Vandalised vans are a ‘lifeline’ for Rowans Hospice workers

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IT HAS been described as a ‘disgusting’ act by staff and volunteers.

Two vans for The Rowans Hospice are out of action after their windscreens were smashed and tyres let down.

(l-r) Sue Reeves, manager of the stock processing centre with Hayley Hamlett, volunteer services manager, with bags of stock which should of gone out this week. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (14750-5195) PPP-140314-213908001

(l-r) Sue Reeves, manager of the stock processing centre with Hayley Hamlett, volunteer services manager, with bags of stock which should of gone out this week. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (14750-5195) PPP-140314-213908001

The Rowans Hospice Trading Company has its stock sorting office in Marshlands Road, Farlington, Portsmouth.

There are three vans in total – one with a tailgate to transport furniture – which move donated items to and from the warehouse.

And the attack, which took place some time between 5pm on Saturday, March 8, and 7.50am, on Monday, has created a backlog of stock that can’t be moved to its shops and sold on.

The vans, which are branded with The Rowans logo, are a Citroen Relay and a Ford Transit.

Sue Reeves, manager of the stock process centre, said: ‘The vans are an absolute lifeline for us.

‘If people want to donate furniture, then we use the van with the tailgate to pick it up.

‘If someone buys furniture from our warehouse, then we need it to deliver.

‘The other two vans are used to bring in stock from charity stores that need to be sorted and back out again once they have been.

‘They are in constant use, and we’re all disgusted and upset about this.

‘The volunteers have taken it personally because it affects the hospice.

‘It relies upon the funds raised from selling stock, and we aren’t able to get that out at the moment.’

In order to keep business going, the hospice has hired two vans – at a cost of £250.

An appeal has gone out for businesses to lend a van to The Rowans.

Anne Yendell, director of finance and operations for the hospice, said: ‘It’s extremely disappointing.

‘It totally disrupts the business of raising vital funds.

‘The vans will be off the road for about two weeks so we will need to fund replacements and cope the best we can. All our staff and volunteers work tirelessly.

‘Something like this really affects everyone and impacts on the support the Trading Company can give to the hospice. The business community in Farlington has already rallied around.

‘We have been offered secure parking over the weekend for our vans in the future to avoid this happening again.’

She added: ‘If anyone can support us with the loan of a van, then we would be very grateful.’

Witnesses who may have information on two Rowans Hospice charity vans that were targeted are being asked to come forward.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘Bricks appear to have been used to smash windows on the Citroen Relay and Ford Transit vans.

‘The tyres were also let down.

‘Anyone who may have seen what happened is asked to contact the safer neighbourhoods team at Cosham Police station by calling 101.’