LGBT charity Wise Thoughts crippled by office theft as council under fire
An LGBT charity is appealing for donations after more than a thousand pounds of equipment was stolen from their offices.
Wise Thoughts, who describe themselves as a pioneering LGBT and BAME arts charity in London, had three laptops worth £1500 stolen from their Wood Green office on 23 November.
The charity’s project manager, Subodh Rathod, believes the incident could have been a hate crime.
Wise Thoughts say their landlords, Haringey Council, may have failed to lock a room adjacent to their office which can offer access via a fire exit.
They are now calling for help from supporters in an attempt to fund replacement laptops.
Charity bosses fear they will be unable to continue working if funds to replace the stolen items cannot be raised.
Mr Rathod told PinkNews: “This is a seriously crippling attack on us and our vital services for BAME & LGBTQI community members.
“We also urgently need to replace the IT equipment and software that was stolen to ensure that we are able to continue working.
“At the moment, literally without no proper IT, it is impossible to work and it is extremely stressful to carry on and plan any future projects and work on the opportunities.
“We are working from our personal mobile phones and a very slow, old personal laptop which may give in any time.”
A Haringey Council spokesperson told PinkNews: “We have been in contact with Wise Thoughts and will continue to liaise with them as the police investigate.
“As police enquiries are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Wise Thoughts, which is the only LGBT charity in Haringey, was hosting GFest, an annual festival of films, performances, visual art exhibition and debate, during the week the theft happened.
To promote the event, the borough listed the advisory group’s members details in the public domain, which Rathod believes could have put them in the limelight.
“I came in this morning, and although the doors were locked, three of our laptops have gone missing,” Rathod told PinkNews.
“It’s rather unusual that nothing else was taken apart from the laptops.
“In a building of our size, it’s seen as an opportunistic thing. Why take them in an office full of things that were of much more value?”
“For a small charity like us, the loss of these machines is a real loss.”
He added: “The organisation has been in the limelight recently because of the festival, and we’ve received a lot of support, but this seems to be the key issue,” he said.
“The local borough has issued posters which contain the details of advisory group members. A photo of me is on there, as well as other community members.
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“They know who to get in touch with, and where the person is, and that’s why it’s worrying.”
Borough police are investigating a suspect, whose image was captured on the office’s CCTV footage.
Rathod has emphasised that the crime needs to be taken seriously so that LGBT people in Haringey feel safe and supported.
“In a borough which has very little services for LGBT community members, with little support provided, as the sole organisation providing dedicated support, it jeopardises us even further,” said Rathod.
“Community members access our key services, services where we’re the only point of contact that they have, with access to a social meeting space, it would worry them what happens if another incident like this happens.
“It’s a worry for members and there doesn’t seem to be the same concern when an LGBT organisation is affected by it,” he added.