Brent Council evicts Harlesden charity worker from her own building
Mission Dine Club building to make way for school expansion
A charity worker who has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to helping the borough’s vulnerable residents has been thrown out of her own building by Brent Council.
In dramatic scenes on Monday, Dame Betty Asafu-Adjaye, founder of The Mission Dine Club in Fry Road, Harlesden, was forced to climb through a hole in a fence to stop council staff taking away her possessions.
Dame Betty, who was given a damehood in recognition of her charity work, was tipped off by neighbours that her belongings were being loaded into a van without her knowledge.
The council, which owns the site, evicted her because it wants to demolish the club and use the land to expand neighbouring Newfield Primary School.
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It also says the charity, which was set up in 1985 to help the elderly and disabled, owes six years of rent worth �20,762.
But the building itself belongs to the charity which was paid for by money donated to Dame Betty from a number of organisations including the Big Lottery Fund.
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She said: “I was in tears. They took the padlock off and told me not to come in. That building belongs to Mission Dine.
“Who gave them permission to come into my building, open my cupboards and take my stuff?
“This is not how you should treat anybody.”
Police had to be called to help calm the situation and eventually Dame Betty’s possessions were placed back inside the building.
She called the council’s actions “wicked”.
The council has admitted it did not notify her that it was entering the building and Dame Betty’s lease does not end until August 31.
However, it says it gave her notice in October last year to give her time to make alternative arrangements.
Cllr George Crane (Labour), lead member for regeneration and major projects, said: “We need to create more school places for local pupils and why shouldn’t we take the site back when the occupiers won’t pay the rent? They owe a huge amount of money which rightly belongs to council taxpayers.”