Sistah Space secures new home in Hackney amid long-running premises dispute
- Credit: Heardinlondon ,www.heardinlondon.com/
A domestic violence organisation has announced it has secured a new home in Hackney after a landlord offered up the space at half its usual rent.
The news follows a long-running premises dispute between Hackney Council and Sistah Space, a local charity led by and for women, and children, of African and Caribbean descent.
The charity announced on Twitter on February 3 that it had secured an office space, five days a week, adding: “Not ideal, but it beats being on the streets.”
Founder of the charity, Ngozi Fulani, said the space was offered by a local charity, which she preferred not to disclose, at significantly reduced cost.
She said the landlord would usually charge £43,000 in rent for a year but dropped to £16,000 to accommodate Sistah Space for the duration of 2021.
Sistah space will use money raised via GoFundMe to pay for the space and staff wages.
Representing The Save Sistah Space campaign, supported by Hackney opposition parties, Ngozi spoke at a council meeting on January 27 debating a petition calling on Hackney council to provide her charity with a “safe space” to carry out its vital services.
Two petitions launched by the campaign have garnered over 20,000 signatures in support of the campaign.
But most Hackney councillors debating the issue did not support the petition in line with the Mayor of Hackney, Phil Glanville, who said Sistah Space was asking for a “space which simply does not exist”.
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Some conservative councillors showed support for the motion describing the debate as "shambolic".
The grassroots charity was also told granting the petition's demands would risk breaching the administration’s Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) policy as well as its public sector equality duty (PSED).
In response the charity has notified the council to resubmit the petition and Ngozi said of the dispute: “It has been awful but we’ve had a world of support.”
A council spokesperson said the petition policy in the local authority's constitution says that petitions are not normally reconsidered once there has been a debate on them.
They said: "[The resubmission] will be considered under the constitution once it is submitted."
Support Sistah Space at www.sistahspace.org/support-us