CHARITIES evicted from Palingswick House have claimed they are being short-changed over prom-ised compensation.
Sixteen charities and voluntary groups packed their bags and left their King Street base last month after Hammersmith and Fulham Council sold it to the West London Free School.
Some moved into a new hub on the Edward Woods Estate while others, such as the Iranian Association – now in a temporary home at the former Bradmore Centre, are searching for new premises.
In a letter to the Chronicle Councillor Joe Carlebach, council community care leader, wrote about ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of compensation paid to Palingswick House Limited (PHL) for the move.
He wrote: “We have negotiated and paid compensation to the lessee of Palingswick House to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of pounds, which they are to reinvest in voluntary and charity groups in Hammersmith and Fulham, making this transition easier and helping secure a strong future for our charity sector.”
But the charities have been told by PHL they will have to share just under £72,000 of the £330,000 pot, with some given less than £900 for the upheaval.
Phil Cooper, of Hammersmith and Fulham Refugee Forum, demanded to know where the rest of the £258,000 has gone.
“The voluntary groups, including a number of refugee organisations, need a reasonable amount of compensation as many have lost clients and income as a result of a move they didn’t want in the first place,” he said.
“Those groups that have relocated on the Edwards Woods Estate have, for the most part, found their new accommodation totally inadequate for their needs. Other groups are still seeking premises elsewhere.
“Now it seems they are not being offered a sufficient amount of compensation to help them restart their organisations in very difficult circumstances.
“Where has the balance of this money gone? We have tried to find out so far but without success. We want PHL and the council to spell out the compensation arrangement and give the groups a fair and just settlement after all the trauma they have suffered.”
PHL says the cash from the council was not exclusively for compensation, and will be used to refurbish the Edwards Woods hub.
It said in a statement the cash “enables the organisation to meet their legal requirements to start building up financial reserves in order to help secure a strong and stable future”, adding: “The trustees were also in a position to offer ex-gratia payments to their existing licensees as a gesture of goodwill in light of the upheaval of moving and the recent uncertainties over their future location.
“This was organised with the advice and agreement of the Charity Commission.”