Vandals are spoiling Stroke survivors gardening sessions

St Helens Star: Stroke survivors and carers survey the polytunnel damage with Stroke Association co-ordinator Jean Hobbs. Stroke survivors and carers survey the polytunnel damage with Stroke Association co-ordinator Jean Hobbs.

STROKE survivors are appealing for help to repair their trashed allotment. They are also pleading with the vandals responsible to leave them alone.

Twice a week in summer the Alder Hey Road plot is used by members and their carers who since 2010 have benefited from the good life sessions provided by the Stroke Association charity’s Knowsley and St Helens Life After Stroke Service.

Sadly vandals have broken into a polytunnel, ripped out canes supporting plants and slashed the sides and doors of the hothouse.

 Now they hope volunteers and tradesmen will help them repair the damage and restore the allotment to its former glory.

Marilyn Richmond, aged 72, enjoys going to the allotment with her husband and carer, Arthur, 76. Since having a stroke in 2012 she was left with communication difficulties and no movement in her right side.

Arthur said: “Marilyn really enjoys using the allotment, which provides companionship and has helped her to improve her communication.

"The allotment has been made accessible for stroke survivors and without it Marilyn couldn’t take part in the gardening that she enjoys so much.

“We were very much looking forward to visiting again this summer so it’s a real shame about the vandalism.”

Jean Hobbs, Stroke Association communication support co-ordinator expressed disappointment that anyone should target the site: “The Stroke Association has worked incredibly hard to raise funds to improve the allotment and make it accessible.

“The sessions at the allotment help stroke survivors gain satisfaction by growing fruit and vegetables. It also helps them to interact with others to improve confidence and reduce social isolation.

“It’s hugely upsetting to see the allotment being frequently damaged. We’re appealing for the vandals to stop, and any support to help us repair the damage would be gratefully received.

” Anyone who is able to help should contact the Stroke Association Communication Support Service in St Helens on 01744 646163

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