Voluntary work for the community in the Cottingley area has suffered a large setback following a break in to Cottingley Community Centre. On 21 November thieves broke in to the centre, situated on Cottingley Approach and ransacked the centre, stealing all valuable items they could find.
Cottingley Youth Project, which holds after school clubs and is used by many local young people each week, is one of the biggest projects to suffer, only 18 months after a previous break-in in which computers were taken. This time, the whole community centre was targeted, with each room and cupboard searched for valuables.
Minister of the Church in Cottingley, which meets in the Community Centre, Vicky Atkins said “People from the church and community work very hard to support the youth project. It is very sad that a few selfish individuals try to undermine the good work by causing a lot of damage and stealing essential resources.”
“The break in had an instant effect on our work,” said Ali Gilfillan, Cottingley Youth Project youth worker. “Eight hours after the break in was discovered we ran our Homework Club, and young people were hugely disappointed not to be able to use computers to complete their work. There was a real air of injustice, this attack of the centre has hit the heart of the community.”
Despite the damage caused, activities in the centre will continue. “We will be able to worship on Sunday”, declared Atkins, and Gilfillan stated “we won’t let this stop our work with local young people”.
Work is underway to repair the damage caused, and police are appealing for anyone with information to contact City and Holbeck police by ringing 101, quoting crime number 13130479582. Reports can also be made anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
Anyone offered computer equipment in suspicious circumstances is asked to contact the police on the details above.