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Disabilities Action in the borough of Barnet hopes charity shop will be 'lifeline'
A cash-strapped organisation for people with disabilities is desperately trying to open a charity shop to help prevent it from closure.
Disability Action in the borough of Barnet (DAbB) in High Road, North Finchley, needs to bring in extra cash to keep it afloat before its £87,000 funding runs out in April.
Trustee Jeff Raphael came up with the idea to open a charity shop as a way to plug the gap while the organisation seeks extra funding.
He said: “Sales from a charity shop would make an immeasurable difference to us.
"We just need that extra input of money to help keep us going and also to develop projects like bereavement counselling.
“Come April, a charity shop could be our lifeline.”
But so far, Mr Raphael’s attempts to offer estate agents a peppercorn rent for a commercial property have not been successful.
He said: “No one has got back to me. It’s crazy. There are 14 empty shops between here and Tally Ho – surely it would look better to have one tenanted rather than just gathering dust in another empty unit.”
DabB provides services for disabled people including support with welfare rights, housing, transport and mobility.
Currently the organisation is funded by the Centre for Independent Living, but will have to reapply for a new contract in April.
If DAbB fails to secure the cash, it could close meaning the 3,000 people it supports would be forced to find an alternative service.
One of those people is Lesley Oughton, who has a blood disorder. She said: “I would be really upset if DabB were to close because there aren’t many people around to help you out like they do.
“It would be a shame – the people there are so supportive even though they are snowed under with work they still have time for their patients.”
Saul Gerrard, commercial director at Martyn Gerrard says landlords might be willing to accept a peppercorn rent for an empty property on a temporary basis.
He said: “If a landlord has an empty shop then he may accept a pop-up shop for a nominal rent to release himself of the business rates liability. But, the organisation would still have to cover other things such as insurance.”
Mr Raphael added: “Surely it would be better for the landlords to have the someone in the shops while they’re empty.
“Hopefully something will come of it – we’re all scared about what might happen in the future.”