1st Jul, 2022

Coventry Point charity leader supports 'lifeline' council buildings plan for evicted organisations

Felix Nobes 9th Mar, 2018 Updated: 9th Mar, 2018

A CHARITY leader has expressed support for a ‘lifeline’ plan to enable the organisations evicted from Coventry Point to use empty council properties on a temporary basis.

Coventry’s opposition councillors say the Labour-controlled Coventry City Council could listen to their idea to re-house the charities removed from the Coventry Point tower block.

Sam Schooler, founder of the Shine a Light Support Service for people suffering with cancer, said the charities are struggling to function after eviction and would support a move to short-term offices.

She said: “We are presently having to work from home and in communities and have had to suspend our drop in service and other services temporarily until we can find somewhere to run from.

“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.”

Other charities removed from Coventry Point include Coventry Irish Centre, Highlife Centre, Abacus, Terrence Higgins Trust and The Hummingbird Centre.

The proposals have been put forward by Coun Gary Ridley, the leader of Coventry Conservatives, and Coun Gary Crookes, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration.

Coun Ridley said: “These charities are doing really important work in the City of Coventry.

“However their sudden eviction means that many of them are now staring right into the abyss.

“If they go the impact will be felt right across the city by many vulnerable people – and I believe we have a moral duty to support them at this difficult time.

“As councillors aren’t we elected to defend and help the vulnerable? Can’t we do better than this?”

The alternative proposals to provide temporary offices for the charities could be approved at a full council meeting on March 13.

Schooler added: “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.

“Many of the charities need spaces suitable to run services from including disabled access for service users.

“We would be really happy to be offered such an opportunity.”

Some 43 charities were plunged into uncertainty after being served ‘eviction notices’ at the beginning of last month.

The organisations were given one months’ notice to vacate the premises – most charities have now relocated.

The tower block is being purchased by the council to enable demolition and facilitate its ‘City Centre South’ redevelopment plans.

Last month, Conservatives identified a way for the council to provide the charities with a rescue package worth £120,000.

The proposals were blocked by ruling Labour councillors, however Coun Ridley is optimistic the plan will eventually receive their support.

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