A charity shop raising crucial funds for LGBT+ causes in Blackpool, England, has been vandalised, leaving its founder “gutted”.
LGBT Charity UK on Talbot Road, which sells books and bric-a-brac to raise money for mental health and housing support for queer folk, was targeted overnight Sunday (5 September), its founder Juke Conway wrote on Facebook.
The windows on the storefront were covered in cracks, Conway said, after someone “put their fist through the window”, he told The Gazette, a Blackpool-based newspaper.
With the cost of replacing the window or fortifying it with wooden planks too high, it’s left the store scrambling to find the money vital to keeping it in business.
“I just can’t believe we have been targeted like this,” Conway said. “It hasn’t happened to any other shop in the area, just us.”
LGBT+ charity shop found feels ‘gutted’ as repair costs loom
“I left the store at 10:15pm and sometime between then and when I came in at 8:15am this morning, somebody had put their first through the window and smashed it in two places,” Conway explained.
“We can’t get anyone to come and fix it until next Thursday. We can’t even get it boarded up unless we’re willing to pay another £500.”
Conway confirmed the incident has been reported to Lancashire Constabulary, the county police force, and an appeal to the public now launched to cover the costs for repair – the window repairs alone tally up to £600, he said.
“We feel gutted,” he added. “Unfortunately, we don’t have any CCTV that covers that area of the shop.”
The attack has come amid a years-long and sharp upswing in anti-LGBT+ hate crimes riddling England, reaching such terrifying highs that police are investigating some seven transphobic offences per day.
But experts stress these figures, already dizzying in their height, still undercount the problem. At least 80 per cent of LGBT+ hate crime victims remain hesitant to report attacks to the authorities, according to data from Stonewall.
“What gets me is that we often get people coming into the shop and taking things without paying,” Conway added. “I don’t bother reporting it and put my own money in the pot instead.
“Now this has happened, I wonder how much money can you put in to keep things going.”
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