Brierfield Children's Community Allotment fundraising £10,000 for new equipment and storage after 'heart-breaking' fire rips through main shed

A Pendle community group that hosts numerous free children’s activities is fundraising for new equipment and storage after a “devastating” fire.

The blaze ripped through Brierfield Children's Community Allotment in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday, August 24th, destroying numerous fence panels and a large shed containing essential items, such as toys, garden tools, cooking utensils and cleaning products. It also decimated murals painted by many families during a community art project.

The volunteers are now raising £10,000 to replace the lost content, which is used to run groups that help people learn new skills and improve their wellbeing.Gail Barton, a volunteer, said: “The fire was awful. It’s all heart-breaking.

"It’s a big allotment and it wouldn’t be unrealistic to have more than 100 people present, easily. About a quarter of the plot has been damaged and that was the section that held a number of outbuildings storing equipment. To see all of that reduced to a mangled combination of metal and ash is absolutely devastating.

The blaze destroyed the allotment's main shed containing numerous equipment for running children's groups.

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"There were lots of tyres with things planted in them that have just melted away. We’ve been left with a massive amount of work to do just to clear away the damage, which is extreme.

"To see all the things you’ve dedicated time and energy to destroyed is just heart-breaking. It’s extremely disappointing.”

A number of activities have been postponed while the community group, which does not have insurance to replace the equipment, clean up after the destruction.

The fire is the latest setback for the group following the pandemic and problems with vandalism and antisocial behaviour, with volunteers working hard for the past year to re-open the site to the community.

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Members of Building a Better Brierfield (left), which donated £225 worth of B&Q vouchers to Brierfield Children's Community Allotment, with some of the latter's volunteers.

Gail added: "The alleyway is a hotspot for people hanging out and being a nuisance. We’ve had issues in the past with vandals and have been trying to make the site more secure. It was all going really, really well.

"I just hope and pray that this is the last incident.”

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The destruction left behind from a fire at Brierfield Children's Community Allotment.