Londoneast-uk saves the day for training and employment charity
London – April 9, 2015: A popular charity which has helped several thousand black, minority and ethnic (BME) people over the past decade has been saved from closure thanks to SOG Group – owner and operator of the new Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park.
The Diaspora Community Projects (DCP), a BME-led community organisation that offers training courses, career advancement and employment support to adult students, faced instant closure after being given notice to quit its rented premises in Barking at the end of last month (March).
Thomas Musau, who launched DCP in 2004, says he only received one month’s notice from his landlord informing him that the building he operated from was to be demolished.
He sought help from Barking MP Margaret Hodge who alerted London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council to see if alternative premises could be found for Mr Musau. Council officials then contacted SOG Group Managing Director John Lewis who immediately offered rent-free space in existing buildings at Londoneast-uk for three months while DCP sort out a permanent arrangement.
Mr Musau said: “Our situation was absolutely desperate. We had just four weeks’ notice to leave our premises by March 27 and had nowhere else to go. Our entire programme was in jeopardy as we would have been unable to continue the training courses for our students. It was looking terminal until I suddenly received a phone call from the people at Londoneast-uk with an incredibly generous offer that has solved all our immediate problems.
“Margaret Hodge, the local council and Londoneast-uk have all been brilliant. Mrs Hodge responded instantly once she heard what was happening, and the council quickly stepped in to offer support with the all-important introduction to Londoneast.
Within four working days everything had been resolved and just five days after leaving Barking we had moved into Londoneast-uk. The level of support I’ve received has been quite overwhelming and I’m immensely grateful to everyone concerned including my fellow members of Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce who have also been supportive.”
Margaret Hodge has thanked SOG for its timely intervention. In a note to Mr Lewis the MP said: “I just wanted to thank you for your swift action in assisting Diaspora find temporary accommodation at the end of last month. I know that without your crucial assistance Diaspora would have been homeless and unable to continue its services to the community.”
Mr Lewis said: “Over the years I have met many business’s forced out of their accommodation for one reason or another and I understand the stress it can put on the owners and the business itself. We were in a position to help and I am glad it has worked out. Diaspora are now operational and will be totally back to normal straight after Easter.”
Londoneast-uk has provided DCP with two training rooms including a test area, offices for staff, a reception area, kitchen facilities and toilets.
Mr Musau said: “Importantly for our students Londoneast-uk is in an excellent location which is easily accessible by public transport, with tube and bus stops right by the site. We are now talking to the council about finding a permanent home and we would certainly love to stay at Londoneast-uk in the longer term if commercial rates can be agreed that our charity can afford. What SOG has done for us already is incredibly generous and has certainly saved us from closure.”
Diaspora, which means ‘home from home’, was originally launched in Barking in 2004 to offer career advice and guidance to migrants including refugees and asylum seekers. In 2008 he extended the service to accredited training in employment related to black, minority and ethnic adults, along with basic assistance with English and Maths. DCP has an approved training status offering a number of nationally recognised qualifications in different areas as health and social care, customer service, business administration, security, trainer and assessor training among others.
In 2013 DCP launched its most ambitious programme in conjunction with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) revolving around health and safety awareness and other construction related courses to support local people who want to develop a career in the booming construction industry. It also assists students in finding part-time and full-time employment in care, security and construction. For more information visit: www.diasporacp.org
Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park is situated in Dagenham, east London, and is located in state-of-the-art scientific buildings and land which was once a major manufacturing plant of global pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
Now under the ownership of SOG Group – owner and operator of the award-winning Heath Business and Technical Park in Cheshire –highly specialised research & development and manufacturing buildings, which would cost tens of millions of pounds to replicate in today’s market, have been rebranded under the banner of Londoneast-uk and are being transformed into a business and technical park to service London and the Home Counties Londoneast-uk operates as a sister park to The Heath in Runcorn which is regarded as one of the UK’s leading independently-owned technology parks. For more information visit: www.londoneast-uk.com
PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
9th April 2015