Residents create fund for Hackney shopkeeper devastated by riot

Residents have been so moved by the plight of a shopkeeper whose store was destroyed by vandals and looters during the riots, they have set up funds to help save his business.

Sivaharan Kandiah was distraught when he helplessly had to watch the Lower Clapton shop he’s owned for 11 years being ransacked by thugs as he sat in front of the television news at home in Walthamstow on Monday evening.

He drove to Hackney to see the damage for himself at 5.45am the next morning, and was devastated to see Clarence Convenience completely gutted - the windows and doors had been smashed and most of the contents carried away.

Although his building, on Clarence Road, was insured, he was not covered for his stock and so was unable to make a claim.

The Gazette was with Mr Kandiah the day after the attack on his shop and witnessed residents and other shopkeepers offer him tea, hugs, and support, as he struggled to take in what had happened overnight.

But some residents have gone even further, and several websites, and Facebook and Twitter accounts, have been set up for people to donate money to Mr Kandiah.

Cllr Ian Rathbone has been helping to coordinate the various campaigns and now the Hackney Council for Voluntary Service (HCVS) is the main focal point for people wishing to donate.

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He said: “As of today (Friday) we’ve raised more than �8,000 for Siva and we’ve had huge numbers of offers for help. So much so that we’re seeing if we can help other people too – we’ve heard from plumbers and electricians who want to offer their services.”

Mr Kandiah, and others like him, will also be able to expect financial help from the central government.

Prime Minister David Cameron recalled parliament from its summer recess to set up a �20m riot relief fund to help high street retailers return to business – they will be able to make a claim under the Riot Damages Act, even if they were uninsured.

Earlier today, Mr Kandiah was quoted on as saying: “I believe in Hackney. I believe in this community. I am filled with hope.”

To donate or offer help, visit