London Coalition Against Poverty Halloween Demonstration Hackney Town Hall

London Coalition Against Poverty and others will be picketing the Hackney Council meeting this Halloween (Wednesday 31 October, 6pm for meeting starting at 7pm) to tell the Council that they will no longer be able deny homeless people their rights.

London Coalition against Poverty (LCAP) has had a presence at Hackney Housing Needs office since July 2007, and we have seen time and again that homeless people are turned away unlawfully.

Hackney Council cares more about balancing their budget then about their residents needs. To spend less money they try to delay or stop people making a homeless application. Because of this “gate keeping” at the housing needs office many vulnerable people and families are left on the street or other insecure, dangerous places.

Tonight LCAP demands:

An end to Gate Keeping at the Housing Office: House everyone eligible

Really affordable housing to rent in Hackney: No more people chased out of
the Borough!

LCAP will continue to haunt Hackney Council until these changes are made.

The True Cost of the Olympics

Mute Talk @ Soho Theatre 7pm, 9 October, 2007
Generation Debt, Part 1: The True Cost of the Olympics

Whatever the overruns on time and cost, one thing the London 2012 Olympics is certain to deliver is a huge public debt. The enormous bill for two weeks of spectacularised sport is legitimated by promises of urban regeneration. However a growing number of people insist that in reality the games are nothing more than a corporate landgrab.

In Mute magazine’s first discussion evening on the increasingly urgent subject of debt, Martin Slavin of Gamesmonitor [] will respond to contributor Mark Saunders’ analysis of the negative impact of the London Olympics.

Mark’s article, ‘The Regeneration Games’, was printed in Mute’s latest issue – Living in a Bubble: Credit, Debt & Crisis – and can be read online at: []
Soho Theatre
21 Dean Street
Tickets: £5 (£3)
Soho Theatre:

Hackney Independent Social Event

Haggerston Community Centre 179 Haggerston Road, E8 Saturday 29th September (2.00pm – 5.30pm)


We have met a large number of people over the years, and for some time now we have wanted to get
together socially all those who have supported what we have been doing, whether that be our various
campaigns, our involvement in the occupation of Tony’s Café on Broadway Market, the Kid’s Cinema,
or who just like our free newsletter.

So, come along, bring some food and drink (though this will be provided) and meet ourselves and
others interested in making Hackney a better place to live. It will give you a chance to talk to us and
us all a chance to talk to each other! We hope you find time to drop in at some point, have a chat and
some food and drink. There will also be a BBQ outside (weather permitting). Families/children are very
welcome. Hopefully see you on the 29th

Dear Supporter of the Manor Garden Allotment campaign

The following is an appeal issued by Lifeisland Support and Campaign Group for Manor Garden Allotments
Apologies if you came to the High Court last Thursday and found it was cancelled. It was impossible to give advance warning as we only knew at 10.30 on Wednesday night that a good enough agreement had been reached to cancel. In fact negotiations on the fine detail continued on through Thursday morning with nine lawyers!

We have another stay of execution until 23rd September with restricted access. We also now have a failsafe relocation site in case we are finally evicted.

We’d like to call on your support and goodwill again for a gathering outside The London Studios, South Bank, London SE1 this Thursday 21st June at 6.15pm. This one will not be cancelled. ITV plan to film us.

The Mayor will be arriving to participate in the London Debate. Julie Sumner will be in the audience to try to question him. The programme goes out live at 7pm on ITV.

Media interest continues unabated with three film crews at the plots on Sunday and another visiting on Wednesday. We’ll try to keep you updated.

Lifeisland Support and Campaign Group
for Manor Garden Allotments

A message to Manor Garden Allotments supporters

The following appeal is being circulated to friends and supporters of the Manor Park Allotments campaign:

There are some important events coming up we would like to ask your help with.

The closing date for the revised Olympic Park Planning Application public consultation is Friday 15thJune. There is information being added to the website on how to go about sending in an objection.
Our Judicial Review will take place in the High Court on Thursday 14th of June. We are taking them to court on the basis that they would be breaking the promises they have consistently made that we would not be evicted before a suitable relocation site had been found for us. The Compulsory Purchase Order was approved, as was the Olympic Delivery Act, on the assumption that a relocation site would be provided. Yet still the LDA plan to evict us on 2nd July, relocation site obtained or not!
It would be impressive and attract media attention if there was a supportive presence with placards outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand from 9.30am on Thursday. The hearing starts at 10.30. We will be producing a number of placards but any extras will add to the effect. Please come and show solidarity with Manor Garden Allotments. Be sure to check the website on Wednesday evening for up to date information.

