A care charity that looks after many in Tooting’s diverse community is fighting back after Wandsworth Council refused to give it a new contract.

Mushkil Aasaan, which provides “culturally specific” care, has submitted a petition pleading for the council to reconsider.

It will be discussed by councillors at a meeting on Monday, February 4.

The charity’s supporters believe Mushkil Aasaan should have been given more support with its application, to make the process a “more level playing field”.

More than 1,000 of those supporters signed a petition asking that the needs of the multicultural community be recognised.

The full wording reads:  “We ask Wandsworth Council to reconsider its decision to withdraw specialist home care services and recognise 1. The importance of a specialist home care service tailored to meet the

person-centred needs of Wandsworth’s large multicultural community; and 2. The particular value of Mushkil Aasaan as an experienced and high

quality provider of care to that community for 25 years.”

It goes on: “Wandsworth Council must change its approach and let a new contract for specialist care in Tooting and across Wandsworth so Mushkil Aasaan might continue its crucial work.”

As things stand, the current contract will finish in June 2019.

Officials said Mushkil Aasaan submitted an incomplete application during the tender process, and to give them special treatment ahead of other applicants would have been illegal and “grossly unfair”.

At a December 5 full council meeting, the Conservative administration voted down a Labour motion to adjourn and discuss the matter in greater depth.

Mushkil Aasaan founder Naseem Aboobaker was at the meeting, along with dozens of staff, people the group looks after, and their families.

Afterwards, she said the attitude from some councillors was “heartless and cold”, adding: “They weren’t willing to listen to anything.”

A report prepared by officers before the forthcoming meeting states: “Mushkil Aasaan has been a valuable provider to local residents within Wandsworth for many years, and [the council] believes it is well placed to continue to do so in the future.”

A recent statement from Mushkil Aasaan read: “We have had some warm words from the council.

“They say they want to work with Mushkil Aasaan and value its service. Those words must become action.

“We have proposed practical suggestions that could secure Mushkil Aasaan’s future.

“It is now for the council to explain how it will offer support and ensure our diverse communities are not left behind.

“Our campaign will not be over until we have secured the future of Mushkil Aasaan and culturally sensitive homecare.”

A Wandsworth Council spokesman said: "We recently completed a procurement exercise to commission homecare services over the next ten years in a contract worth more than £100million. There were 29 bidders in total, including Mushkil Aasaan, whose tender had to be disqualified because it was incomplete and non-compliant and under the very strict EU legislation governing these types of large scale public sector contracts it could not legally go forward.

“After being notified of this, Mushkil Aasaan sought special treatment so they could submit a revised bid. Not only would this have been illegal, it would have been grossly unfair to the other contract bidders and would have breached procurement rules designed to ensure a transparent and level playing field for all those taking part.  

“We have always said we are happy to work with Mushkil Aasaan and that we value the work they do. Although their bid had to be disqualified, we are quite sure they will continue to thrive and continue to win contracts and support vulnerable people not just in Wandsworth but also in the other boroughs where they also operate. They will also be able to continue to offer their services to their existing clients, and new ones too, via the Direct Payments system which gives people the choice of who provides their home care and the budgets to pay for it.”