HARD work by volunteers to renovate a Portsmouth dance studio has been undone after vandals smashed up a fence outside of the building.
The Movement Initiative (TMI) moved into a new studio in Somers Road, in Somers Town, this week, with the goal of training dancers to compete in UK and international competitions.
But chief executive Gareth Smith learnt yesterday that the fencing around the studio has been smashed by vandals, describing the damage as ‘heartbreaking’.
He said: ‘We had literally only opened the day before so it was quite a shock to have this happen.
‘It’s not a great feeling considering how much money we spent as a charity to make the studio building look nice.
‘All of the renovation work was done by the families, children and other volunteers so it’s a real kick in the gut – to see it like this is simply heartbreaking.’
TMI is a charity dance group set up back in 2014. It moved into the new studio to create a better environment for the dancers.
The incident has been reported to the police – but Mr Smith is unsure if the fencing will be replaced.
Mr Smith explained: ‘There’s no point in us buying a new fence if it’s just going to be kicked back down.
‘We’re currently exploring our options to see if there’s an alternative.
‘It hurts that we’re trying to do something positive and are instead met with this – but we will just have to carry on with what we do.’
A number of volunteers had pitched in to help with the work, including Alex Speight, from Portsmouth.
He said: ‘This weekend was the grand opening of the new studio which took many volunteers, including myself, hours and hours of hard work and dedication.
‘Many volunteers helped by sewing, painting, building, cleaning and putting up fencing.
‘It is very clear this was not caused by high winds but as a result of someone causing mindless vandalism.
‘Not only does this take time and effort, but now we are faced with the costs of replacing this fencing, probably with something less aesthetic which is a great shame.’
A spokeswoman from Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘At some time between 8.45pm on September 23 and 8am on September 24 approximately 20 meters of fencing was damaged at a property on Somers Road, Southsea.
‘Anyone with information should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting 44180359990.’