Thursday 1 August 2019

High rent forces Brent disabled advocacy service to close its doors as Kilburn Times story spotlights why it is needed now more than ever

Who will advocate and offer support to the disabled people 
across Brent when we close down later this year?

On the same day that the Kilburn Times revealed that a Neasden man with epilepsy has been left with £16 a month to live on under the Universal Credit scheme LINK, a Brent charity, Brent Advocacy Concerns, that has  operated in Brent for 30 years, has been forced to adopt an exit strategy for its operation. The charity is unable to afford the increased rent demanded by its landlord.

John Healy of Brent Advocacy Concerns told Wembley Matters:
Last Monday afternoon, July 29th,  I had to turn down 6 disabled people, requesting advocacy from us.  This is no longer unusual, as we seem to be getting requests covering various issues but we do not have the resources to meet the ever increasing demand any longer.

So Martin you may wish to ask your readers including the council, as to who will advocate and offer support to the disabled people across Brent when we close down later this year?
Even today there is a sad story about a disabled man in Neasden (on Twitter & KT) forced to live on £16 a month.  Once upon a time we might have contacted him, to see if we could help him but not anymore...
Advocacy Concerns plight has been covered before on Wembley Matters and various promises and assurances have come to nothing.

John continued:
You may remember when WM reported back in November 2016 on the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny meeting where the chair reported that they and the CCG would do everything they could to support us, by finding us reasonable accommodation when we were to move from our office at the time to a new office within the centre.

This week our NHS Property Services landlord informed us that from Dec.2019 we will have to pay over £5K a quarter to remain in our small office in the Willesden Centre for Health & Care.   We have managed to stay afloat for the last 7 years by only using volunteers with no paid staff and living off our reserves. But we are now facing an annual rent of over £20K from next year, as well as covering our overheads, including phone, broadband,insurance etc.

And in all of those past 7 years we have not had any new funding from any source but now we have to accept, our time is up.

Even at this late stage I call upon Brent councillors to meet with council officers and Brent NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to see if a solution can be found so that disabled people in Brent get the advocacy service they sorely need in today’s callous environment.


Anonymous said...

Surely Brent's Labour Council can afford to help out this vital service for disadvantaged local people???

After all, they found more than six times the amount this charity needs, to spend on legal fees fighting local people over Bridge Park!!!

Alison Hopkins said...

It is also worth recording that the house was illegally coverted to "flats" - five of them - and has no HMO licence. The greedy sod of a landlord is raking in six grand a a month from vulnerable tenants. Brent funds this. There is NO cross checking between planning enforcement and application records, HMO licensing and housing benefit systems. The unscrupulous landlords know this well and take full advantage of it. That house is in an awful state. :(