A CHARITY has taken a parting swipe at Hammersmith and Fulham Council after being forced to shut down its borough base.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina Community and Advice Centre, in Dalling Road, packed up and left its Hammersmith home since 2007 last week citing a lack of funding.
The voluntary centre, who are the only group in London providing advice and support for Balkan War victims, help people cope with post-traumatic stress disorders and elderly people struggling to cope after being forced from their homeland.
It saw an application for £63,000 over two years turned down by the council in 2009 and, with its current funding from the BIG Lottery ending later this year, it has been forced to move to scale down and move to neighbouring Brent.
Sadida Trozic, project manager, said: “There has always been a population of people from the Balkans living in H&F which is why we set up a local office here.
“We were fortunate to receive some funding from other sources, including Brent Council, but decided we had to move out of Hammersmith in order to cut costs, while trying to preserve our service for the hundreds of our clients who live here.
“We are very disappointed in the council. They are aware that there are large numbers of people in the borough from the Balkans or why else would they have official documents translated into Serb-Croat?
“It's very clear that the council had no understanding of the needs of the borough's diverse community, their charities and their purposes and was not willing to support them in this difficult time.”
H&F Council has pointed at its £4m a year voluntary sector funding in response claiming it is 'one of the most generous boroughs in the London' while defending their funding choice based on the 'small' amount of around d250 Balkan residents in the borough.
Councillor Joe Carlebach, community care leader, said: “Like all councils, we are under huge financial pressures as a result of the national budget crisis and we cannot fund groups without ensuring that we receive value-for-money for our taxpayers.
“This means that we concentrate our funding on groups that support large numbers of residents. Our records show that there are only a relatively small number of residents from this community in our borough.
“Nevertheless, the council wishes the Bosnia and Herzegovina Community Advice Centre all all their community well in their future endeavours.”