A community has rallied to support an amateur football club after its toilets and changing rooms were destroyed by vandals.
Eastleigh Juniors FC were devastated to discover that yobs had broken into one of their portable cabins at Hesketh Meadow playing fields, causing hundreds of pounds in damage and putting some of their matches at risk with just weeks to go before the start of their new season.
“They trashed the entire block,” said team coach Kevin Miller.
“It was two toilets and a wash basin, and a small changing area too. They’re trashed all the boarding that separated these areas off, smashed it all in, smashed the windows and broken one of the doors to get in.
“It’s just utter vandalism. They may have thought things were in there, but there isn’t. So they might have realised there was nothing to take and just decided to vandalise it instead.”
He added: “In order for the girls team to play, FA rules state that they need these toilets and changing rooms. So with us not having the toilet block operational, it means no girls’ football can take place.
“It’s utter stupidity. I just can’t understand why anyone would break into a toilet block and vandalise it just for the sake of it. If they’d broken in to steal something, I wouldn’t condone it but I would understand it. I don’t think they care, it’s just a bit of fun in their eyes.”
But a groundswell of support from the public has seen the Lowton club start repairing the damage in earnest, much to the delight of the club’s volunteers.
Kevin said: “It’s going to cost us a lot of money, but the community has pulled together, and people are offering their services free of charge, offering items we need to repair the damage.
“So now, it’s only going to cost us time, but that is time that could be used elsewhere.
“We shouldn’t need to rely on donations to repair vandalism, but as a positive, it’s shown what the community is prepared to do for us.
“We are at the heart of the community and we have big plans for Hesketh Meadow.
“This has shown that people will come together and try to help.”
And among the offers of help flooding in, an eight-year-old player for one of Eastleigh’s rivals even donated his pocket money to the cause when he heard what had happened!
The club said it was initially hesitant to share its plight on social media, but chose to do so to warn other amateur clubs to take precautions, as well as to highlight the kindheartedness of its supporters.