Nearly three weeks ago the Sunflowers at Grafton nursery experienced what could have been a devastating blow – one of their Ford Transit minibuses was stolen. It disappeared on the evening of Tuesday 5 Sept. The theft was discovered early the next morning and immediately reported to the Police, and by mid-day the burned out wreck of the minibus was found, just North of Basingstoke but with its engine missing. It was stolen for its engine, something which (apparently) isn’t unusual.
Sunflowers at Grafton have opened a ‘Go Fund Me” page . Not to cover the cost of a replacement minibus, rather to cover the cost of enhanced security around the Nursery and in all vehicles, with the aim of making it more difficult for thieves to do this again.
Sunflowers is a not-for-profit, charity registered nursery that runs in the heart of the Grafton Parish community to provide nursery care for 0-5 years, alongside primary school wrap-around care and holiday clubs. They currently work with 150+ families and are focused on supporting the children and their families and this minibus was a fundamental and integral part of their operation. Their minibuses specifically provide tand enable Holiday Club and Nursery children to get out and about on all sorts of trips.
But, they managed to maintain the level of service that they provide to the parents and children with support from other local organisations, such as Great Bedwyn Primary, St Johns and Swindon Dial A Ride who have all been helping Sunflowers keep going as seamlessly as possible.
A replacement vehicle will be there soon, but finding a suitable vehicle in the current market is a challenge which is going to take time.
Inspector Ben Huggins, leader of this area’s Community Policing Team added a note for all to consider regarding security of vehicles left in unattended areas: “Whilst incidents of this nature are rare, please ensure you take the opportunity to consider crime prevention activity such as not leaving personal items on display, or keys within easy reach. Often thieves are opportunistic and the more barriers in their way, the less they will try to commit the theft”.
When asked about how Sunflowers were coping, Business Manger, Sue England told Marlborough.news: “The wheels on the bus continue to go round and round. Our new wheels will be here soon but we have been, and will continue to be able to provide the important service to our community that we do on a normal day by day basis until those new wheels roll in.”