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With Neil Andrews

Romford charity makes urgent appeal to raise £20k to avoid closure

Smile have been given an eviction notice for their premises in North Street (credit: SMILE)

A charity based in Romford that supports low-income families is facing closure unless it can urgently raise £20,000.

Smile London and Essex supports thousands of people in need by providing essentials like food, toiletries, clothing, and homeware.

The charity has been allowed to use the same premises on North Street as a hub for four years, where it is not charged rent.

However, on Tuesday, 9 April, the charity was given a 7 day notice to vacate their premises.

They’ve now negotiated an extension of 30 days for the property which houses a food pantry, clothing bank, charity shop and administrative office.

The premises houses a food pantry for families in need (credit: SMILE)

CEO Maria Quiafe said: “We’ve been having all of our families calling us and emailing us absolutely in tears, trying to think of a plan for themselves and asking where we can refer them to but there’s no charities like what we do.

“We’ve had to close our food services down. Each week we get a Luton van delivery of fresh food but we can’t take it in anymore because we don’t know where we’re going to go so we’ve had to close down that service.

“No one knows if we’re going to have a job next month and no one knows who’s going to support our clients if we have to close so it’s been a big issue for everyone.”


The charity has launched a Go Fund Me page to try and raise £20,000 for the annual rent of a potential council property nearby to their current home.

“They can’t budge on the rents much so we’re hoping if we can get the £20,000 or as close to, we can then discuss that with the council and get a tenancy at will so we can get in there alot faster than what it would be if we went with a commercial letting agency, ” said Maria.

“There’s potential that there might be a charity that can match fund us so we’re hoping if we can at least get to £10,000, there’s potential we can get that doubled.

Maria continued: “As soon as we get in there, then we’ve got alot more scope to talk to big charity granters to secure that income for the next couple of years. I know some people have raised the question that if we get that £20,000, are we looking to fundraise every single year for it, however we can’t get grants unless we have a premises to sit in.”

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