Dagenham charity saved from the brink by rent-free offer
PUBLISHED: 12:08 15 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:13 15 April 2015
A charity which faced closure has been handed a lifeline after being given three months’ free rent.
Diaspora Community Projects (DCP) has provided thousands of black, minority and ethnic people with training courses and other career-advancing projects since it was founded more than a decade ago.
But the charity’s future was plunged into uncertainty when its trustees were given just one month’s notice that its Barking base was to be demolished.
Founder Thomas Musau said: “Our situation was absolutely desperate. We had just four weeks’ notice to leave our premises and nowhere else to go.
“Our entire programme was in jeopardy as we would have been unable to continue the training courses for our students.”
He sought help from then Barking MP Margaret Hodge, who asked the council whether any alternative premises could be found.
Council officials contacted the SOG Group, which owns and operates the Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park in Dagenham, to see whether it could help out.
Managing director John Lewis offered Thomas and DCP three months rent-free at the former Sanofi plant, until a more permanent arrangement is sorted out.
John said: “Over the years I have met many businesses forced out of their accommodation for one reason or another and I understand the stress it can put on the owners and the business itself.
“We were in a position to help and I am glad it has worked out.”
Now up and running in his new training rooms – which include a test area, offices for staff, a reception, kitchen facilities and toilets – Thomas says he is grateful to all those who rallied round for him.
“The level of support I’ve received has been quite overwhelming,” he said. “We are now talking to the council about finding a permanent home.
“What SOG has done for us already is incredibly generous and has certainly saved us from closure.”
To find out more about DCP, visit diasporacp.org
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