Our occupation turned 4 months old today…

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Today marks 4 months since our occupation began.

It seemed like a good time to go down memory lane and have a look at how it all started…

Firstly however we would like to thank amazing Focus E15 Mothers, Barnet Housing Action Group, Our West Hendon, and all the other extraordinary selfless individuals. Their commitment to help people, and pure spirit made it all happen, and they were there through tears and laughter. We would never be able to thank them enough- they are truly inspirational.

We would also like to thank YOU ALL for your amazing support and heartwarming messages.

We are all so grateful for your ongoing support. Please continue to do so, after all, we all need homes…

Three months old! (And some nice things you could support us with)

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***UPDATED LIST AS OF 14 June 2015, based on all of your amazing generosity***

As of Monday, June 8, the Sweets Way Resists occupation is three months old! We didn’t really expect to be here this long, but thanks to the support of Focus E15, Barnet Housing Action and countless amazing people, we are still going strong, fighting the social cleansing agendas of Barnet Council and Annington Homes. Thank you to all of you who have helped us get to this point!

We’re also the longest-running political housing occupation in London, and aim to keep getting in the way of the re-development plans for the Sweets Way estate, and supporting one another through the ongoing struggles of living in the London Borough of Barnet, without six-figure salaries.

We had a little BBQ to celebrate, and it reminded us that there are a range of things that would make the campaign and the occupation stronger and easier in the coming months. Here’s a bit of a bucket list, should you have any of the below items around – big or small – and feel like being generous with them:

  • Single bed box springs or frame
  • King bed box spring or frame
  • Portable sound system (for street stalls and protests. This kinda thing )
  • Washing machine (if you had this many kids running around, you’d understand why…)
  • Non-perishable food
  • Banner making materials (more banners = more ways to highlight the issues)
  • Double and king-size bedding
  • Cups/glasses
  • Garden chairs (because it’s almost summer and we want to be out in the yard talking to the neighbours)

This campaign has been going for three months on almost zero budget, but this has only been possible because so many of you have been so generous in other ways. If you can help with any of the above, no matter how big or small, we promise to use them to support our ongoing fight for a fair Barnet that all of us can continue to live in, regardless of our income level.

As always, you can drop them by in person to the Sweets Way community house, 76 Oakleigh Road North, London, N20 9EZ. Drop by and pop-in for a cuppa! Send us an email (sweetswayresists @ gmail .com) if you have any questions about any of the above.

Thanks again for all the support that has got us this far!

Celebration as resistance: Happy Easter from Sweets Way!

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Happy Easter from Sweets Way Resists!

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, it would be hard not to enjoy the way we spent our Easter Sunday at the newly occupied Sweets Way social centre at 76 Oakleigh Road North. It involved a bouncy castle, rabbits, an egg hunt, barbecue, and copious amounts of delicious homemade cake.

This is not the stuff that comes to mind when most people think about a political occupation.

Everything we do at the social centre is political, because our location is directly impeding plans to bulldoze our homes. But the second ‘political’ starts to get in the way of community, celebration and fun, we’ve lost.

This isn’t to say that we aren’t outraged by the actions of Annington and Barnet – of course we are! – but that we won’t let that outrage get in the way of the community we are fighting to save.

We want the rest of the London to see not only our sadness and anger, but also the community we are and have become, and what is at stake in the name of so-called ‘regeneration’.

When Annington and Barnet talk about regeneration, what they mean is stopping things like our Easter celebrations, our Mothering Sunday meal, and countless other examples of the ways we have supported one another and created beautiful moments during a truly difficult time.

‘Regeneration’ leaves no room for community, and we won’t stand by and let it happen. But our resistance has to reflect the things we are fighting to save in the first place, so expect more food, fun and family as we do everything we can to save Sweets Way from those who would see it demolished!

PS – are you one of the almost-63,000 people who’ve signed the petition to stop the destruction of Sweets Way? If not, you can become one at http://www.change.org/sweetsway

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PRESS RELEASE: Sweets Way campaigners plan weekend of fun and resistance in new occupation

Sweets Way Resists

Press release – Thursday 2 April

Sweets Way campaigners plan weekend of fun and resistance in new occupation

Residents fighting for their homes have occupied an empty house backing onto the Sweets Way estate in Barnet in ongoing protest at tenant evictions. Campaigners are planning a weekend of community fun and resistance in the property which is part of the ‘Sweets Park’ redevelopment.

