5th Jul, 2020

Community rallies round to help SoLO following devastating theft

Sarah Mason 6th Nov, 2019

SOLIHULL residents helped raise more than a smile after sensory equipment from a borough learning disability charity was stolen.

As we reported in August heartless thieves broke in and stole garden equipment from Solihull Life Opportunities’ (SoLO) headquarters on Walnut Close in Chelmsley Wood.

It was believed thieves stole a therapeutic rain wall feature which was destined to take pride of place in the new garden arbour.

After the news broke in The Observer of the theft, the charity said it was inundated with messaged of goodwill and support on its Facebook page.

It was also handed generous donations from Knowle Lodge and Smile Charity.

Maria Brown, fundraising co-ordinator at SoLO, said: “This is a case of ‘all’s well that ends well’.

“Good things come out of bad and we will be celebrating with a number of events with the folk we have made new relationships with – thanks in no small part to the publicity that we received in The Observer when we were broken into.”

Since spring, work has been carried out to turn what was described as a ‘lumpy, bumpy and overgrown space’ into an accessible sensory garden for all at SoLO – complete with raised planters and a wheelchair access path.

The garden has been renovated after a number of extensive fundraising campaigns including one by the charity which supports children and adults with learning disabilities.

Go-Organic CIC works with volunteers with mental health issues and disabilities to transform deprived plots of land into flourishing green spaces.

Bank HSBC also raised funds and helped with the works on the garden.

Gro Organic also replaced the water feature and have installed it in the garden.

Speaking just after the theft, Sarah Forbes, chief executive at Gro-Organic, said: “When our team arrived to find that the rain feature had been stolen over the weekend we were absolutely devastated.

“It has rocked our whole work force.

“Everyone in the area knows the wonderful work that SoLO do for the most vulnerable people in our community and it is sickening to think that people have been watching our work and have knowingly prayed on the charity which is a life line for so many.

Every day there are a number of clubs and activities including after school clubs, a disco for adults and day sessions.

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