Save Code 7 - Supporting young people for 21 years
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This is a desperate and public appeal to all Lambeth Councilors, the Lambeth Chief Executive Sean Harris, the Leader of Lambeth Council Ms. Lib Peck and the public at large to help save our charity from certain closure.
Code 7 Ltd is a massively popular, music based youth focused charity, founded in 1996. Led by the reggae dancehall superstar and legend Asher Senator, Code 7 is one of the oldest and last remaining, charitable organisations working to support young people in Lambeth, South London.
Our work has been nationally and locally recognised, i.e. BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief, Home Office and a range of other prestigious funding organisations, and over the last two decades Code 7 has become a vital community institution and resource, working with and saving the lives of thousands of young people either as perpetrators or as victims of violent criminality.
Throughout this time, we have worked hard with Lambeth Council and other stakeholders to secure long term, permanent accommodation. This has been a fraught and difficult process. The very contentious nature of our work and our clientele is not one that attracts huge levels of funding.
We have nevertheless survived some difficult challenges, however it’s with huge sadness that we report, today, as we stand, the entire future of Code 7 is now in doubt.
The sad fact is that without good sense prevailing or some other immediate intervention, we will have to close, leaving hundreds of young people in Lambeth, both bereft and abandoned. If that happens, then the message that will be sent to young people, living in the most violent borough’s in London is ‘You’re on your own’.
Despite lots of promises from Lambeth Council about their repeated commitments to secure Code 7 a permanent home, 17 years on we are still waiting. In 2013 Lambeth did identify a potential building. Lambeth gave us £10,000 for a property feasibility study demanding we raise a matching fund of £10,000. We secured the funds and Lambeth waited until we completed the feasibility study and then sold the building behind our backs, betraying the community, wasting valuable time and taxpayers’ money. In total, £20,000 was completely wasted which could have helped towards paying our license fee for the next 2 years.
Consequently, we missed real opportunities to spend our time on fundraising to ensure our sustainability. Two years were wasted and cost us in the region of £60,000 in loss of potential funds. We lost key members of staff who were disillusioned by the extraordinary move by the Council and left us struggling to find the right staff to continue delivering our in-demand service to young people.
For the last 5 years we have been based at the Springfield Community Medical Centre, Union Road, Lambeth. Lambeth Council initially provided support for rent, however in February 2016, we were informed that the License will have to be paid by Code 7 henceforth. Desperate, at the time, we entered into extensive correspondence with the Council (see appendices below) and called the Chief Executive of Lambeth, Sean Harris numerous times but to no great effect.
On Tuesday 19th July 2016, we received an email from Lambeth informing us that Lambeth will have to ‘restrict access’ to our offices at Springfield if we did not pay an almost £6,000 bill. In this same week, we received a bill for electric costs of £1995, which was backdated to 2014. This was despite Lambeth Council having confirmed, at that time, that Code 7’s service charge payments were all up to date.
Fast-forward to this week July 5th 2017 and again Lambeth is threating to lock us out of our own offices if the exorbitant licence fee and all arrears are not paid.
In the last two weeks, we have written to the Leader of Lambeth Council Lib Peck and the CEO Sean Harris proposing a right to buy/ asset transfer of a historic community centre, 365 Brixton Road, under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011. We are determined to secure our future, and to do that we need your help.
Today: Code is counting on you
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