SUPPORT has flooded in for a community multi-arts centre raided by thieves who smashed their way in and stole much-needed takings from a safe.
The Engine Rooms on Westgate was raided at the weekend with around £2,000 snatched and a door smashed in with a sledgehammer.
It has come at the worst time of year for the community hub, which reinvests its takings into its various projects.
The centre hosts a music school and live performances as well as providing a home for community groups, rehearsal space and a recording studio. Now staff and those who use the facility have come together to put on a festival to raise funds to replace those lost in the heartless raid.
James Furnell, who co-founded the centre in 2008, said he was overwhelmed with the support received – and vowed not to let the “brutal” break-in affect the work being done there despite the difficulties they will now face after the loss of the cash.
He said: “It’s the worst time this could happen as we have a lull over the Summer.
“We work on our bare bones so it’s a bit brutal to be honest.
“It won’t be one of our young people who have done this and I hope it’s not someone from Skelmersdale as it’s a lovely place, but its that one-in-a-hundred who give it a bad reputation for the rest of us. We’re trying to build a real social hub and it’s taken five years to get where we are. But we won’t let this put us back and it’s business as usual already.”
The theft took place between 6pm on Sunday and 10am on Monday morning, when the break-in was discovered.
The raiders scaled a locked security gate, smashed a window and pushed up shutters to gain access, then smashed the till and forced a safe, taking around £2,000, before smashing through a door with a sledgehammer – though it is not clear if any equipment has been taken.
After the Engine Rooms posted details of the raid on Facebook dozens of users posted their shock and upset at the news, and a fundraiser at the venue – named JimFest – has been organised for October 21, with donations welcome and proceeds going to cover the damages.
And James said: “It’s a horrible thing to happen but we’ve been overwhelmed by the support and I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words.”Anyone with information can call police on 101.