STAFF at a charity’s community hub were staggered to find thieves had broken in, ransacked the building and stolen equipment.

The break-in at The Lighthouse in High Street, Woking, was discovered by the centre manager Lucy Greenland.

She arrived at the hub ready to prepare for a day full of activities – including operating the food bank, preparing community lunches and offering free haircuts.

Lucy found windows had been smashed to gain entry, locked cupboards had been forced open and equipment, including computers, taken.

“It was a real shock,” she said.

“We are insured, so everything is covered, but it has been so disruptive.  

“Guests were about to arrive to access our services and would have to wait while we assessed the damage and cleaned up. Everything was temporarily thrown into chaos. 

“We have an amazing team of volunteers who rallied around to ensure the building was safe to welcome guests again, providing food and a safe place where they would feel welcomed and secure.”

The charity is determined to go ahead with its summer plans, explaining that for many people in the community, the season can be tough. 

“It adds extra financial burden to those already struggling to survive,” said Lucy. 

“Things like loneliness or a sense of missing out on life’s pleasures can add to existing mental health issues. With children home from school, additional meals are needed, new school uniforms, shoes, bags and books need to be bought, before even considering an ice cream or special treat.”

Last year, The Lighthouse helped hundreds of people to make their summer a little brighter. It created special summer treats, experiences and outings. 

More than 450 families were supported with Back to School packs filled with essential basics like new shoes, underwear and stationery.

The number of referrals to The Lighthouse have increased dramatically in recent months, as the cost of living bites and the mental health epidemic increases. 

The charity has launched an appeal to bring some SUN into the lives of those who are struggling – Supply, Unburden and Nurture.

SUPPLY – Give free nutritious food, including tasty summer treats. Provide hundreds of children with brand new schools shoes, a school bag, a range of school essentials as well as quality preloved uniform. 

UNBURDEN – Deliver free money-advice clinics with qualified debt advisers who help people relieve debt and learn to budget effectively.

NURTURE – Cultivate mental and emotional resilience, life skills, and connectedness through free workshops, support groups, community lunches and fun events. 

“We are here for those who need us, and do not want to be distracted by the break,” said Lucy. 

“With the support and generosity of the community we hope we can still raise funds to continue with our plans.” 

To support The Lighthouse or learn more about its work, visit the hub at 8-10 High Street, or visit