On Monday a county court ruled against residents following a three-week political occupation of empty homes including 60 Sweets Way, which had been turned into a thriving social centre and campaign hub. A judge granted full possession of the site to developer Annington Homes, who also requested an injunction preventing people from protesting on the estate.

In a further assault on human rights and an indictment of the court system, campaigners have not been given the details of any potential injunction, even though it potentially criminalises protesters, residents and the public at large.

Immediately following Monday’s ruling, residents and supporters occupied an empty five bedroom house, part of Annington’s ‘Sweets Park’ development area – but just beyond the possession and potential injunction zones. A weekend of fun and resistance is planned in the new occupation, including an ‘Easter Fun Day’, debate and action-planning.

Sweets Way estate is home to over 150 families. Residents were forced to leave their homes in February and moved to temporary accommodation out of the borough. Since then, they have been fighting for the right to go back to the estate and in an effort to stop the development, occupied an empty house, supported by housing campaigns Focus E15 and Barnet Housing Action Group.

Since the occupation began in early March, a handful of residents have been offered temporary accommodation in borough by Barnet Council. But campaigners, known as ‘Sweets Way Resists’, won’t stop until all of the residents are offered suitable alternative housing.

The occupations are a political statement about the criminality of destroying perfectly good houses and replacing them with investment properties. Sweets Way Resists are also staging lunchtime protests at the central London offices of Annington, to shame the company.

Annington (part owned by tax exile Guy Hands worth an estimated £250 million) looks set to make a killing on the London property market. Only 11% of the new properties in the planned redevelopment are being leased as ‘affordable rent’ (80% of market rates).

A spokesperson said: “We’re not going to stop: we’re planning to keep the question of social cleansing on the agenda, and support one another as we fight to protect the estate from demolition and secure decent homes for all residents who have been forced out of Sweets Way.

“Our new occupation has all the makings of a fantastic place for community celebration over the Easter weekend. It’s an outrage that this five-bedroom property lies empty while right next door, people are losing their homes.

“Monday’s court ruling was a predictably unfair legal decision in which private property rights are deemed more important than human rights. As well as granting Annington possession over the whole of the estate, they have proposed an injunction on the site! This is worrying for anyone involved in housing justice work and political protest. In addition, the court has so little respect for us that they have neglected to clarify what the injunction means.

“There’s a Mexican proverb that feels appropriate for us: ‘They tried to bury us, but they forgot that we were seeds.’”

Sweets Way Resists – the fight continues!

Thursday 2 April Lunchtime Protest at the central London office of developer Annington Homes.

See Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1609138512633464/

Sunday 5 April Easter Fun Day, 12-4pm

Easter Egg Hunt, BBQ, Children’s Fun and Games, Bouncy Castle, Arts and Crafts

Egg Decorating, Rabbits, Music

Tuesday 7 April Public Meeting at the new occupation, 7.30pm

The new occupation is at 76 Oakleigh Road North, N20.

Twitter @SweetsWay20

Facebook.com/SweetsWayResists

Sweetswayresists.wordpress.com

Sign the petition on Change.org – 62,000 have signed already!

For more information and interviews please contact Katya 07791018631

Potluck resistance on Mothering Sunday

Today there was an amazing international potluck amongst residents, former residents and supporters at the Sweets Way social centre. We treated one another to an amazing spread of food from Turkey, Brazil, Cuba, Poland and beyond. When we didn’t have space to put all the food, someone came up with the bright idea to turn the Sitex (metal sheets used to board up empty homes to keep humans from living in them) that have been removed from various windows and doors, into a table top! Finally, a good use for a socially useless product!

The Sweets Way community is as diverse as it is strong, and with each shared meal, each conversation, the sense of possibility about what we can achieve together here grows.

This campaign is very new and the odds of success are in many ways tiny, but if anything can beat the bastards at Annington Homes, it is the community of Sweets Way!

PS – We’ve also got 1,500 people signing our petition [https://www.change.org/sweetsway] in less than 3 days! The buzz is building! Watch for more exciting stuff tomorrow as we pay Annington a visit at their Bond Street offices in the morning!

PPS – Happy Mothering Sunday! This campaign, like so many before it, has been led by mums who have decided they don’t want their kids growing up with the bullshit they’ve experienced! Massive thanks to all the mothers of Sweets Way and beyond!