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How a boy’s tooth fairy donation kickstarted plans for a homeless shelter in Ilford

PUBLISHED: 15:56 02 August 2017

L to R: Naomi Clifton, Mike Broom, Helen Morris, Mankamal Singh, Captain John Clifton, Mohammed Omer, Cllr Keith Prince, and Cllr Jas Athwal, at the launch of Project Malachi, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

L to R: Naomi Clifton, Mike Broom, Helen Morris, Mankamal Singh, Captain John Clifton, Mohammed Omer, Cllr Keith Prince, and Cllr Jas Athwal, at the launch of Project Malachi, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Archant/Catherine Davison

Work to demolish a crumbling funeral home in order to build temporary accommodation for Ilford’s homeless population is finally underway.

Decorating a 'Project Malachi' wallhanging with handprints outside the Salvation Army in Ilford, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonDecorating a 'Project Malachi' wallhanging with handprints outside the Salvation Army in Ilford, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Through Project Malachi, a pop-up hostel is set to offer a home to rough sleepers and an expanded workshop for bike refurbishment.

On the site in Chadwick Road, where the property has laid empty since 2010, long-term support will be offered to the borough’s homeless population.

After the project recently reached its £10,000 milestone, which will fund the initial stages of work, Ilford Salvation Army opened its headquarters, in Clements Road, on Saturday, to show off its plans.

Captain John Clifton, of the Ilford SA, said the event had been a resounding success.

Salvation Army based Redbridge ReCycle pictures for the Ilford wrapSalvation Army based Redbridge ReCycle pictures for the Ilford wrap

He said: “After the speeches, attendees walked round to Chadwick Road to see the progress of the demolition, and participate in an art project, putting our hands together to make this project happen! “

The project is named after a five-year-old boy named Malachi Justin, who sent £5, which he had received from the tooth fairy, to Ilford SA.

After asking the charity to purchase a house with the donation, Ilford SA named the project after him, in honour of his kind act.

Through negotiations with Redbridge Council, the charity has secured a five-year lease at a peppercorn rent, although it is hoped that the project will be given a longer lease of life.

The site has a special significance for the church, which first met in an upstairs room in the building in 1904.

A director of the funeral home also worked as a treasurer for the charity.

More than 70 supporters attended the event, including many of the religious leaders who have united to help fund the project.

They are Mankamal Singh from The Sikh Network, Helen Morris from All Saints Church, Woodford Green, Mohamed Omer from Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations, Mike Broome from City Gates Church, Ilford, and Major Jenine Main on behalf of the North London branch of The Salvation Army.

Council leader Jas Athwal, Cllr Kam Rai and Keith Prince, the assembly member for Redbridge, who have supported the project from the beginning also attended.

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