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Sistah-Space - Hackney women's shelter - facing eviction

(52 Posts)
ArabellaScott Tue 25-Aug-20 20:33:29

'Sistah Space is Hackney’s only service to support women of African & Caribbean heritage who suffer domestic abuse. They are seeing record demand but Hackney Council wants to evict them from their current premises and relocate them somewhere that is unsuitable. '

There is a fundraiser for this, easily findable by google, Sistah-Space are also asking for people who live in Hackney to write to the council for support. I think anyone write to the Mayors(?). More information below.

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ArabellaScott Tue 25-Aug-20 20:34:07

Sorry, I think anyone can write to the Mayors.

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ByGrabtharsHammerWhatASavings Tue 25-Aug-20 20:42:11

Thanks for sharing. I don't live in Hackney but will try and write to someone and have a dig for the fundraiser. You'd think that at a time like this, with all the BLM stuff in the news and the reports of soaring DV rates, that Hackney Council would at least be pretending to give a shit about a service like this, if only for the "optics". Totally disgraceful.

ArabellaScott Tue 25-Aug-20 20:56:52

Thanks, ByGrab. Yes, this service is sorely needed and should be a priority.

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kazzer2867 Tue 25-Aug-20 21:31:25

Thanks @ArabellaScott. Was reading about them last week but didn't see the above link. I've emailed the Mayor and will forward the link to others.

Such a worth while service, especially as (from what i've read) there seems to be less reporting within the community (some connected to reporting partners to the police). This service provides a much needed safe space for women of African heritage.

Butterer Tue 25-Aug-20 21:33:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EwwSprouts Tue 25-Aug-20 21:39:45

The MPs for both Hackney North & Hackney South are female. I hope they are stepping up and speaking out for such a community service.

OvaHere Tue 25-Aug-20 21:41:31

Thanks for posting.

ArabellaScott Tue 25-Aug-20 21:46:53

Good stuff, wimms.

Dawn Butler Brent has previously supported Sistah-Space, by the look of it. I wonder if she can get behind this? Maybe she already has.

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Siablue Tue 25-Aug-20 22:04:27

This is awful. It is a much needed service, especially at this time. I hope the council change their mind.

stumbledin Wed 26-Aug-20 00:15:02

They aren't being evicted they are being asked to move back to their former premises which have been refurbished.

Their arguement is that their temporary premises are better as they are more centrally located in Hackney and in a safer area, so women are more likely to feel able to drop in.

So the service wont close.

What isn't clear is why Hackney wont let them stay in the temporary space. I suspect it is because it is commercial space in central Hackney so no doubt think they can get some ridiculous rent from some over priced eatery catering to all the woke incomers.

By the way the claim that they are the only women's service providing support to women of African and Caribbean community isn't correct. The Claudia Jones organisation has been doing this for years.

If anyone is writing to Hackney do ask why they need the temporary premises back. If there is no immediate need for it and the service (which they are funding) is operating a better service then it is crazy to get them to move as the current situation means they are getting a better return on their funding.

There is also a petition here

And they have put in a formal complaint saying the Council is in breach of its code of conduct

ArabellaScott Wed 26-Aug-20 07:24:37

Thanks for clarification and information, stumbledin.

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Butterer Wed 26-Aug-20 12:56:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArabellaScott Wed 26-Aug-20 13:09:03

Ta, Butterer. Seems a pretty full reply. And seems that it's a bit more complicated a situation than a straightforward eviction.

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stumbledin Wed 26-Aug-20 14:49:45

I am not sure of everything involved but that's why I thought it might be worth asking the Mayor why Sistah Space cant stay in the accomodation that is clearly better for them / their clients.

What is the cost to the Council are transfering the lease rights of the older (now refurbished) property to the temporary but more central one.

It would not be a good look for Hackney to ge kicking out a BAME DV service for yet another over priced eaterie for all woke young white things and tourists who get a buzz from venturing into east London.

InvisibleDragon Wed 26-Aug-20 16:35:29

Looking at that letter from Philip Glanville, I suspect the reason that the Council want Sistah Space to return to their original accommodation is that they agreed the details of the refurbishment with Sistah Space.

So Hackney Council have paid for refurbishment work that Sistah Space signed off on, with the expectation that Sistah Space would use the original premises once the refurbishment work was completed. And that wasn't general refurbishment - it was specifically tailored to the needs of Sistah Space.

