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Charity kitchen takeover at the Arora

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Brian Quinn and his wife Sue were among the guests at Friday night’s charity dinner at the hotel in aid of Springboard.

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Frank and his wife Sandra with Crawley Town Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Brian and Sue Quinn, and Arora Hotel Operations Manager Laura Walker

Well-known chef Frank Coughlan took over the kitchens at the Arora Hotel in Crawley to prepare a four-course banquet in aid of Springboard, the hospitality sector’s charity which helps to nurture young unemployed into work.

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Brian Quinn and his wife Sue were among the guests at Friday night’s charity dinner at the hotel to help Frank, from Horley, raise money and to wish him `bon voyage’ as he sets off this week to join the Springboard annual trek to Vietnam. The chef has already raised around £21,000 for the charity. When he is out in Vietnam, Frank will be helping to rebuild a school in the poor province of Ham Yen.

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Back in the UK, the Springboard charity will use this money to support 70 people who face hardship and difficulties, giving them a chance to join one of its life-changing programmes.

Frank said:

“My target was £3,500, but I managed to smash that with thanks to all my friends and supporters within the hospitality sector.

“Friday’s dinner at the Arora Hotel was an amazing finale to what has been quite a journey already. A huge thank you to the Arora and its executive head chef Tony Staples and his team for letting me take over their kitchens and helping to make the night such a success.”

Frank Coughlan prepares the starter

Frank is currently the executive head chef of BaxterStorey, overseeing the BA Lounge contract throughout the UK, but has been head chef at an impressive list of high profile venues in his 30-plus year career, including Wembley Stadium, Arsenal and Chelsea Football clubs and the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and has more than 40 catering awards to his name.

He set himself the Springboard challenge after losing 10 stone in weight, which he said “made me feel 10 years younger”.

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Quinn told guests at the dinner:

“It is a pleasure to return to the Arora and experience its excellent hospitality once again, and to be here to support Frank – it is so great to see a former pupil of St Wilfrid’s (Crawley secondary school) doing so well.”

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Charity

‘Springboard are not closing because we were increasing the rent’ says Leader of Crawley Council

Reports that the charity will have to close their Langley Green site because of rent increase are just not true says Councillor Peter Lamb.

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[Image: Google Maps]

In response to the claims that the charity Springboard would have to close their Langley Green site due to a rent increase by Crawley Borough Council, Leader the Council Peter Lamb has written publicly to address the issue.

Posting on his own blog he says:

“I’m aware that a number of mistruths are being circulated around about this, so in the interests of fairness I thought you might like a true account of events.

When Springboard opened they decided to take on a commercial property at a commercial rent.

“I agreed to look at freezing the rent and guaranteeing the council’s grant funding for a number of years”

At this time all the risks were highlighted to them, but they decided to take on the property nonetheless and various public sector organisations provided grant funding to help set the property up and pay for some of the running costs.

Last year I met with the new chief executive of the charity who flagged up that they were in financial difficulties, that he understood the circumstances under which the charity had taken on the property but they were struggling.

At the time I agreed to look at freezing the rent and guaranteeing the council’s grant funding for a number of years and I was given to understand that that might be enough to ensure the charity’s presence in the town. I looked into it and reported back that we could commit to such an arrangement.

“It is very sad that the charity is closing but it is not though any unreasonable behaviour on the council’s part

When I met with the chief executive again in February I was informed that the charity’s financial position had worsened and that freezing the rent and guaranteeing the grant would not be enough for the charity to be able to maintain its presence in Crawley.

I said that we weren’t in a position to commit to the tens of thousands of pounds in additional funding which were requested, but that we’d be willing to form part of a solution alongside WSCC and the CCG who have legal responsibility for the groups Springboard works with.

For some reason this was not seen to be seen as an acceptable solution and I did not hear anything further until I was informed Springboard were closing.

Springboard are not closing because we were increasing the rent (despite their signing up to that contract), nor because of any cuts to their grant funding by CBC but because their financial position worsened due to the loss of a major donor and Crawley Borough Council were not in a place to make up the gap without the support of the two organisations legally responsible for Springboard’s client group.

It is very sad that the charity is closing but it is not though any unreasonable behaviour on the council’s part, particularly when you consider we were the only organisation which expressed a willingness to help despite having no formal remit to do with Springboard’s work.”

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