UNDETERRED by a break-in, which saw them lose £10,000 through stolen equipment and damage, members of a charity are ready to reach their goals in 2019.
The Friday Night Club were left devastated last year when thieves stole three off-road buggies, helmets and archery equipment were stolen from the group’s outdoor container at Knowle Haven in Fareham.
The charity, which began as a monthly disco at Wallington Village Hall, provides activities for people with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues.
Group founder and CEO Geoff Knipe told The News that the group’s goals this year include installing disabled toilets, improving the buggy track and installing more security measures.
He said: ‘Last year’s events were pretty upsetting and it has taken a lot of money and time to replace all our equipment but the community has been amazing and people have come out of the woodwork to donate money and offer their time and skills to fix things.
‘It does also mean the things we wanted to achieve this year like installing disabled toilets are now a bigger challenge but we are determined to get them built so more people can use our facilities.’
Improving security measures at the site are top of the club’s list for this year after the container was broken into in late October.
Geoff said: ‘Someone worked very hard to steal our equipment as a grinder had been used to get in the gate, the security camera had been knocked off the wall and we are still aren’t sure how they got into the container.
‘But we are getting a new container which will be more secure and we will convert the old one in to the disabled toilets. We want to make it as hard as possible for people to take anything so there will be CCTV, locks, bolts and tracking devices on the buggies.
‘Our clients were very upset when the equipment was taken and we are determined not to let it happen again.’
The club has more than 100 members who attend the weekly sessions and Geoff says there are no limits to how many people can join the club.
He said: ‘We have come so far and achieved so much in the last few years.
‘We have only been at the Knowle Haven site since April and we have put up a marquee so we can do the archery sessions whatever the weather.
‘Now we are looking to improve the buggy track as at the moment when it rains the corners of the track are basically underwater and we can’t use it even on days with great weather so we want to improve the drainage so we can.’
He added: ‘I just want to thank everyone has supported us including those who have donated and local builders who have given up their time and we hope the support continues in 2019.’
To donate towards the charity visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/FNCorg/