'Heartbreaking' - Children's school play area vandalised
PUBLISHED: 06:51 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 06:52 19 December 2019
A community has been left "devastated" after a forest school play area was trashed by vandals.
Mundford preschool, in the village hall, discovered its forest play and learning area had been "mindlessly vandalised" on Monday, December 16, which they said has left them heartbroken. The outdoor forest school, located across a playing field near to the village hall, has been running as part of the preschool for nearly three years, offering a safe space for young children to explore the outdoors and learn about nature.
But now Michelle Mason, administrator for the preschool, says it will all have to be rebuilt.
She said: "We have a canopy that hangs up in the trees to protect the area and our forest leader saw it had come down. We walked across and realised the guidelines had all been cut, the parachute had been slashed and the shed had been ripped apart.
"The roof and the front doors are ripped off and everything inside thrown around the football field. It's mindless violence and vandalism, there isn't a single thing that hasn't been destroyed. It was heart breaking to find. We were devastated."
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Following the incident staff at the preschool decided to set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to help them rebuild the forest area.
As the community rallied to support the school, in only three hours the GoFundMe page had already reached £1,000, which staff have said has restored their faith in people.
Ms Mason said: "It's heart breaking because the children love it, they had fencing and logs to sit on, they build dens, it's a space where they can go in nature and be safe. A lot of kids don't have that at home. They can explore have fun, play hide and seek they absolutely love it over there.
"The response in the last 24 hours has restored our faith in people, with offers to help tidy it up, donate sheds or dens.
"The feeling of community spirit we have been shown is overwhelming."
The outdoor school was created with help from the school's forest leader, Monique Bull. She said: "Forest schools have such a positive effect on a child's overall development, problem solving and building self-esteem. Hopefully with everyone's donations we can get it up and running again."
They have reported the incident to Norfolk Police.