Community garden cared for by people with learning disabilities destroyed by vandals

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sally Simmonds

When Hannah Dennis, a supported volunteer at Storey Gardens in Havant, found out what vandals had done to the polytunnels and plants she looks after she was devastated.

She said: "It's terrible, I love it here, I'm doing loads of stuff, digging, sweeping, planting, all that stuff".

Connor Bridle, another volunteer, said: "Upset in a way because all the hard work, we've done, is just, it just feels like, not a waste of time but you just feel like you try and make it look nice and people don't appreciate the work you do".

  • Volunteers Hannah and Connor react to the vandalism

Thousands of pounds worth of damage was done at Storey Gardens in Staunton Country Park.

Over the last year adults with learning disabilities have been restoring this site from an overflow car park, to a walled community garden and orchard, through the group, the Right to Work.

Louise Mac Millan, the Director of Horticulture, said: "Everything you see the guys doing here today is meaningful work".

"it has to be done, and it gives a sense of wellbeing, being part of the community, and just meaningful work which is what we all want at the end of the day".

Vandals leave a big clean-up operation for the volunteers. Credit: ITV News Meridian

After a year coping with lockdown, everyone involved was delighted to be back at work in the garden last month.

The vandalism is a setback, but Hannah, Connor and everyone at Staunton won't let that deter them.

It's the first time this garden has been vandalised, and staff hope people will see just how hard it's hit this small, dedicated workforce.