Many thanks for your support to date,

Julie Sumner
Lifeisland Coordinator and Plot holder

After the hurricane – Chis Ivey at Centerprise bookshop

In the summer of 2005 the world was stunned at the plight of the people of New Orleans

In the couple of years since the devastation, the rebuilding has resulted in ethnic and social cleansing on a massive scale

Film maker Chris Ivey will be showing footage that he has shot and talking about events that have happened since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans

@ 7pm, Tuesday May 8, Centerprise bookshop, 136/138 Kingsland High St., Hackney E8 2NS
Free admission

flyer pdf

Benefit for Spirit, Friday April 27

Who’s to blame?

The working class is defeated, they have no political representation and they are only the subject of popular disdain, mockery and hatred.

This is thinking behind the two playwrights Beatrix Campbell and Judith Jones in their latest offering Blame.

Hackney Independent talked to them just as Blame is about to open at the Arcola Theatre on Kingsland Road.

The play is set in a multi-racial working class household in this borough. Divided by drugs, alcohol and violence the household unites around the disappearance of one of the youngest members of the family – a 10-year-old girl.

Beatrix Campbell, a long standing journalist, and Judith Jones, a social worker of 30 years experience, have worked together before on their previous play And All the Children Cried, and decided to write together again on that elephant in the British sitting room – class.

Beatrix explains: “What moved us to do this play was that we were interested in what has happened to the working class. In our lifetime we lived through the amazing contrast between the moment after the Second World War when the working class had to be taken into account and its demands had to be answered to the point now where the working class doesn’t really exist at the parliamentary level or in a category where they are going to be taken any notice of.

“And the consequences of that for the poorest people within the working class are astounding and unacceptable.

“It’s impossible to ignore the way that there is a permanently pauperized presence in Britain.”

Theatre is infamous as the place where the polite classes go to quietly sip wine, but facing the paradox of presenting such a working class-centered piece in a middle class institution, the writers are unapologetic, as Beatrix makes clear:

“We believe totally in the importance of addressing the life and times of working class people who are maligned, in any environment that we can possibly find and challenging middle class or upper class or reactionary political preconceptions about how people are in those circumstances.

“What we are interested in is an unsentimental look at how these people behaviour is sometimes terrible, sometimes funny, sometimes mystifying, and sometimes tragic, and any environment that that can be aired is good as far as we are concerned.

“Besides, the final resting place for this play will be in the Arcola Theatre on the Kingsland Road in Hackney, which is where the play is set, so nothing could be more appropriate.”

Hackney remains today one of the most overcrowded and poverty stricken boroughs in London. We live in a labyrinth of concrete tower blocks that houses a population of which over half are dependent on some form of income support. But despite deep seated social problems, the borough has become a byword for urban chic as gentrification has taken hold over certain areas.

This social conflict provided the ideal setting for the play:

“Hackney is emblematic of what has happened to Britain with globalization and what has happened to the working class. It’s emblematic of a borough in London that has always been poor and where life has always been a struggle, it’s also emblematic of the enormous richness of our history and culture.”

Both Judith and Beatrix comes from working class families and have spent their subsequent professional careers working and writing about the class.

Beatrix is the author of previous acclaimed books Goliath: Britain’s Most Dangerous and Wigan Pier Revisited, with Judith Jones has her experience grounded in over 30 years of social work.

One in three children today grow up in poverty, a figure which Judith finds astounding: “I thought when I started social work that there would still be so many children living in poverty – I thought that something might be done about it and then we could deal with other issues such as mental health and children protection, but this certainly hasn’t been the case as we have to deal with it all.”

The play is bound up with their pessimism for the future of working class politics in England. Without a representative voice, the playwrights claim, they lack any economic clout.

“It’s very hard to imagine how the working class will gain a strategic presence here in England,” explains Beatrix Campbell, “The transformation of the Labour party means that is not a party with a comfortable relationship with the working class any longer.

“We feel very strongly that its needs and future have very little political articulation at all, other than being to blame for everything and as people who are lowlife scumbags who are spoiling it for everybody.

“We are trying to confront this situation with this play.”

