Leeds charity hit out at vandals 'in their 40s' who broke into their learning bus and had a party

Volunteers at charity Slung Low have been left in shock after a bus used to hold adult education classes was broken into and damaged.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 1:52 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 1:54 pm
Volunteers boarding up the smashed windows of the bus at Slung Low in Holbeck

The organisation took over working men's club The Holbeck this year and opened it as a community arts space and members' bar. They also bought a double-decker bus to convert into the Cultural Community College, where classes and workshops are held.

Slung Low's artistic director Alan Lane hit out at a group of people 'in their 30s and 40s' whom he believed had vandalised the bus and left it needing £5,000 worth of repairs. Vodka bottles and cigarette ends were discarded inside.

The vehicle had all of its windows smashed and the heating unit ripped out before the suspects had a party inside.

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The heating unit was ripped out and windows smashed

"It’s hard to keep a gentle heart in these moments. The accumulative effect of attacks major and minor over a long period of time. You forget the hundreds of people who have the most positive experience and you concentrate on these. It changes you. It changes your world view," said Alan on Twitter.

"But then we’re still here. And we’ll fix the windows. And there’ll be an epic quiz on Boxing Day, and shows and classes in the new year, and we’ll still be here.

"They weren’t kids that broke into the bus. Fully grown 30/40somethings. I know who they are. They are desperate people. Doesn’t make it right. Or easier. They’ve caused £5,000 worth of damage. Doesn’t make them any less desperate. The world is complicated."

Alan added that local businesses and members had helped the volunteers to clean up and had donated wooden boards to secure the bus, which is parked at the Jenkinson Lawn site in Holbeck.

Empty vodka bottles and cigarette ends were left inside

West Yorkshire Police are investigating and sent a forensics team to the scene this morning.

Who are Slung Low?

Slung Low was founded in 2000 and began life as a theatre company that worked with communities to put on productions in non-theatre spaces. Their work has been featured in the Hull City of Culture 2017 celebrations.

They have recently opened a permanent base at The Holbeck, a former working men's club. They run the bar as a traditional members' area and the rest of the building is used as a development space for artists. Exhibitions are also held with pay-as-you-feel entry fees.

The bus is used to host adult education workshops and classes

The Cultural Community College bus was launched in autumn 2018 as a place where adults can come to learn new skills. Workshops and classes include stargazing, cookery, carpentry and singing, and are also run on a pay-as-you-feel basis.