Livability refuses charity's offer of £600,000 for the Platt Centre in Putney
Lunches ....then and now at The Platt Christian Centre
In April this year, Livability decided that they were going to sell the Platt Christian Centre, located on Felsham Road in West Putney. The current tenants are Regenerate-RISE, who are currently the Mayor of Wandsworth's chosen charity for 2020-21. Regenerate-RISE decided this could be an opportunity to purchase the site and increase the services offered to include building a 10 bed Reablement Unit for older people on discharge from hospital.
Proposed new Platt Centre with Reablement Unit
Mo Smith, Founder and Chair of Trustees told this website, "We have had the Platt Centre valued and the top is £600,000. I have made a second request to Livability with an offer of £600,000 but it has been rejected again. They want £629,995. They are threatening us with notice to quit if we do not exchange contracts by 30 September."
The original Platt Mission
The Platt Mission was built in 1807 and has provided a Church and Social Action Centre ever since. In 1963 approximately the Council compulsory purchased the land where it stood and gave them the site that the Platt Christian Centre is now on and a Trust Deed was formed on 3.7.63. A one story building was erected and the Mission continued.
On 30 November 1988 the Trustees of the Platt Mission asked the Shaftesbury Society to become a joint Trustee with them and in 1992 a new building which is now the Platt Christian Centre was erected with two flats above for keyworkers in the project. Mo's family moved from Cobham, Surrey to Putney to be a part of that new project in 1992.
In 1998 Mo became the Manager of the Robert Joy Day Centre in Putney and worked for the Shaftesbury Society (now Livability) and in 2000 she and her son Andy started Regenerate.com in Roehampton and RISE started in 2001 and in 2006 we became a separate charity called Regenerate-RISE. In 2005 we moved to the Platt Christian Centre from Roehampton to continue RISE following the axing of funding to lunch clubs across the borough.
Mo said: "We have provided a service for 20 years now and 15 of those years from the Platt Centre. We have worked in partnership with Livability for all those years, their logo is on our board outside, it is on all our literature, we were a part of their “family”. We planned the Reablement Centre with them and have spent a significant amount of money on consultants, architect and planning permission.
Now suddenly – with a change of leadership at Livability – we are no longer a partner but a “tenant”. They have no compassion towards us and the work we have done over the years and will not give that work and partnership the value of £30,000 and accept our offer."
Mo continued: "We are in a really difficult situation. We have provided 10,938 individual support services for 367 people across Wandsworth since the start of the pandemic. We have been a life-line to those people and consider them the most vulnerable in our society today – having been in lock down and due to their disabilities unable to go anywhere even now. 10 of our members have died during this period, many have been in hospital, we have cared compassionately and consistently throughout this time and now we are under threat of being evicted. The future is bleak enough for older people without having the added heartbreak of losing their Centre."
Regenerate-RISE has a duty to the Charity Commission to not 'pay over the odds' for the site.They are a medium size charity that now only works in Wandsworth as they have had to close their Nottingham branch due to the pandemic. Mo told this website: "We have fund raised for the Reablement Centre and we want to see that come to fruition for the people of Wandsworth, but we are at high risk of that not happening and if we purchase the Platt Centre, it will be delayed – unless we are able to raise a significant amount of money to purchase the Platt Centre and get back on track to fund raise for the Reablement Centre – we still have some way to go – at least another £1m."
This website contacted Putney MP to get her response to the current situation, she informs us that she has contacted Livability to encourage them to work with Regenerate-RISE: "I fully support Regenerate-RISE and their well established and essential services for hundreds of local older people. I have been asking Livability to agree terms for renting or buying that Regeneration-RISE can afford and disappointed that this is taking so long. I also urge the Council to work to provide premises in Putney for them if they need this."
A spokesperson for the council told this website: "The council is very supportive of RegenerateRise and the important work it does in the community. We understand it is trying to purchase the building it currently uses as a base from a third party, also a charity, but that the two sides have not yet been able to agree a price. We hope they can reach a compromise and that their important community work can continue."
This website has contacted Livability for a comment on the situation - we await their response.
If you would like to donate towards the new RISE Centre, click here.
August 14, 2020