Sunday, March 8, 2015, ongoing, Sweets Way Estate, N20
Sweets Way Estate housing occupation kicks off with community fun day
Tenants and activists have occupied a prominent empty house on the Sweets Way estate in Barnet to highlight the community being destroyed by Annington Homes’ ‘redevelopment’ plans, as eviction of 150 family homes is underway.
This morning, metal covers were removed from the doors and windows of a recently emptied Sweets Way flat, opening the space to the public as part of a short-term political occupation by activists and tenants. The action was inspired by Focus E15, the East London campaign launched by 29 young mothers facing evictions, who fought to be rehoused locally, occupying four flats on the Carpenters Estate in Stratford in September 2014.
Like the Focus E15 Open House, the Sweets Way social centre aims to highlight social cleansing of a community, and provide space for residents to organise together for decent homes.
Property developer Annington Homes is committed to just 11% ‘affordable’ homes in the planned re-development of Sweets Way estate.
Most of the families of Sweets Way have already faced eviction from the estate – and are currently residing in temporary accommodation across London – and the occupation kicks off with current and former residents coming together at a fun day to celebrate the community they have built in the past five years.
Children have been at the centre of the Sweets Way campaign, with a viral video featuring young people evicted from the estate describing the impact of evictions on their families’ health, their education and community, recently featured in the Guardian.
Rejane Barbosa, one of the remaining Sweets Way residents said: “How can they do this without having any other local housing available for these families, how can they do this to do the community? How does Barnet Homes justify demolishing 150 perfectly good family homes, while leaving the community who have been living there for more than five years with nowhere to go?
“They’re uprooting people and rehousing them many miles away, far from Barnet! Our community has come together and supported one another through this awful period, while Barnet Homes has utterly neglected to find decent affordable homes in the area.”
Jasmin Stone, one of the original Focus E15 mums from Newham, who is taking part in the occupation at Sweets Way said: “I support the Sweets Way campaign because it’s important we all have decent secure homes. It’s time we take back what is being taken from us and demand council housing for all.”
Those involved are committed to leaving the space in better condition than they found it in, and to leave peacefully after a period decided with the wider community.
The social centre is supported by residents, as well as campaigns Barnet Housing Action Group, Our West Hendon and Focus E15.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/720272474760037
Facebook: Sweets Way resists
VIDEO – The children of Sweets Way speak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyeD-x-uDCA