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Brixton Soup Kitchen staff fear building closure

COMMUNITY: Solomon Smith & Dr. Mahamed Hashi, founders of the Brixton Soup Kitchen.

AWARD-WINNING social enterprise Brixton Soup Kitchen may lose the building its been operating from since 2014.

A meeting will take place tonight at 7pm to discuss how the Brixton Domino club, formally known the Lloyd Leon Community Centre, will be allowed to operate moving forward. According to official documentation supplied by Lambeth council, the aim is aid the 'prevention of crime and disorder' and in the interest of ‘public safety’.

The Metropolitan Police has alleged that “lack of effective management and controls […]” means that “the premises is now associated with far too many incidents involving serious assaults, fire-arm incident, drug dealing and disorder.”

As such, under section 87 of the Licensing Act 2003, a review will be held into the club's premises certificate which currently authorises indoor sporting events, playing of recorded music, performances of dance, supply and sale of alcohol. This could see a reduction in the venue’s operating hours and a change in the conditions of the club premises certificate, as the council see fit.


Soloman Smith, co-founder of the Brixton Soup Kitchen, is concerned about what these changes might mean for the company. He fears that without the club's authorisation to supply and sell alcohol, which generates the bulk of income used to pay for the building's keep, they may be forced to operate elsewhere. He told The Voice:

“The domino club holds the soup kitchen. If it loses its club premises certificate, then we’ll be out of a building because they won’t be able to secure the funds needed to keep it running. That’s the only way it makes money on a weekend to pay for the electric bill.

"We want the building to be self-sustainable. We've put the call out there for people to invest in the building but people would rather support big charities which make millions. So, in the mean time, we have to rely on the license.

“A lot of lies have been told about how people have been stuck-up with knives and guns in the building. These are serious allegations so, if they did occur, why didn’t the police contact the club? The police didn’t do what they were supposed to and have brought it straight to the hearing.”


Councillor of the local Coldharbour ward, Rachel Heywood, echoes some of Smith’s thoughts on the matter:

“I am very concerned to hear of the possible closure of the Brixton Domino Club, and the facilities from which Solomon and Hashi provide such an important service in their guise as Brixton Soup Kitchen.  

“They have brought unprecedented levels of support - practical, financial, life-saving - into Brixton for the most vulnerable of our residents, in a neighbourhood which really needs the help.”

I LOVE BRIXTON: Cllr Heywood alongside Streatham MP Chuku Umunna, demonstrating their love for the area. (Photo credit: The Brixton Buzz)

Ms Heywood continued:

“Solomon and Hashi are two remarkable young men whose persistence and vision has created a vitally important resource.  I don’t know what the allegations which have led to a review of the club premises certificate (license) are but I suspect that they may well be to do with the energy and originality which they have brought to the Soup Kitchen.

“They have also engaged huge numbers of local residents and businesses in lending their support to the project - in particular young people - and the value of that really cannot be underestimated.”


Clrr Anyanwu, and former Mayor of Lambeth, has pledged support of the soup kitchen.

Cllrs Donatus Anyanwu and Emma Nye, Labour’s Action Team in Coldharbour, told The Voice:

“Labour Councillors in Coldharbour Ward are aware that the Brixton Domino Club’s licence is being reviewed by Lambeth Council Licensing Committee, but there is no threat to close the club.

“(…) Police and council have worked closely with the club’s board for a number of years to address issues with the building, generating revenue, being a community resource, and ensuring the safety of revellers and residents. The new management board are being offered support by the council to develop a community-led, credible business plan. This work will take time to materialise but will lead to a sustainable future. The building is offered to the community at a peppercorn rent, recognising its importance in our community.

“Brixton Soup Kitchen, which is based at the club, is an excellent Brixton institution and Coldharbour Labour Councillors will work closely with them to ensure any licensing action doesn’t adversely affect their work. The council absolutely supports the work of Brixton Soup Kitchen and helped the organisation move into the building in 2014.”

If you wish to make a donation to the Brixton Soup Kitchen, visit here:

The story is developing.

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