The owners of a charity gym in Worthing have spoken of their sadness after a coffee shop set up to support the non-profit business was burgled.
Mike O’Hagan co-owns The Bar Gym in Bath Place and received a call in the early hours of Wednesday morning to tell him his Portland Road café, Supp, had been broken into.
CCTV from the break-in shows masked men smashing through the door, taking a till and returning a further three times to drain the shop of boxing gloves, supplements and cash.
Mike said the thieves had stolen vital income for the gym, which provides free classes for low income members of the community and anybody needing support.
“It was just sadness more than anything else,” he said.
“They took everything – the till, the stock, kept coming back for more. We work really hard, as do other businesses, but these people just don’t realise how much of an impact it has on small businesses and charities. People contribute to the gym with equipment and things, but then someone comes along and destroys the good work like this.
“We are just trying to survive. You do good things but sometimes people just aren’t interested and ruin it.
“I’m not looking for retribution, what’s done is done. The community needs to say ‘we don’t want people like these in our towns doing these things’. These things are cancerous to towns like Worthing.”
Mike said the gym was already struggling in the face of increased competition in the town, propped up by side businesses such as Supp.
The boiler had recently broken, he said, leaving members reliant on emersion heating to take showers.
He urged anybody offered cut price supplements or boxing equipment to be wary they may have come from the burglary and said any donations to the charity were always welcome.
The Bar Gym finally received official charity status in February after ten years serving the community. Read more about its inspirational story here: ‘It’s bigger than all of us’: Worthing town centre’s hidden gem receives the recognition it deserves
Read other examples of The Bar Gym’s charitable activities here: