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Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 00:25:56 +0100
From: ALLSORTS (allsorts@gn.apc.org)
Subject: -ALLSORTS- Atherden Road in court - support needed

Atherdon Road Squat - Hackney, London

1) Atherden Road Nursery [Community Centre] in court - join the samba and demo on Tuesday outside Town Hall at 10am

2) From the application for judicial Review - Atherden Road Occupiers v Hackney Council

3) Letter from Atherden Road occupiers to Hackney Council

4) Supporting quote from Local mother Ursula Dyson

5) Background info


1) Atherden Road Nursery in court - join the samba and demo on Tuesday outside Town Hall at 10am

As you may already know, after a somewhat surreal story of cuts and services closing down, some friends squated Atherden Road nursery and turned it into a fantastic community center, providing the kind of services Hackney Council should be offering instead of cutting them off. Now, facing the popular support the centre is getting, Hackney Council is taking the occupiers to court in order to get the building back and sell it to some private corporation.

If you would like to show your support, meet Rhythms of Resistance (formerly known as the samba band) on Tuesday morning at Atherden Road community centre, at 9.00am, or outside the Town Hall at 10.00am.

For people who can not make it day time, and for the outcome (for now) of the story, meet at Atherden Road community centre at 6.00pm.

Atherden Road is off Lower Clapton Road.

Thanks for your support. Let's keep Atherden Open!!


2) From the application for judicial Review - Atherden Road Occupiers v Hackney Council

Section 7 Details of remedy (including any interim remedy) being sought -

1. To quash the decision of the Respondant made on or around 16th March 2001 to evict the Applicants from the property.

2. To grant an injunction to prevent the Respondant from evicting the Claimants from the property.

Section 8 - Statement of facts relied on

Atherden Road Nursery ("the premises") was previously run as a nursery facility by the Respondant providing day time child care for the under 5's. In or around 8th March 2000 the Respondant took the decision to close the nursery, purportedly for financial reasons. The nursery was closed on 12th January 2001. The Applicants, being a group of concerned local residents, took over the building on 28th January 2001, in order to continue the provision of services previously provided by the Respondent.

Since the 28th January 2001 the Applicants have run a Community Centre which provides services to local people. These services include a parent and toddler group, workshops in creative arts, ceramics, gardening, bicycle repair and circus skills, classes in English as a second language and classes in foreign languages.

It is submitted that some of these services, particularly nursery and educational provision, are statutory services which should be provided by the Respondent. The services provided perform a useful function to the community in an extremely deprived area of London, where for many people English is a second language. Without the provision of these services many local people would have nowhere to leave their children during the day and would be unable to make use of the educational and other facilities being provided by the Applicants.

The services are being provided at no cost to the Respondent, which is in any case a large local authority with considerable resources, albeit one which has mismanaged its finances. If the Applicants are evicted from the premises then they will no longer be able to continue to provide the aforesaid services.


3) Letter from Atherden Road occupiers to Hackney Council

Atherden Community Centre
15 Atherden Road
London E5 1QP
Tuesday, 6th March

Dear Sir/Madam,


We received your letter of 1 st March asking us to vacate the Community Centre and wish to respond before the date of 12th March 01, as suggested. We wish to explain to you that we are currently running the building as a Community Centre. We have contacted a lot of people and groups in the surrounding areas and there is a great deal of local support for the project.

There is a group of people who have taken on the role of caretakers for the building, and there are already regular events happening; a parent and under 5s drop in twice a week, circus skills, creative arts and ceramic workshops for young people and adults, samba classes and gardening workshops. We are also running bike workshops, English as a second language and other language classes. The space has been used by a range of local community groups for meetings and other activities. We now have internet access at a very low rate and a book and video library. There has been regular low-cost community meals and also a jumble sale and a Colombian night. There are other events planned and activities aimed at older children and teenagers are starting up now.

The amount of people and groups already using the centre indicates that it is a much needed and desired community resource. As indeed did the previous occupation when parents and children at the nursery strongly campaigned for it to be kept open and used as a nursery.

In a time when community resources are becoming scarcer, there is a strong local opinion that this centre should remain as such a resource and not be closed down and sold off. There is a growing number of' people committed to running Atherden Road as a Community Centre, and we would ask you to please reconsider before continuing wlh your legal proceedings.

If you wish to discuss the matter further, please write to us.


On behalf of Atherden Community Centre.


4) Supporting quote from Local mother Ursula Dyson -

"I have been bringing my son, Caspian, here for nearly a month. It has been great to come to a place where there is a wide variety of things going on, and which is also a safe place for Caspian to be. I can escape the isolation I sometimes feel as a single parent and Caspian has made new friends. It would be really sad for both of us if the centre is forced to close.


5) Background info

Atherden road nursery was one of many Hackney council services which was closed down when out of incompetence and corruption the council went bankrupt late last year.

The parents of the children who were suddenly left without nursery places refused to accept that this community resource should close down and be sold off to the highest bidder. They took matters into their own hands, reclaiming the building from the council by occupying it and keeping it open as a nursery.

The occupation and self run nursery only came to an end when the council promised to reopen Atherden road nursery as a community service. The council, of course, lied. The children got reallocated to other nurseries and this building closed for good.

Or so they thought...

On the 28th January concerned Hackney residents reoccupied this building to prevent the sell-off, and ever since it's been self run as an autonomous community centre. It's a beautiful space where both adults and children can feel equally at home. Atherden road provides a place that people can gather around. Everyone is welcome to get involved and use the space. And as it's used more and more by activities ranging from DJ workshops, jumble sales, internet café's, samba band practice, Spanish classes and children's circus skills, and with the front garden turned into alottment plots, it's a living proof that we do not need the council with their fat paypackets to make decisions on how we should organise our community resources. We do not have to accept that their incompetence should cause further destruction of our community resources.

Now Hackney council is starting the process for eviction. As ever they are putting profit before the needs of the people they are supposed to represent. But we are here to stay, Atherden belongs to all of us...

Do you like what you've seen here today? Would you like to get involved?
Come back on Mondays from 6.30 for the open centre running meeting

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