By John Baron
A kitchen used to help feed hungry families has been stolen from community led Kirkstall Valley Farm.
Stainless steel kitchen worktops, pans and the kitchen sink were taken by thieves overnight Sunday/Monday from the farm, which is run by community organisation Kirkstall Valley Development Trust (KVDT).
KVDT has now launched a fundraiser to replace the stolen equipment.
Adele Rae said: “Absolutely gutted that overnight someone has come onto Kirkstall Valley Farm and stolen our stainless steel kitchen worktops, pans and even the kitchen sink – they actually cut through the pipework to take that!
“It’s not just the cost of replacing these things – although that’s bad enough – it’s the volunteer time and effort that has gone into making a serviceable kitchen that we can cater from for events. Over Easter we provided over 400 meals to children and their families.”
Ms Rae said each week KVDT helps feed 70 to 80 households from its food pantry, 30 to 40 from its community cafe and provides over 100 vegetable boxes from farm produce each week.
“Our staff and volunteers work their socks off – they don’t need to have things made even more challenging,” she added. “Now we just need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again…”
KVDT chair Lucinda Yeadon said: “This kitchen has been used to feed numerous families and individuals in the local area by the wonderful team at Kirkstall Valley Farm.
“It was fitted by a dedicated group of volunteers and is central to ensure that the community is at the heart of farm’s ethos.
“Although this senseless crime is a setback it will not detract from our mission to empower, support and enhance the lives of people in Kirkstall. If you are able to donate to our crowdfunding to replace the kitchen it would be massively appreciated. Or if you’d like to volunteer, pop down for a visit or subscribe to a veg box – you’d be extremely welcome by the Kirkstall Valley Farm and KVDT family.”
The online crowdfunder has so far raised more than £800 in less than 24 hours. People can donate here
Local people reacted with sadness to the theft on social media.
One said: “So sorry to hear this. I came to a smashing party at the farm last summer and loved the space. You really don’t deserve this. It’s an attack on the community and a huge resource.”
Another added: “I would be notifying all local scrapyards as I would imagine that is why they were taken. So sad that even charitable organisations are considered legitimate targets by these thieves!”
“Can’t believe that this has happened, my three grandchildren love to come to your events,” added another.
The farm supplies weekly fresh vegetables to the community through a Harvest Share Membership Scheme, supporting the maintenance of the land and offering opportunities for people to get involved and learn new skills.
The farm is also used for various KVDT community events and activities throughout the year.
These thieves are just the dross of our society. And I wonder which unscrupulous local scrap dealer will turn a blind eye when this comes to be weighed in?
Funny how only metal was stolen. I think you can narrow down to a certain part of society who was responsible? Stealing from an organisation who are trying to help people in trying times is the lowest of the low!