Toxteth building blaze ‘started deliberately’

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A fire ripped through the premises of Squash Nutrition in Toxteth on Sunday. Pic © Squash Nutrition / Twitter

A fire ripped through the premises of Squash Nutrition in Toxteth on Sunday. Pic © Squash Nutrition / Twitter

A devastating fire in Toxteth over the weekend was probably started deliberately, according to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

The blaze on Sunday completely destroyed the building in Windsor Street, which had been purposely-built to house the new Toxteth Food Central – a community initiative to encourage locals to grown their own fruit and vegetables.

Merseyside Fire Station Manager Tony Brown confirmed: “An investigation into the cause of the fire found the suspected cause to be a deliberate ignition. We investigate every fire we are called to and work with the police to find those responsible for arson.”

Despite the fire, building owners Squash Nutrition have reaffirmed their determination to ensure that the centre, which was still under construction, will open as planned – albeit with a slight delay.

In a statement, Squash Nutrition said: “The Toxteth Food Central team are committed to completing their plans for a dynamic community café, affordable food store, garden and training kitchen.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response of the local and wider community who have sent messages of support and offered us their help. The process of rebuilding has already begun.”

Squash Nutrition has operated in Liverpool 8 for the last 10 years and planned to open Toxteth Food Central as a way of offering further support to local residents who continually struggle to put nutritious meals on the table.

The scheme was designed to teach people how to grow their own healthy foods in an urban environment, while also offering a community café with accessible education and a food store in the hope of offering more affordable quality produce to customers.

JMU Journalism spoke to Squash Nutrition co-founder Becky Vipond, who remained defiant in her belief that the centre would soon be opening its doors, despite this setback.

She said: “We are trying to stay positive due to the huge levels of effort that have been invested into this by the community. We want to make sure we can turn this temporary, unfortunate and sad event into something positive in the long run.

“If anything this has made us more determined than ever and in the meantime all of our cooking classes will continue to take place, while we work in tandem with the community behind the scenes to get the centre opened as soon as is physically possible.”

 

About Michael Henry, JMU Journalism