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The Young Lives Foundation, based in College Road, had planned to take 35 vulnerable children to the Snow White production in Chatham’s Central Theatre on Friday but thieves punctured the fuel tank to remove the diesel.
The damage left the organisation with a £700 repair bill and forced them to arrange alternative transport for a Christmas meal at Frankie and Benny’s, in Chatham, yesterday (Thursday).
Janine Batt, spokesman for the charity, said: “We’re angry that people would do this because it means the children could miss out. The money we have to put forward would have been used to provide support for people that use our services in the future.
“These are disadvantaged kids, they are vulnerable and we will always do all we can to avoid letting them down.
“We’re grateful for the support we received that made sure no child was left disappointed and hope to have the problem repaired before Christmas.
“The van was parked in our shared car park but in the future we will park it elsewhere to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
The pantomime trip was run in conjunction with the New Line Learning Academy, in Boughton Lane, and thankfully charity staff and teachers were able to provide last minute transport for the children.
Volunteers at the charity were also able to take the children to their Christmas meal, but had to make two trips to ensure no one was left out.
Money forked out on the repair will ultimately be covered by the charity’s insurers but it could have been used to pay for two young people to be placed on an overnight trip to a tourist attraction, two 10-week mentoring programmes or an evening activity for 30 kids.
The charity also speaks out on behalf of young people and has a dedicated team of volunteers that befriend youngsters.
Police are investigating the incident, which is believed to have happened between Tuesday and Thursday last week.
Anyone with information is urged to call 101.
If you would like to make a donation to the charity visit www.ylf.org.uk and click donate.
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