Outrage as Hartstown Community centre’s repair fund stolen

by Sylvia Pownall

Locals have expressed their outrage and disgust after a heartless thief made off with hundreds of euro collected for a roof repair fund in Blanchardstown.

A fundraising bottle containing around €500 was stolen from the reception area of Huntstown Community Centre on Saturday afternoon.

The incident was reported to gardai, who have CCTV footage of the suspected culprit helping himself to the cash before legging it.

Over the past year, locals have organised many fundraisers towards the €100,000 needed to repair the centre’s leaking roof.

A bag pack at Dunnes Stores in Blanchardstown is planned for this Friday, April 19.

Centre manager Chris Sullivan told Dublin Gazette: “I’m here ten years and we’ve never lost so much as a bag of crisps. This is the lowest of the low.”

She added: “The man who took the bottle had been in earlier and saw the cash. He saw the guys were busy out the back and he took his opportunity.

“We just had it out on the counter for people to donate. We’ve been fundraising for a full year now and everyone has rallied around us.

“People have been so good, the support has been phenomenal.”

A variety of fundraisers including a Strictly Come Dancing event have so far raised half of the money needed to fix the leaky roof, which needs replacing in parts.

Huntstown Community Centre first opened its doors in 2001 and is used by youth and voluntary groups including Scouts, Order of Malta and the local football club.

It has a coffee shop and a counsellor on site and is a regular meeting point for community groups including mother and toddler, ladies’ clubs and senior citizens as well as running morning and evening classes and a free breakfast club.

Chris said: “That bottle was for the community, to go back to the community. We’re saddened but it’s one incident and we’ll move on.”

Chris is now calling for volunteers (age 16 or over) to help with Friday’s bag pack so the fund can move closer to its €100,000 target.

She said: “Bear in mind the number of activities such as yoga, art, exercise classes, youth clubs, dancing … where would they go if we’ve no roof?”

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