A charity café set up in memory of a murdered Lewisham teenager has reopened after being targeted by burglaries and vandalism, thanks to generous donations from the community.
The Good Hope Café was scheduled to reopen yesterday after being ransacked by thieves in December last year, but another break-in a week before nearly set them back.
The café in Ladywell Fields, set up in memory of Jimmy Mizen, was burgled in December last year when thieves stole a coffee machine and caused more than £5,000 of damage.
A crowdfunding page was set up to help the Mizen family and £8000 was raised, but callous vandals struck again on April 20. However the opening party went ahead as planned last night.
Sophie Pushparajah, who set up the fundraising page, said: “I felt so upset for the family and also all the people who work so hard in making the cafés safe havens for people in the community.
“It seemed so unfair and yet the Mizen family never give up hope.
“I was hoping to raise somewhere around £200 to go towards the amount they would need to rebuild the café.
“I was astounded that we managed to raise £8,125.00 and we are all truly grateful to everybody who donated, especially over the festive period too.”
Jimmy Mizen was murdered in a Lee bakery.
The cafe was set up by For Jimmy, a charity that aims to prevent violence among young people and promote peace.
For Jimmy was established in memory of Lewisham teenager Jimmy Mizen, 16, who was murdered in a Lee bakery in 2008.
Jake Fahri, 19 at the time, was convicted of murdering the schoolboy with a glass dish at the Three Cooks Bakery in Burnt Ash Hill in May 2009.
Following the second break in last week the charity posted a statement on their Facebook page.
They said: “Unfortunately, our Good Hope Ladywell Fields cafe was broken into again last night.
“Whoever did this was particularly determined; ripping tiles off the roof and attempting to rip bricks from the side wall.
“The new security gate eventually had its bolts yanked off the wall and access was gained to the front doors.
“Luckily, just a few pounds in petty cash was taken, with nothing else missing from the cafe. The front door window was smashed, however, there was no other damage inside.
“The sheer desperation and determination of the perpetrators is very alarming and perhaps highlights difficult times we are in for people to go to such efforts.
“Our determination to make this community safer and provide a space for everyone to enjoy in such a lovely park will not be stopped.”
Jimmy’s dad Barry Mizen said: “Alongside offering work experience and training to children and young adults with special education needs, our cafés directly support the work of our charity and the burglary and subsequent closure was a challenge for us.
“Our Good Hope cafés are a beacon of what a community business should look and feel like, a haven of peace and safety and we are just so humbled by the support we have received from our community to reopen the cafe.”