Now Sistah Space are refusing to move, because they prefer the new location. Whilst I'm sympathetic to the argument that the new location is more suitable, it is disingenuous to imply both that they are simply being evicted from their site and that they didn't agree to the refurbishment work to their original building with the expectation of returning to it once the work was done.

stumbledin Wed 26-Aug-20 17:11:34

Invisible Dragon - agree on one level, that's why I thought asking Hackney if there was actually some other worthwhile group that the new / temporary space had been promised to. Because if not why not let them stay if it means more women access the service and feel safer doing so? It is a better return on the funding of the service.

And there are any number of other groups who might want the old premises, despite any specific refurbishment, who do not feel that being at the back of a row of shops in what is known locally as "the Murder Mile".

I think part of the problem is that a genuine group has been hijacked by Sisters Uncut, who like the SWP, take any cause and turn it into a platform for their particular politics ie the establishment is always wrong. And it has dovetailed with BLM being taken over by left aligned groups who have a similar attitude.

By the way i am not anti left wing, I just think in the instance of supporting a genuine grass roots organisation (particularly a BAME women's DV service) the outcome for the group is more important than scoring verbal political points.

(I hadn't realised until I googled Hackney Councillors that 55 of them are Labour and there are 5 Conservatives!)

I wonder why Imkaan and EVAW aren't getting involved with this. Very strange.

Mabye they should approach Meg Hillier and Diane Abbott and ask them to mediate a sensible solution.

VirginiaComet Wed 26-Aug-20 18:57:38

Done, thanks

DidoLamenting Wed 26-Aug-20 21:33:28

The Clapton property was refurbished by the Council to a specification agreed with them with the current temporary arrangement explicitly agreed at the outset as being for a very short period to ensure continuity of their services while those works were carried out

Assuming these are the facts then I'm not impressed with Sistah Space's behaviour.

Kit19 Wed 26-Aug-20 21:44:57

Sistahs move out temporarily so the council can refurbish their registered office premises to a spec agreed With them presumably at the councils expense.

Sistahs then say they won’t move back to the old premises despite having agreed that they would do that before they moved

Can’t say I’m impressed with their behaviour either if the facts as presented as accurate. I’ve worked in the voluntary sector a long time & seem many councils behave outrageously but I don’t think Hackney are the unreasonable ones here

DidoLamenting Wed 26-Aug-20 22:29:02

Here's the Council's version of events.

Not quite "the ruthless landlord evicting a charity" version being peddled by Sistah Space.

The Council seems to have bent over backwards to accommodate them.

ArabellaScott Wed 26-Aug-20 22:45:41

Yes, I agree, Dido. I read the original post and since reading other posts on here feel it has been misrepresented, or at least not fully explained.

Apologies if this post has misled anyone, certainly not my intention.

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stumbledin Wed 26-Aug-20 23:46:19

Arabella - it's just unfortunate that the campaign has been hijacked by groups with an agenda that doesn't actually prioritise the service.

In earlier articles there was clearer a problem with access to the original property, in an area known as the Murder Mile, and this was off putting to women wanting to visit the service.

So as there has been a positive uptake in the service since moving to an area close to shopping centre, it would be good if they could stay.

If only it could be done throuhg some sort of mediation.

And if they do stay in new premises there may be local voluntary sector groups who could make good use of the original refurbished property.

And even if Hackney have done as promised I think to ask Sistah Space to move for some over prized pizza restuarant isn't a valid response by Hackney.

DidoLamenting Thu 27-Aug-20 00:28:44

And even if Hackney have done as promised I think to ask Sistah Space to move for some over prized pizza restuarant isn't a valid response by Hackney

Did you read any of the Council's responses?

Sistah Space come across as unreasonable and unprofessional. They seem to constantly change demands of what they want with no conception that if you enter into a contract you don't get to decide unilaterally you will ignore it.

Viviennemary Thu 27-Aug-20 00:39:27

It would seem that the building they are now in was only a temporary arrangement while their own building was refurbished. Now they want to remain in the new accommodation. This isn't possible because the arrangement was temporary. Seems to me the Council is bending over backwards to help. I won't be signing the petition as it is quite fair.

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