‘Cruel and callous to throw people out before Christmas’: Charities face holiday dilemma

Representatives from businesses in Lee House, Peterlee, including Now East Durham's Alan Sill, right.
Representatives from businesses in Lee House, Peterlee, including Now East Durham's Alan Sill, right.

Charities have been given a temporary reprieve after they were left to find new premises weeks before Christmas.

Dozens of good causes and community groups have been allowed to use offices in Lee House in Peterlee rent-free, but after a new landlord took over the site, have been asked to leave.

“It seems a bit cruel and callous to throw people out before Christmas.”

Alan Sill

They were first given a date of December 31, but have now been given until January 21 to find new facilities.

They have joined Centric Community Projects, which manages the property scheme, in appealing for other building owners to volunteer their empty properties to allow the organisations to continue their work and save cash.

Those who allow people to use their units and offices receive business rate relief.

Among those to be affected is Alan Sill, of Now East Durham, which helps train up unemployed people through journalism skills.

He said: “Some of the charities will find it difficult to find somewhere alternative.

“It seems a bit cruel and callous to throw people out before Christmas. I’m okay in that I just need a little office space, but some need a much bigger set up.

“We’re really puzzled about what will be happening to the building.”

Easington MP Grahame Morris has been offering the charities advice as they try to find new spaces.

It is not thought any planning application has been submitted for Lee House.

Julie Ion, of Centric Community Projects, said she had appealed through Facebook to find new premises and would welcome any help from landlords, with anyone who can help asked to call her on 01908 667750.