Children’s centre reeling after heartless break-in

The damaged door at Venchie Children and Young People's Project. Picture: contributed
The damaged door at Venchie Children and Young People's Project. Picture: contributed
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STAFF at a children’s centre in the Capital have told of their shock after it was ransacked during a break-in.

Police are investigating the incident at Venchie Children and Young People’s Project, in Niddrie Mains Terrace, which happened yesterday morning.

It’s almost like a right kick in the teeth for us, with all the good work we do, that someone would come and do that to us.

Susan Heron

Workers said two cash boxes containing around £600 were stolen, along with a bag of small change.

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A number of doors were also damaged, possibly with a crowbar, and it is believed repairs will cost around £2000.

Officers said they were particularly keen to speak to a man who was seen riding a bicycle in the area at the time.

He was wearing a dark jacket with a reflective band on each arm.

Susan Heron, manager at the Venchie, said: “The staff are just totally gutted about it.

“It’s almost like a right kick in the teeth for us, with all the good work we do, that someone would come and do that to us.

“You almost start taking it personally.

“But, in saying that, the whole community has really rallied round with lots of support as the day has gone on.

“We’ll be back open, business as usual, on Tuesday.”

The Venchie, formerly known as Niddrie Adventure Playground, was created in 1961 by Edinburgh University Settlement.

It is used by dozens of children and young people who live in the local area.

Project leaders said it had grown and developed significantly over time, introducing new playground features, accommodation, activities and youth work programmes.

Also among services offered at the centre are breakfast and afternoon clubs, which had to be cancelled when the break-in was discovered.

Political figures have expressed anger.

Councillor Mike Bridgman, SNP member for Portobello and Craigmillar, said: “I’m appalled that someone has done this to such an amazing project, which does such vital work within the area.

“To break into a project that gives so much to the community, and has done so much for children here, is galling.”

Police said their inquiry into the incident was ongoing.

A spokeswoman said: “Police in Edinburgh are investigating after a break-in to a property on Niddrie Mains Terrace around 7am on Thursday. A 
three-figure sum of cash was stolen in the incident. Officers are keen to speak to anyone with information that can assist them with their inquiries.”

Those who can help are asked to contact police on 101.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com