Charity hub on the hunt for new Leeds home

Ebor Court. Picture: Google Street View
Ebor Court. Picture: Google Street View
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A hub of small charities and voluntary organisations faces being disbanded after a rent hike on their city centre office.

About 45 people who work for a group of not-for-profit organisations in Leeds are on their hunt for a new home after learning they will lose their current base at Ebor Court on Westgate, Leeds, on August 14.

It comes after negotiations between the building’s landlord West Yorkshire Properties Ltd and lease-holder, the Leeds Christian Community Trust (LCCT), broke down over a proposed rent increase.

Rhoda Wu, co-ordinator of LCCT, which took on the lease in 2012, said they were left with no option than to give their three months’ notice.

Organisations which use the building include Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber, global activism charity TIDAL, Leeds Pregnancy Crisis Counselling, Unity in Poverty Action and Together For Peace.

Rhoda said: “It’s difficult that we’ve come to this place but we’ve not been paying a lot for it at all so we can understand that landlord wants more for it. We have been here a long time and we’ve benefited from that and we are grateful. But the issue remains that the organisations in this building are looking for new space.

“Some are small organisations - some of just one person - who can’t afford to rent a commercial office themselves. It would be good to move together and still have that collaborative space and feel part of something bigger - it’s been a really good community feel here. People are really keen for that to continue but we’re struggling to find anywhere that’s big enough and also cheap. We’ve been spoiled by having something in the city centre and we know we’ll probably need to look further out.”

Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network (LASSN), which has also been based in the building, announced this week they will be moving into Oak House on Park Lane from June 12.

A statemet on LASSN’s website said: “We’ll be sad to leave – after sharing space with 20 something other asylum, educational, legal, religious and social justice organisations.

“However, the chance to co-locate with Refugee Council (our new landlord), Leeds City of Sanctuary, and Asylum Matters seems too good an opportunity to miss.”

West Yorkshire Properties Ltd declined to comment.