Gestures of kindness towards a group of young people have been praised.
The Pembrokeshire Learning Centre in Neyland suffered vandalism in September, where vegetable patches planted by pupils were destroyed.
The discovery of the damage upset and affected many pupils who had worked hard to grow the crops.
On hearing about the vandalism, the youth service at Mid and West Wales (MAWW) Fire and Rescue Service contacted the PLC offering to help re-plant and restore the garden.
Graham Jenkins, Service Youth Team Co-ordinator for MAWW Fire and Rescue Service said they had worked with the PLC on various schemes in previous years and were ‘particularly saddened to learn that the school’s garden had been vandalised in such a way’.
“Our youth engagement work has been restricted during the pandemic, but we are delighted to help these young people to re-plant their garden and, in so doing, re-energise our youth engagement programme in Pembrokeshire,” he said.
Sian Williams is Headteacher at the PLC, a school for 11-16 year olds with complex needs. She said: “We were all shocked and dismayed at the needless damage to an area where the pupils and staff had worked so hard to make into an enjoyable place to spend time. However we were touched by the outpouring of support and offers to help rectify the damage.
“One of our previous learners kindly reached out to help by donating his Education Maintenance Allowance in order to repair the damage. In addition B&Q Carmarthen donated plants to replace those destroyed, aided by MAWW Fire Service who worked alongside pupils to restore the garden to its previous state.
“We are hugely grateful, these offers restore your faith that kindness will always overcome.”
Jo Thomas, Teacher In Charge of the LRC, added: “We were so lucky to have the MAWW Fire and Rescue Service help us re-pot our garden, so it now looks good as new. We cannot thank everyone who offered help to us enough.
“It has made the young people in the PLC feel much happier because they were devastated at the damage children the same as age caused, especially when they had worked so hard on the garden. All the children want to say a huge ‘thank you’.”
Local county councillor Simon Hancock said: “The ýoung people of the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre work so hard to cultivate their plants and improve their environment and it is shocking there has been this mindless vandalism. I am so grateful to the MAWW Fire and Rescue Service for their kind and timely support in putting things right.”
Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning, Cllr Guy Woodham also thanked the Fire and Rescue Service and the others who had helped stating: “When something as unkind as vandalising a school garden takes place, it is heart-warming when the community responds to address the wrong caused. I am very grateful for the continued support offered to the PLC by MAWW Fire and Rescue Service and all those who also helped restore the garden to its former glory.”
Pictured are pupils at Pembrokeshire Learning Centre re-planting their garden with the members of the youth engagement programme at MAWW Fire and Rescue Service.