last week’s Larne Times’ front page story about how thieves broke into Larne Adult Centre and stole equipment that meant such a lot to the members has touched the hearts of the local public and business community.
Among the items taken were televisions, a games console and computer monitors - all of which were used constantly by the adults with special needs who attend the centre - and had been provided by public donations.
Austin Heatley, chairman of the Friends of Larne Adult Centre, said it had been “comforting and reassuring to receive so many messages of support and offers of help”.
“The community of Larne has stood firmly behind us at this time. We are most grateful to everyone, especially our civic leaders for their sympathy and understanding,” he said.
The Larne Times has learned this week that, despite the widespread upset and confusion caused by the despicable burglary, members of the adult centre are thinking of others in society who need support in a different way.
A team has been organised to take part in the forthcoming Northern Ireland Hospice walk to raise funds to help those who are terminally ill.
However, while steps are being taken to replace the items stolen in the break-in, there is no doubt there is a very real and immediate need to address difficulties that members may have when they are unable to enjoy their usual activities as a result of the thieves’ actions.
Mr Heatley said that one group was badly missing their favourite TV programmes, so the Friends supplied a television set as a stop gap.
“There is so much more we need to do and with the goodwill of our community we are confident of achieving our goals,” he said.
The Mayor of Larne, Councillor Bobby McKee, had earmarked Larne Adult Centre to benefit from donations at his charity breakfast, due to be held yesterday (Wednesday).
Two other fundraising events have been organised to raise money to help replace the stolen items.
Adult Centre supporter and fundraiser, Maggie Taggart, explained that a coffee morning and a golf day had been lined up,
“Through the kindness of Louise Magill, the Prom Cafe will be hosting a coffee morning from 9am to 11 am on Wednesday, April 4. The tea and coffee will be provided free by Louise and all she asks is that you make a donation on the morning. If you wish to buy scones or traybakes they will be at your own expense.
“A collection box will be in the Prom Cafe from this week to start it all off and hopefully we can rely on the generosity of the people of Larne to help the members of Larne Adult Centre.
“Secondly, by kind permission of the captain and council of Cairndhu Golf Club, a competition will be held on Sunday, April 15.
“There will also be a ballot, tombola and music in the evening,” Maggie said.
If anyone feels they would like to make a donation, they are asked to contact Maggie on 07966 530690 at 49 Argyll View or at the Adult Centre itself.
“All donations will be most greatly appreciated by all concerned,” she said.