‘Leave us alone’: Café Mandels owner plea to vandals

A FRUSTRATED café owner fears for the future of her not-for-profit business after a series of financially draining vandalism attacks.

Cafe Mandels

Twice in the space of 48 hours, yobs targeted Amanda Wright’s popular Café Mandels in Dunwood Park.

Amanda has now described the attacks as a “kick in the teeth” because of her parallel business providing work-related learning opportunities for young people and the wider community.

And she has urged the Shaw public to report any incidents of criminal damage to the public.

“I don’t usually complain about the hits we take but this has been the final straw,” says Amanda who has run the cafe with volunteer help for two years.

“We have had problems on a regular basis since we opened,” she added.

“The roof has been repaired two or three times, our herb garden gets ripped up on a regular basis, our bins are set on fire and rubbish is thrown on the tennis courts.

“A couple of months ago the poly tunnel on our Growing Space was wrecked and it cost several thousands of pounds to repair.

“This time they broke furniture and generally caused a mess.

“It’s irritating when you are trying to do something good for your community and get everyone involved.

“The work I do through my other business, Right Opportunities, is predominantly aimed at helping young people who might not make it academically.

“We have them come to the café from schools and colleges plus the local area to help them develop their life skills. So, it does feel like a kick in the teeth.

“I would do more but sometimes I am working seven days a week. I can’t physically deliver anything else.

“Financially it is frustrating. Any profit or funding goes back into community projects, workshops, youth training and park events.

“Constantly chasing repairs and damages means there is less money in the pot to create these opportunities and to keep our menu prices down, which makes us all really sad and frustrated.

“Please can I ask everyone who visits the park to try to play their part by reporting any anti social behaviour you witness.”

Despite the attacks, Amanda’s spirits were lifted when she returned to the café.

“When I turned up some of the volunteers had been in during the weekend and tidied the place up,” she said. “It showed there are good people and I was nearly crying.”

Dunwood Park is one of only two in Oldham to be awarded Green Flag status.

It has deemed to provide excellent facilities at international standard and praised for its conservation and heritage work.

All incidents should be reported to police on: 0161 856 8825 (Shaw and Crompton).

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