Saturday, 25 October 2014

Christian Candy development plan threatens death of essential homelessness and trauma services for vulnerable women in Camden

Kazuri Properties, a small social enterprise has operated from this building since June 2013. We operate an office, emergency and crisis services for women who have suffered domestic violence, are at risk of homelessness or fleeing terror. This is an essential community service.

We have developed a plan to build much needed refuge and transitional accommodation in a run down part of Camden with high levels of social exclusion and deprivation. This has the support of over 40 local third sector organisations and 400 people so far, have signed our petition to retain the building. Andy's Taverna on the ground floor is a much loved local restaurant. After it is refurbished, the owner has agreed to let us run a training kitchen, like Jamie's 15, until noon every day for women to learn catering and cooking skills.
We were in negotiations with the landlord for over a year and raised private and grant funds to purchase the building. We paid towards the development,  planning and implementation costs. The building was obtained illegally by Rev 1 LTD's directors  Evan Ivey and JP Tolaini after Stefan Bobolecki, Rob Sprunt (former director of development for LB Brent) & Stephen Gilbert FRICS who were working as consultants for Kazuri, took commercially sensitive information to JP Tolaini. They scuppered our deal and passed privileged material in breach of their professional duties to a rival commercial developer who cares nothing about the community and is cited in the local paper   "I believe I can build people beautiful, higher-quality living spaces with dashes of flair and panache that will be a joy to live in."  This would have been his first foray into property development, his background is in marketing. Mr Ivey plans to put in more yuppy flats (13) and an art gallery. Andy's restaurant is a much loved Camden institution.
Evan Ivey, JP Tolaini and Colin Sanders a director of a specialist lending company, Omni Capital which is funded by Christian Candy and JP Tolaini are being investigated by Holborn burglary squad for breaking and entering, theft, violations of the Landlord Tenant Act and the Protection from Eviction Act. Crime Reference number 2325478/14.
In March 2014, they broke into the property and changed the locks before they owned it, aided and abetted by Mayfair property consultant, Tony Lorenz.

When the locks were changed illegally, 2 very vulnerable women were living in the property and were further traumatised by their actions. One was 19, fleeing FGM and the other a 23 year old who had left a domestic violence situation. Her former partner had pushed her down the stairs. He knew she was pregnant so he kicked her in the stomach. She lost her baby. You can read their stories below.
This is what Christian Candy's money supports, developments which gazzump services to combat violence against women and girls. Please stop the Candys and developers like Evan Ivey, JP Tolaini and Omni Capital encroaching on Camden's vital and vibrant community life and services.
This matter is now before the Central London County Court where Deputy District Judge Dagnall expressed specific concerns about how the purchase was based on professional trust being broken.  

Help save this important community resource - sign our petition to ask Eric Pickles, Secretary of State to intervene here

Christian Candy - developer not known for his taste in design and famously involved in a row with HH Prince Charles and the Emir of Qatar over the Chelsea barracks development.
FGM/C is a practice that goes right to the heart of a girl’s ability to make decisions about her own life and her own body. It results in severe pain, difficulties urinating and menstruating, pain during sex, serious problems in childbirth, physical disability and psychological damage.

Mala’s Story , 19
I am a woman who was born and raised in east London.  When I reached 16, my mother told me I had to be cut, it is the tradition in our culture. I was very frightened and I  ran away  to my aunt but she was scared of the family so she returned me to my family. My father beat me that night until I bled and my eyes were shut  swollen from bruises. He threw me out of the house and said I had shamed the family. He locked the door and said I should not come home, I was dead to him. 

I ran away but the police did not know what to do. Finally, I was told about a charity that helps women with housing but I had no money and no way to pay for anything, but the people were very kind. They gave me one bedroom in a flat in Camden, to share with another woman. I am attending cooking classes and sewing classes and I do volunteering as a sales assistant in a local charity shop. When I came home one afternoon in March, the locks had been changed.  I was very frightened, I thought  I had done something bad and the charity had evicted me. I called the manager and she was very angry and surprised. I was crying in the streets, I had nowhere to go. 

My biggest fear is that I will be returned to my family and I will be cut. I have cousin sisters who have been cut. They get infections; it is painful to go to the toilet.  One of them had a baby and almost died because she lost too much blood in childbirth.

One of the workers of the charity came and got a key and she let us in, they promised us they did not change the locks and they did not know what was happening. My flatmate was also very scared and frightened; we did not want to go to the police or social services, they do not know what to do with women in our situation. They never believe us. 

One in four women will at some point in their life be beaten or abused by someone in their home. About 4,000 of them die each year, with 75% of them getting killed when they try to leave or after they’ve left the abuser.

Anise’s Story 23
I was pregnant the first time he hit me. I fell backwards down the stairs, He punched my face, he kicked my stomach with his work boots on.

I lost the baby. I was 21. Two years later I got pregnant again and he hit me again.  He told me I was too ugly to have his baby. This time I ran out of the house and neighbours called the police. When they came they said I had provoked him and we should not bring the police into our arguments.

I had nowhere to go, the local council didn’t have anywhere for me. A friend of my sister was doing some voluntary work for a social enterprise and she called the owner and asked if they had anywhere I could stay. It was three days before Xmas. The lady put me up in a flat in Camden, where I have lived for 10 months. It’s a cosy flat, not luxury,  and it has everything we need, sheets, towels, there was even food in the fridge and the bed had been made for me when I  stayed the first night. For the first few months I was scared to be by myself, than I got a flat mate and we could cook together and clean the flat together.

I was at a counselling session that afternoon, I walked home because it was a lovely sunny day. I got to the flat and my key wouldn’t turn in the lock. The restaurant owner came out and told me the keys had been changed by the new owner. I was angry and scared. I thought we had been locked out. When the lady came from  Kazuri, the restaurant owner gave her the new key but I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach again. It took a long time to feel safe and having the locks changed on our home was a mean thing to do. 

Help us beat the bullies - Camden doesn't need "flats with panache" or One Hyde Park monstrosities. You can support us by tweeting about it, sharing on Facebook and signing our petition to Eric Pickles. 

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