A project aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation amongst men in Flintshire has had to pull part of its service after repeatedly falling victim to vandals in recent months.
Men’s Shed, a project backed by Holywell based mental health charity KIM Inspire was set up in 2017 to support vulnerable men locally.
As part of the project members designed and built a shelter to keep them dry when working, money for the shelter came from a Tesco ‘Bags for Life’ grant.
Kids were back yesterday. Abusive to vulnerable adults we work with. Abusing staff, damaging building. Scarpered when police arrived. We are going to take down the community shed. The damage is impacting mental health of the local men that made it
— KIM4HIM (@KIM_4_HIM) 31 October 2018
Over the past six months local youths have taken to using the shelter for themselves, since then it has been hit by a series of vandalism attacks.
Andy Matthews Director of Operations said:
“We have attempted to engage with the local youths and offered to work with them to develop a space to use as we understand there is not always a great deal for young people to do.
However, we have been met with constant damage and ongoing repairs to the Men’s Shed shelter.
There’s has been evidence of drug use, alcohol consumption, sexual activity and bladed weapons, blood has also been found.”
The police are aware of the individuals but have been met with apathy when approaching parents. Said Mr Matthews.
“The young people upped the ante yesterday by being verbally abusive to staff, vulnerable adults accessing KIM and intimidating others by banging on the building windows and trying to force access to our reception.
Our staff had to call 999 for the Police to remove the young people.” He added.
KIM Inspire said it can no longer afford the repair cost for the shelter and is concerned at the impact the issues are having on some members mental health.
— KIM4HIM (@KIM_4_HIM) 30 October 2018
Andy Matthews said:
“It is with a heavy heart that we have to remove the shelter today and limit the service we offer the community.
We would like to reach out to the community, parents and the young people again and let you know you still have the chance to do good and turn your choices around. Come and speak to us and let’s work together on something.
At the end of the day, this is your community to – why ruin it for yourselves as well as others?