Official Information Update - Tottenham War Services Institute

Tottenham War Services Institute - (Reg Charity No: 217176) 399-401 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN

(NOTE: Planning applications HGY / 2018 / 1582 & 1584 - recently published by Haringey Planning Services* were made by a 3rd party without the authorisation of the TWSI. On the applications, the proposer name is stated as being "Tottenham War Services Institute" and "TChances" and includes out of date community consultation information that is over 4 years old. In addition, "TChances" is not a trading or individual entity and as such could not be a named party on any such application. The TWSI has advised HPS* that the charity has not made these applications NOR authorised such to be made in the name of the charity.)

After years of research and months of negotiating, the TWSI has achieved the introduction of a major new skills-based training program*. Designed to benefit young people aged 16-25 yrs, the independent program, supported by local businesses, charities and Haringey Council, offers a desperately needed youth-at-risk resource to Tottenham. Details to be announced.

In January 2018, a “protest” group broke into the TWSI building at 399 High Road, Tottenham. Using the names “Tottenham War Services Institute Steering Committee” and “New Chances Group”, the group took control of the ground floor of the building, ransacked the contents and made numerous online and offline threats and allegations against the TWSI trustees. The group tried to represent that they were authorised to manage events at the building, while at the same time causing huge distress for staff and students of Footsteps Academy on the 2nd floor.

On 8th March 2018, the TWSI was granted a Possession Order by Edmonton County Court. 

If the current occupation of the premises were allowed to continue, plans for bringing such a program* to the area would be placed at serious risk. Likewise the work and welfare of staff and students of the currently in place "Footsteps Academy" a school for young people excluded from mainstream education.

Contrary to the host of misleading allegations made by the “occupying group”, the TWSI building has not been sold to developers. TWSI trustees also continue to ensure compliance with Charity Commission requirements and those of other authorities. 

The costs and complexity of running a major building require significant expertise and funding. TWSI trustees are engaging the support of professionals across the disciplines, to bring a robust approach to changes at what is in fact a privately owned charity property.

In the interim, the building will be secured in order for plans to progress. In due course, previous bona-fide community groups can be welcomed back to the building.

The TWSI is an old established Tottenham based charity. While 399 High Road is a major local resource, the changes described above can only happen once the building has been officially secured and its amenities assessed for use. Any continued or worsening disruption or disorder will place these plans in serious jeopardy and risk losing the community use of the property.

Since 2008, past and present (unpaid, volunteer) trustees of the TWSI have created, welcomed and organised a host of arts, music, social and community events at the building at 399 High Road, Tottenham, mostly under the name “Tottenham Chances” or “TChances”.

The charity owns the freehold to the building and grounds as a private charitable organisation, receiving no local or national funding from taxpayers . The Scheme, official declaration of objectives of the TWSI is to use its resources to provide support for ex-service personnel living in Tottenham, their families, descendants and wider community.

Until 2010, the TWSI’s property was controlled by the Royal British Legion (RBL) via a legal agreement known as custodian trusteeship. Under this arrangement, a number of land and property lease sales were made by the RBL. Despite being the legal owners of the land and property, the TWSI did not receive the funds from these sales and leasing.  

After a long legal challenge, the RBL agreed to return the title deeds of the property and grounds back to the TWSI. The RBL condition was that the smaller charity would take on any and all responsibility for the sales, leases and arrangements made by the RBL up to that point, but without the funds generated by those transactions.

TChances was created as a non-profit social enterprise, to meet the objectives of the TWSI while also helping generate funds to support the building. Meanwhile, part of the property was provided at a non-commercial rate to Footsteps Vocational Academy, for young people excluded from mainstream education.