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New hope for charities in Giraffe House who are ‘working together to find solutions’ after being threatened with eviction

Seven charities based in Burgess Park’s Giraffe House, slated for demolition and redevelopment, have been given new hope they can stay on site until the end of the year.

Representatives from the organisations, which include Southwark 1st Scouts and Burgess Sports, met with Mentivity – which has taken over the lease from previous managers Creation Trust – on Friday, September 10 to discuss their future.

Scout leader Frances White told the News: “We are all working together to find solutions for keeping all the groups on site at Giraffe until the end of the year, working to support our local community.”

Earlier this month we revealed that Giraffe House’s charities had been left in the dark about their future as an eviction notice loomed.

The building was meant to close permanently on September 17 in preparation for redevelopment as part of Southwark Council’s plan for a new skate bowl in the park. Although the charities had been aware of the long-term plans for redevelopment, they had struggled to find alternative premises and had criticised the council for a lack of support in finding new homes long term.

After being questioned by this paper about the situation, councillor Catherine Rose, cabinet member for transport, parks and sport at Tooley Street, admitted that not every group would be able to stay in the building.

“We have some really exciting plans for the space in the future, which continues to support sport and recreation for young people,” she said.

“This follows the success of other leisure opportunities in the area, such as the BMX track. Meanwhile, and following a tender process, Mentivity will now be managing the building’s use.

“They have spoken to all of their new sub-tenants and confirmed to the council that SE17 Working and Half Pints can be accommodated on their current terms.

“The BMX Club and Burgess Sports can be accommodated on the basis of a fee for use of the space – this would be paid to Mentivity and will contribute towards the running costs of the building.

“As these organisations will be sub-tenants of Mentivity, it is for them to agree terms with Mentivity rather than the council.

“There are a small number of groups that cannot continue to be based in Giraffe House, once Mentivity begin to deliver their programmes.

“As a council we value the work of all the groups that have been based in Giraffe House so far.

“Council officers are in touch with these organisations to support them to manage the changes and offer practical help them find alternative spaces.”

Southwark News has contacted Mentivity for clarification on how it will work with the existing groups in Giraffe House, but as yet has received no response.

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