A GARDENING project run to support people with learning disabilities and those with mental health needs has been devastated by a fire in Leominster.

Rural Crafts, a project run by local charity ECHO, has been meeting at the site adjacent to the Earl Mortimer College for 20 years.

The fire, which is being investigated by police, has destroyed facilities and left the garden unusable.

Kris Betterton, who leads the project said: “This has been very upsetting for everyone concerned. It’s not just the physical damage that results from an incident like this.

"We can and will, eventually, repair or replace all that is lost. What we can’t fix so easily is the disappointment and sadness felt by those who have worked hard to create this special place. It has taken years to create a place where people feel safe and understood.”

The group, which currently meets once a week to learn skills and share their love of working outdoors, will continue to meet at alternative venues until the garden can be used again.

The fire happened on the evening of Saturday, September 16. Police are also currently investigating after six cases of arson were reported in Leominster over a two-day period.

Those incidents took place on Wednesday, September 13 and Thursday, September 14.

There was no other damage caused to the school during the fire but police are asking anyone with information to call 101.