We had some very sad news in July 2014 – on the night of Sunday 13th, just days before it celebrated its third anniversary, the Café suffered a major break‑in.
Money that had been collected to support activities for local young people was taken, along with several important items of equipment; much of the interior of the building was damaged; and one of the main Café windows decorated with bespoke heritage artwork was destroyed.
However, we were thrilled at the positive response from the local community. Shirley resident Joanne Craig very kindly set up a Just Giving page to support the Café, which raised an astonishing £1770. Further donations were also received from, among others:
- Shirley Infant School and Shirley Junior School, who organised ice cream sales;
- Foundry Lane Primary School, whose Year 2 organised a special collection;
- Shirley Methodist Church Summer Club;
- Individuals who came into the Café to make personal donations.
In total, £2400 was raised, which was used to install further CCTV and security systems in the Café building (which helped the Police to identify some people who were being a little troublesome), to make day‑to‑day improvements to the Café for everyone, and to support further community projects in St.James’ Park.
One of the volunteers who works in the Café produced a poster (above right) to capture the positive response and comments from the local community about the Café – click on the picture to see a larger version.
We’d also like to thank Premier Fire Security who generously gave ParkLife a substantial discount on normal prices for the CCTV installation.