Lewisham council is planning to decimate our community centres. This is the campaign to stop this from happening.

Great turnout at the Mayor and Cabinet meeting

Nov 12, 2015 | | Say something

Protesters fill the civic suite at the mayor and cabinet meeting

community centres protest montage   The protest attacted people throughout the community  10301114_834835583302259_8802150322537315874_n

Our protest at the Mayor and Cabinet meeting started gathering about 5pm outside civic suite of Lewisham town hall. The decision whether to close over half of Lewisham’s community centres was due to be made by the mayor and cabinet at 6pm. It was a lively crowd, and very mixed, with both people from community centres and political groups there. There was music and singing and speaches were made. The reaction from the public was very positive. Many drivers honked their horns, and passers by signed the petition.

At 6pm we packed out the public seating in the civic suite room. Even though it can seat up to 130 people, there were people having to stand.

a packed civic suite for the protest

A packed civic suite for the protest

Representatives of the community centres spoke on their centres. These included the Barnes Wallis Community Centre, Brandram Road Hall, Honor

Bishop Baptiste from the Woodpecker estate talks to John Hamilton from People Before Profit

Bishop Baptiste from the Woodpecker estate talks to John Hamilton from People Before Profit

Oak Community centre, Woodpecker Community Centre, Wesley Halls, and the Saville Centre. The mood among the crowd was positive and supportive, and every speach earned applause. One that inspired a strong response from the audience during it was given by Bishop Baptist of the Woodpecker estate.  He spoke powerfully on the role that community centres play in the deprived area of Deptford where the Woodpecker estate is located, and the rise in crime and associated problems that comes with the loss of these facilities.

After this, the recommendations for each centre from the committee were given to the mayor. He agreed to them, with some slight alterations for The Saville Centre and the Honor Oak centre, based on the representations made from the public. This shows that turning up on the day and giving a representation can make a difference. However, on the whole it appears that the council was determined to get their recommendations passed.

Representatives of the community centres are united in the view that their points have been mostly overlooked by the council, who do not have a clear idea where the groups based in the centres are going to go when the centres are shut down. There was a small amount of protesting done in the civic suite. At one

A protester calls on the councillors to stand up for local people or resign

A protester calls on the councillors to stand up for local people or resign

point a member of the audience got out a banner demanding that the council challenge the Tory cuts more strongly, or resign. There were also some heckles and boos as the motions were passed. Overall, it was a disappointing outcome, but the protesters made their views clear, and the fight will go on.

 

 

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