Stop Closure of South London Refugee Partnership by Lewisham Council
SLRP was set up in May 2002. It is a ‘cross borough’ refugee partnership which aims to increase opportunities for local refugee organizations and communities groups in the Boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark, Lambeth and Greenwich.
The aim of SLRP is to increase opportunities for local refugees’ organisations and community groups in these boroughs. It provides a wide range of help and support for projects and initiatives by refugee organisations as well as support to individual refugees.
SLRP supports refugees community groups (RCOs) by helping them to set up projects; provides help for individual refugees in responding to new needs arising from changes in legislation; disseminates information relating to training, immigration, fundraising as well as updates for members on human rights issues.
SLRP does not just provide services for refugees and refugees groups; it is also active in providing services to the local community. In particular, it organises a Youth Football Project for young people in Lewisham aged 7-14 years old; a learning and social club for over 50’s; and an internet café for refugees looking for work, that is open to the entire local community.
Since its creation in 2002, SLRP benefited from help from the Lewisham Mayor’s Office, which offered an office for its activities. But since 2005, the organisation was subject to harassment and discrimination from Council officials.
SLRP is located at the ground floor of Parker House, and situated at 144 Evelyn Street, Deptford, London SE8 5DD. Parker House is a four storey office blocks (plus basement) owned by the London Borough of Lewisham and managed by its Community Sector Unit.
During the winter of 2005-2006, the project was deprived of heating. Staff also has had to work in the dark, because the official in charge of the premises refused to replace defective lighting. One of the Council’s staff barged into the chairman’s office of the association, to interrupt a meeting he was holding in his office. This appears to have been part of trying to get the SLRP out of its premises.
On 17 August 2007, SLRP received a letter from Lewisham Council making offering a ‘Tenancy at Will’, involving a substantial rent more than half SLRP’s budget. Whilst SLRP benefits from a ground floor position there was no parity with charges made to the other occupiers of the same building. After SLRP agreed to a ‘tenancy at will’, but sought to negotiate a more reasonable rent, the council then issued a notice to quit the premises by 6th December.
We the undersigned call for Lewisham Council to rescind the notice to quit, and negotiate a reasonable rent with SLRP, which performs a socially useful role both for refugees and the wider local community, and allow them to continue their work.
The Stop Closure of South London Refugee Partnership by Lewisham Council petition to Lewisham Council was written by South London Refugee Partnership and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.