London Road stories: the Hassans’ laundrette

Mumtaz and and Mujahida Hassan, who are part of the persecuted Ahmadiyyan community, fled from Pakistan 17 years ago.

The Hassans, 17 years after escaping persecution in their native Pakistan, they had to watch the business they had built up burnt to the ground

Since then, they have built up a thriving Crystal Clean Laundrette business on the London Road, their income has helped them care for their children, two of whom are blind, one of whom is about to go to university. On 8/8, their shop was burned down and is now flattened, leaving them to have to start from scratch again

“It’s better than being down the Job Centre. We will try to recover by securing a business just 100 yards down the London Road.

“Sadly, the experience reminds us of Pakistan, where our relatives were dragged out of the house when they were watching TV and beaten up by a mob at New Year.

“The bank is willing to lend, but we have to find the other 30 per cent. We were insured but as with all insurance, we will not get all our losses back. We need to bridge that gap to get started again.

“There is a lot of goodwill from the authorities but much of it is just talk.

“We have been given a £1,000 interest-free loan which is nice, but is not anywhere near what businesses need to start again. We can use some of the money for the valuation we need to do for the bank.

“The Council told us to go to the Job Centre, but the Job Centre admit that they must follow the law and treat us like any job seeker and that they are not really set up to help. Croydon Voluntary Action has helped, as has Andrew Pelling.

“Croydon does not have the same reputation that it had when we came here 17 years ago.

“There is still the custom to serve on London Road so we want to get back to serve our old customers as soon as possible.”

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