COUNCILLORS have agreed to potentially use empty council offices to re-house charities evicted at Coventry Point tower block in the city centre.
A full council meeting debate on Tuesday (March 14) saw a resolution to accommodate the organisations on a temporary basis.
Conservative councillors, who presented the motion to council, say there are 31,000 square feet of empty council-owned properties that could be used – such as Enterprise House in Foleshill.
Sam Schooler, founder of Shine A Light Support Service for people with cancer, recently said the idea could provide a ‘lifeline’ for charities struggling to cope since eviction.
Labour council leaders say they had already provided help in the search for alternative accommodation, since we reported the issue in February.
The Conservatives say they were eventually satisfied with controlling Labour councillors accepting a ‘weaker’ version of their motion.
Tory group leader, councillor Gary Ridley said: “I’m pleased that in the end we reached agreement.
“We need to provide direct, and tangible, help in the form of bricks and mortar.
“As leader of the opposition I’ll be holding Labour to account, they must now abide by this agreement otherwise we could lose these vital charities.”
Labour councillor David Welsh, who presented his group’s amendment, said: “The council is already helping the charities within Coventry Point, we are already helping charities find alternative accommodation and some charities already have found alternative accommodation.”
He later added: “Charities have agreed longer-term leases on buildings, some of them are in the process of refurbishment.
“Some are council buildings and some are not. We don’t want to limit options to council properties.”
The tower block is being purchased by the council to enable demolition and facilitate its ‘City Centre South’ redevelopment plans.
Ms Schooler said last week: “The majority of the charities in the building have been unable to find suitable space to run from – they have either shut or suspended services, leaving vulnerable sections of our local communities without the support and help that they need.
“If we are given long enough to allow charities to develop plans, look for suitable premises to move onto and raise funds for rent and rates then this would be a lifeline for many charities and give breathing space for us to continue services too.”
Other charities removed from Coventry Point include Coventry Irish Centre, Highlife Centre, Abacus, Terrence Higgins Trust and The Hummingbird Centre.
The charities were plunged into uncertainty after being served ‘eviction notices’ at the beginning of last month.
The organisations were given one month’s notice to vacate the premises – all charities have now left Coventry Point.
Support community journalism by making a contribution
The Coventry Observer's team of journalists provide a trusted source of news, sport, entertainment and events going on in your area and issues which matter to you - both via our free weekly print edition and daily updates on our website.
Every contribution, however big or small, you can make will help us continue to do that now and in the future.
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.