Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Damilola Charity on Brink of Closure in Cash Crisis; Damilola Youth Trust Is Down to Its Last Project

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Damilola Charity on Brink of Closure in Cash Crisis; Damilola Youth Trust Is Down to Its Last Project

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Watts Political Correspondent

THE charity set up in memory of schoolboy Damilola Taylor stands on the brink of collapse today due to a severe funding shortfall.

Damilola's father Richard said it was "at the point of closure" and made a desperate plea for new backers to come forward, so 14 years of work fighting violence and improving young Londoners' lives does not end.

Since its launch in the wake of the 10-year-old's shocking killing in 2000, the Damilola Taylor Trust has been praised by politicians and celebrities -- with David Cameron describing one project as an "extraordinary achievement". But dwindling funding has seen its events cancelled and its plans put on hold.

Today it confirmed that its total debts have reached about PS60,000.

Mr Taylor, awarded an OBE for his efforts through the Trust, said: "We have been left at the point of closure. We are in a very precarious position financially. This is putting at risk all the good work we are doing, so if there is anything anyone can do to help, then please do."

Damilola, pictured, bled to death on a stairwell on a Peckham estate in November 2000, after being stabbed in the leg with a broken bottle on his way home from the library. In 2006, Ricky Preddie and his brother Danny, who were 13 and 12 at the time, were convicted of manslaughter and jailed Continued on Page 6 Continued from Page 1 for eight years. The tragedy came to symbolise youth crime in Britain.

The trust's financial problems came to light after the London Mayor's Office agreed to write off a PS3,000 bill incurred for hiring City Hall.

The annual Spirit of London Awards to celebrate young people's achievements, which have been run by the trust, have been cancelled for a second year running. In 2012 Mr Cameron called the awards an "extraordinary achievement". …

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