Community supports vegan cheese company after kitchen unit "trashed" by ravers
- Credit: I Am Nut Okay,
A community came together to support an independent Hackney vegan cheese business after ravers broke in and vandalised the dream kitchen they were building.
Couple Nivi Jasa and Angela Chou set up their artisan company I Am Nut Okay three and a half years ago.
At the time the "broke" pair started making nut-based cheeses and spreads from their small home kitchen in London Fields, where they used to live, to make extra cash at local markets.
But the business soon grew and they moved to a small commercial space in Hackney Central.
They launched an online shop and more recently in mid-May, spent all their savings on a unit in Hackney Wick which would house a new kitchen and storage space.
Nivi said: "Within two weeks of having the keys I received a call from the building managers saying that a bunch of people broke into the unit for a rave and vandalised the whole place."
He said the new unit was "trashed", the walls plastered with graffiti with broken bottles and cans littering the floor. Work builders had started had also been damaged.
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Nivi said he "almost felt like crying" because the vandalism was too much to handle initially but was grateful they had not been storing any stock in it yet.
At the time of the incident Nivi's partner Angela was away in New York, so he waited until she had returned to tell her and then reach out to the public for help via a Crowdfunder which launched last week.
The dairy-free cheese artisan has been overwhelmed with all the support they have received so far.
In a week the couple has raised almost £10,000 to help repair damage not covered by insurance, build their new kitchen and install a security system.
Police reported that on June 6 they received an allegation of criminal damage after an unlicensed music event had been held in a building in Rothbury Road the previous night.
The Met said: "Officers conducted an investigation including collating and viewing video footage of the event but no suspects could be identified."
The investigation is now closed.
Still Nivi worries the vandals could cause damage to other small businesses if not caught. Adding that they likely sold drinks at the rave as evidenced by price labels left behind.
To support I Am Nut Okay visit www.gofundme.com/f/vegan-cheese-kitchen-vandalised-by-ravers