Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Dalston soup kitchen to close?

September 08 2010
Rent hike puts Rhythms of Life International‘s operation in jeopardy

Rhythms of Life International, the charity that runs a year-round soup kitchen in Dalston, east London, faces closure after the rent on the premises it leases from a private landlord was doubled.

The charity's premises include a shop and offices on Crossway, near the recent multi-million pound redevelopment of the East London line; however, as a result of the rent hike, it may be forced to find a new home before the end of the summer.

Andrew Faris, Rhythms of Life founder, spoke to The Pavement about his fears regarding the service's potential closure. "The landlord wants to develop the premises," he said, "and turn it into a million pound property. They've told us that we have to pay double the rent or they're going to throw us out, but why should we pay astronomical rent?"

"We've begged Hackney Council to help us, but they say they are unable to. It's so frustrating: I have 45 people waiting for food, which is always a difficult operation to coordinate, and we're threatened with closure. We serve food every day of the year - I've never taken a day off. These people are my friends and I need to feed them."

Mr Faris said the numbers of people visiting Rhythms of Life had skyrocketed over the last few months, and that the service was now a vital part of homeless support in the area. Without help to find a new base, however, he is concerned about the charity's future.

"We're hoping someone will have some space or even a bit of ground we can use," he said, "otherwise I'm not sure what we're going to do."

A spokesman from Hackney Council told local reporters that: "The council is aware of the needs of Rhythms of Life and has met with them to resolve this matter, and will be doing so again shortly. There are only a handful of council properties that meet their requirements, though, and unfortunately there are none available at present."

• We'll be following this story, and have an update next month.

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