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London riots: Tottenham help centre inundated with support

PUBLISHED: 20:00 15 August 2011 | UPDATED: 12:50 27 April 2015

Teacher Chloe Doherty has been volunteering at the centre since it was set up. Picture: Tony Gay

Teacher Chloe Doherty has been volunteering at the centre since it was set up. Picture: Tony Gay

TONY GAY at tonephote@aol.com

An emergency help centre set up in the wake of the riots has been inundated with donations.

The Community Assistance Centre at the Tottenham Green Leisure Centre opened on Tuesday, August 9, and since then has received bags of bedding, clothes and food by hundreds of people from as far afield as Plymouth and Leeds.

The outpouring of support has come at the same time as some 55 households made homeless in the riots have come to the centre seeking help in anything from housing and legal issues to simply picking up some toys for their children.

Drama teacher Chloe Doherty, 33, of Clonmell Road, Tottenham has been volunteering to help sort the donations since the centre opened and has been left moved by the plight of residents.

She said: “A lot of people aren’t used to charity so they feel very strange. Mostly we’re here to make them feel as normal as possible and listen to their stories if they want to talk.

“Sometimes when they see everything here it suddenly makes them realise what they’ve lost and they just break down. People literally have nothing left. It’s terrible.”

Artist Jules Newman from Camden was one of scores of donors dropping off bags of belongings when the Journal visited on Thursday, August 11.

She said: “There’s no other reason to help except why not if you’ve got the resources. I felt very sad when I thought there are so many people who are going to lose out.”

Also helping to keep people’s spirits up were two women on Friday who were handing out free hugs to anyone who needed them.

The centre in Philip Lane, South Tottenham, is open until Friday, August 19, but it has been so overwhelmed by gifts that it is asking people to instead donate cash to its special fund.

Send cheques made payable to Mayor’s Special Fund - Tottenham Fund to London Borough of Haringey, PO Box 55235, London, N22 9DF or pay direct by bank using the sort code 60-24-23 and account number 90724828.

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