Against Crime’s highly successful Haggrid project, aimed at inspiring young people to stay away from crime and give them a stake in their community.
Both neighbouring schools, Silver Tree Primary and St Joseph’s RCVA Primary, have been involved.
Umag leaders were devastated to learn the shed had been set alight, but said they had suffered vandalism previously, were thankful the fire had not spread to other buildings and were determined to continue their good work.
Secretary John Arthurs said: “It reinforces to us that we’ve got work to do.
“We’re not going to be knocked back by it.
“You do get annoyed and think these people must face the criminal justice system. Perhaps they could be given some community payback and come and work in the garden.”
Volunteer David Drape-Comym said: “It feels like one step forward, two steps back.
“But we’re trying to build the garden up, bit by bit.”
Umag is now considering whether to replace the shed.
The incident has been reported to Durham Police, which is treating it as arson.
A spokesman appealed for anyone who could help the police investigation to call the non-emergency number 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.
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