Alex Rook, a public law expert at Irwin Mitchell, has been instructed by two users of a Christian soup kitchen in Walthamstow, as well as the charity that runs the service, to issue court proceedings seeking a judicial review of Waltham Forest Council’s decision to evict the kitchen to an out-of-town site that the users and the charity say is unsuitable and would lead to its closure.
The Christian Kitchen, which features in the recent Ken Loach film "Spirit of 45", has been threatened with closure by the Council on the basis that it is responsible for anti-social behaviour, but a Freedom of Information request proves that the Council has had no direct complaints about the soup kitchen in the last 12 months.
The users and the trustees of The Christian Kitchen have told the Council that many of the current users of the service will not be able to travel to the proposed new site and that the decision to terminate its licence to operate from its current site, in Mission Grove car park, Walthamstow, will force the closure of the soup kitchen.
The soup kitchen, a vital charitable service for homeless and vulnerable people, has been run seven days a week for more than 25 years and currently provides between 50-100 hot meals per night, but the volunteers from 30 churches in the area fear it would be forced to close if the move took place.
Court Proceedings Issued
Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law & Human Rights team issued court proceedings in May 2013, arguing that the Council had not properly assessed the impact that the move would have on vulnerable people who do not have enough money to eat properly or travel to a new out of town site using public transport, as the Council suggests that they can. The application for permission to bring judicial review proceedings will be heard at a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
One of the users of the Christian Kitchen that Irwin Mitchell represent is Theresa Blake, who is currently without a fixed address and has been using the kitchen every night for the last 10 years. The kitchen usually provides the only hot meal she has in the day, and she is extremely concerned that her health would suffer without the food she receives.
Theresa said: "I suffer from arthritis in my legs and I can walk only short distances so I’m very concerned that if the kitchen was to move to somewhere out of town I just wouldn’t be able to walk there, and I can’t afford the bus fare.
"Some of the people I know who come to the soup kitchen are very old and vulnerable and would really struggle if it moved out of town to the site proposed by the Council."
For expert advice on matters relating to community care law, please contact Alex Rook of Irwin Mitchell's Public Law & Human Rights team on 0370 1500 100 or complete our enquiry form.
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