Community groups given three months rent free to soften impact of coronavirus

town hall

The council is providing almost £100,000 in rent relief to 24 community organisations facing uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisations – which all provide services to local residents using properties leased by the council – have been identified as needing additional financial support. They will not have to pay any rent in April, May or June.

Mayor John Biggs said: “We are fortunate to have an active voluntary and community sector in Tower Hamlets, with organisations providing vital support to our residents. In these uncertain times, we have seen them step forward to play an essential role in the distribution of food, the befriending of the elderly and the vulnerable and the provision of welfare advice.

“As a landlord for a number of these groups, I’m pleased that this decision means that paying rent is not an immediate concern and they can focus on what they do best – supporting our community.”

For some community organisations, the government guidelines on social distancing and the closure of non-retail businesses has resulted in a drop in rental income for the use of halls or retail income from venues such as charity shops and cafes. For others, normal income streams, including donations, have dried up because of the wider economic impact of the crisis.

Many are already funded by the council through the Local Community Fund and the Small Grants Programme. This newly announced rent relief is in addition to that existing support with 24 organisations set to benefit from support worth £98,210.

Cllr Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Voluntary Sector, said: “The organisations that we’re supporting with this rent relief package are representative of our thriving and diverse voluntary and community sector – they include social clubs, faith groups and sports organisations.

“We know that coronavirus is having a huge impact on the local economy, on jobs, on schools and on families. In the coming months, I know our community sector will continue to provide a vital lifeline too our community and as a council we are doing our bit to support them at this difficult time.”

Full details of the rent relief proposals, including the organisations that will benefit, are available online.

Last week, the council also announced a package of support for its commercial tenants. That took the form a rent deferral scheme with support to allow businesses to delay repayment until 2021. Details of that scheme are also available online.

Posted on Friday 24th April 2020