Breadcrumbs

Charities count the cost of violent disturbances

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector Online, 9 August 2011

A Brixton charity was forced to close its offices after the shop below was set on fire

A Brixton charity was forced to close its offices after the shop below was set on fire

Croydon Voluntary Action, Terrence Higgins Trust, Oxfam and the employment charity Centrepoint are among the organisations affected by looting and fire damage

Charities have had buildings looted and damaged by fire during the violent disturbances across London and the rest of England.

In Croydon, south London, a large office that housed the support body Croydon Voluntary Action and 12 other charities and social enterprises has been partially destroyed by fire and is smoke-damaged.

Leigh Armstrong, head of asset management at CVA, said the charity’s staff had been unable to assess the extent of the damage because the building was in a police exclusion zone.

Armstrong said the 12 charities that rented offices in the building included Somali Elderly Disabled Carers, Imagine Mental Health and employment charity Centrepoint.

The Terrence Higgins Trust was also due to use the building today for HIV testing, he said.
 
Armstrong said nobody had been hurt at the charity’s office because it had been evacuated at 4pm yesterday.

Staff were being asked to work from one of CVA’s five other buildings, he said, but it was likely that they would leave early today in case there was more trouble.

Armstrong said an Age UK office in Croydon had also been broken into and ransacked. "I can only imagine people wanted to steal the computers," he said.
 
Welfare-to-work charity the Careers Development Group has also had to close its office in Brixton, south London, after the Foot Locker store below it was looted and set on fire during disturbances on Sunday night.Shop below offices of Career Development Group was set on fire

The charity, which is the only voluntary sector organisation solely running a prime contract under the government’s Work Programme, has an office above the shoe shop in the centre of Brixton.

A spokesman for the charity said structural engineers were surveying the site. He confirmed that there was some fire damage but said he did not know how bad the damage was because police and fire authorities would not let the charity’s staff visit the building.

An Oxfam music shop in Ealing, west London, was also broken into and looted, and suffered smoke and water damage after the building next door was set on fire.

A spokesman, who asked not to be named, said: "Musical instruments have been stolen from the store, but it is too early to assess the extent of the smoke and water damage because people are not being allowed in. The shop will be closed for at least a week."

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