CRUEL vandals have left staff and children at a Glasgow nursery devastated after deliberately burning down their outdoor classroom.

Fire crews tackled a blaze at Castlemilk Day Nursery on Saturday, after the alarm was raised at around 6.30pm.

Play equipment was also targeted, resulting in thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Glasgow Times:

Staff members say they found out about the fire through social media, and that it hasn’t been the first incident over the past couple of months.

Previously, various property has been destroyed, windows have been smashed and offensive words have been drawn on walls.

Anne Burns, staff member at the nursery, said: “I am absolutely devastated that this has happened to our nursery, which has been part of the community for many years, serving countless children and families.

“Our outdoor classroom is an invaluable resource as an extension to our children’s outdoor learning, teaching and play.

“Our nursery is an integral part of the local community, and to think something like this could happen from within our community makes the whole situation even harder to come to terms with when we think of what our children have lost.”

Glasgow Times:

The outdoor classroom has been vital in allowing the children to have a safe place to learn in when it is cold or raining outdoors.

It was also used to celebrate special occasions including graduation and when Santa comes to visit.

More than £2,000 has been raised by the community after parent Debbie Hay set up a fundraising page to help replace the outdoor classroom, and hopefully purchase some CCTV to deter vandals.

Glasgow Times:

Debbie said: “I just wanted to give the kids and staff something back. I knew they would all be disappointed.  "My wee girl goes to the nursery and has been really upset by what’s happened.

“She was asking me where Santa is going to go the next time he visits.

“The response to the fundraiser has been really humbling. I’d just like to thank everyone. It’s really nice to see everyone pulling together.”

Glasgow Times:

Several other parents have also voiced their anger and have offered support including clearing up the destruction and trying to source replacement resources.

Meanwhile, LD - Let’s Talk, a local mental health charity, will be donating £200 after hearing the disappointing news.

Glasgow Times:

Karen Henderson, head of centre, said: “It is just devastating to see the damage that has been done. The staff and children have worked so hard in developing our outdoor area.

“As a nursery we will rebuild our outdoor area, we will not let this deter us from offering our children valuable experiences outdoors.

“I would also like to thank the community and Debbie Hay for all the support we have been shown, I have been overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity.”

Glasgow Times:

Police say enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances. Meanwhile, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed two fire engines were sent to the scene and the blaze was extinguished, with no reported injuries.

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