by Niall Mulholland, East London Socialist Party
Local groups in Canning Town — including tutoring for kids who’ve fallen out of school system, a food bank, and religious groups — found their community centre locked up by Newham Council, early this morning (22nd December 2021).
The kids have exams in January and all their educational equipment is locked in the community centre.
Newham Council has not taken a Christmas break from attacking working class people in the borough. This is just another of the shameful, outrageous actions by this 100% “Labour”-controlled council that seems hell bent on gentrification for the well off and social cleansing for the rest of us. An eviction resistance against the eviction of a foodbank, a supplementary school and other facilities at Trinity Community Centre, had been organised for 9am, but when I arrived, the council had already got the locksmiths round at 5am!
There was real anger and grief amongst local people who use the centre.
The council used a flimsy excuse — they suddenly demanded the food bank people pay £40 per hour to use the centre and when they said they couldn’t afford it, the council slapped on an eviction notice that hits everyone using the centre (which the council left disused for years). It’s probably a pretext to knock down the building for gentrification of the area.
This community centre was scandalously unused for years before these groups started making use of it and refurbished it. What are the council’s plans — knock it down and build more unaffordable homes?
They have left vulnerable young people without a place to be taught, and local people without a food bank. Young mothers wept this morning, as they go into Christmas without enough for their kids to eat. What a shameful Council this is! It bends over backwards for the big developers while carrying out endless cuts and social cleansing.
These evicting councillors are up for election in May. They should expect a challenge from trade unionist and anti-austerity activists.
I attended this morning’s protest at the eviction, bringing solidarity from East London Socialist Party.
The groups that have been using the centre are discussing what steps to take next in their struggle to have Trinity Community Centre returned to our local community.