Blame runs at the Arcola Theatre from March 27 until April 21.
To book tickets call their box office on 020 7503 1646

EXCLUSIVE! The British Premiere of East of Liberty

Hackney Independent presents

A story of good intentions
Part one

A documentary about gentrification and regeneration in the predominantly African-American neighbourhood of East Liberty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Playing at the Dalston Rio on May Day Bank Holiday – May 7

On this coming May Day Bank Holiday Monday, the Dalston Rio will be hosting the British premiere of East of Liberty, a documentary about gentrification and regeneration in the predominantly African-American neighbourhood of East Liberty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

East Liberty was once one of Pennsylvania’s most prosperous areas, but disastrous urban planning in the 1960s saw both the central business area collapse and tower blocks erected leaving residents isolated in the sky.

But change is again coming to East Liberty. The traffic in the centre is once again flowing after being rerouted in the 60’s, the tower blocks are coming down and new shops are offering everything from yoga to organic food.

Everybody, seemingly, was a winner

But then voices, excluded, marginalised and anxious began to emerge…

Chris Ivey, a seasoned filmmaker in Pittsburgh, first started working on the project in May 2005.

He found himself filming a publicity stunt in which paint bombs were being launched by employees of the regeneration company from a giant catapult at a soon-to-be demolished tower block, East Mall. But, amidst the revelry, he found residents far from happy:
“I was hired to document the tearing down of the high rises. At the same time I interviewed some of the residents who lived in the high rises and they weren’t happy at all because of the spectacle that was before them. They were really angry. It was their home, it was where they used to live, some for 30 years or more. Even though in many ways it wasn’t the best place to live it was all they had and to see strangers having fun by shooting paintballs at the block left them furious.”

And so began a journey of investigation in which previous silent rage was given space to talk.

The film first debuted in the US last Autumn, and the response has astounded the director:
“The reception here has been really incredible. It’s the most talked about thing in the city right now. There’s been loads of coverage in the papers and everybody around town is talking about it. All the screenings have sold out. The people at the screenings are really passionate – they’re always asking what they can do to get involved.”

Chris Ivey will be attending the event and answering questions at the end. On the prospect of showing the documentary here in London he said:
“I’m really looking to forward to coming to Hackney to show my film. Gentrification isn’t just happening here in the States, it’s also happening all over the world too. Sometimes it’s race, and sometimes it’s class, but it always comes down to the money – who has it and who doesn’t, and if you don’t have it you’ll get screwed.”

East of Liberty will be shown at the Dalston Rio at 1pm on May Day Bank Holiday – May 7. The price of admission is £4.

flyer pdf

Protest to Save Hackney's NHS!

In Hackney, NHS cuts are beginning to cause real harm to patient care. Cuts at the Homerton Hospital are escalating, with maternity beds axed, midwives facing redundancy, the specialist breast cancer nurse service cut, redundancy of nurses and therapists, cuts to rehabilitation care for patients who have had a stroke… Rationing of food and milk is so severe that women who have just given birth find themselves unable to have a cup of tea because the hospital can’t afford milk!

In Hackney, we’re also seeing NHS cuts having a serious impact on mental health services and community services. In mental health, we, we’ve had one acute and one rehab ward closed already – with more cuts to come. Community services are expected to lose £13.6 million this April, on top of the £17 million taken out of local NHS funding last year. Health workers at the Primary Care Trust now face redundancy. Morale amongst health workers across Hackney is close to rock bottom, as the financial squeeze gets tighter and tighter.
Our local demonstration in Hackney is part of a national Day of Action to defend the NHS. We’re now seeing cuts and privatisation on an unprecedented scale. Nationally, around 26,000 NHS jobs have been axed. Billions of pounds of public money are being squandered on PFI, Independent Sector Treatment Centres and other privatisation schemes. Cuts and closures are now causing incalculable damage.
The demonstration is on Saturday 3rd March, assembling at 12 noon outside Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street. Please do everything you can to attend the demonstration yourself, and to bring friends, neighbours or colleagues with you. Leaflets for the march are attached.
It’s time for a real fight to defend our NHS. Please come to the Hackney demonstration on 3rd March. This has been called by trade unions at the Homerton Hospital, City and Hackney Primary Care Trust and East London Mental Health Trust, and supported by the ‘Keep Hackney NHS Public’ campaign. We need as much support as we can possibly get from people who live or work in Hackney.
Gill George
Chair, Keep Hackney NHS Public