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With Neil Andrews

The Retailery in Romford to close

The Retailery in Romford has announced it is closing down, just a week after being named “best after work venue” at the Havering Night Life awards.

To date, it has helped 200 local performers, supported and subsidised over 40 independent businesses, provided over 400 hours of free business support and created 64 new jobs.

Things Made Public CIC is a local, not-for-profit organisation, that has worked as partners with the council to help deliver the project and run the facility.  

The building has provided entrepreneurs with office quarters, hot desking and affordable units. It also features window displays, handcrafted furniture, and murals from local artists such as Merlyn Griffiths.

A lot of this work has been to encourage residents to invest in their area rather than going further afield for work.

Now, it is coming to an end as the Retailery is set to close in February 2019 and Things Made Public says the space will “change beyond recognition.”

As a not-for-profit organisation, it claims to have successfully dedicated two years to creating a model which self-funded rent, utility bills, staffing costs, marketing and all facility costs.

However, it still relies on funding from the council to help pay the business rate bill which is reportedly more than the rent due to the large size of the building which takes up 3,000sq ft. 

Things Made Public recently submitted an application to receive money from the ‘Discretionary Rates Relief Scheme’ to save The Retailery but that was rejected by Havering Council.

The scheme will provide the council with £1,696,000 from 2017-2021 to spend on local businesses facing issues with business rate bills.

Havering Council told them: “Whilst your organisation provides a useful service to members of the community, the council is unable to grant relief on this occasion. As you will appreciate the council does not have the financial ability to support every laudable organisation.”

A spokesperson from the organisation said: “Things Made Public CIC are incredibly proud to have been instrumental in creating and providing a space that is held in such high esteem by the local community.” 

“They’ve considered themselves blessed to have met so many inspiring local entrepreneurs and have enjoyed every second of assisting every one of those in fulfilling their business dreams, whether through the subsidised workspace, the range of networking events provided or via the art wall on which local artists can sell their work.  

“They would like to thank all of their loyal customers for their support over the last two years and hope to see a lot of familiar faces over the coming weeks as they celebrate the forthcoming festive season and make this Christmas one to remember.”

An online petition has already been started to save The Retailery, you can sign it here.

Havering Council has been approached for comment. 

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