1,000 signatures reached
To: Liverpool City Council, county court judge.
Save the Bank of Love!
Allow the "Bank of Love" - The Jess James Community Outreach Centre - to remain open to provide shelter, food and other assistance to local people in need. Government austerity policies have hit Merseyside the hardest of any area in the country and we believe the human rights of local people are being breached.
Why is this important?
On Saturday 18th April 2015, a group of activists occupied the old Bank of England building at 31 Castle Street in Liverpool. This huge building has sat empty for several years, while local homelessness services have seen a dramatic increase in demand for the help they provide. The Whitechapel Centre has reported a 32% rise in demand for the service over the last three years:
The occupied bank has yesterday received papers for a court hearing about the occupation. The hearing will take place on the 28th of April. We are petitioning Liverpool City Council and the court judge to not evict the activists and to allow the centre to remain open indefinitely, to meet the acute needs of local people living in poverty.
Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
A "perfect storm" of central government cuts, stagnating wages and other unfavourable economic conditions have hit Merseyside the hardest out of any area in the country (While the national average cut in council budgets has been 2.9%, Merseyside councils are facing a reduction of 4.7%) and led to a dramatic increase in homelessness and housing issues, food poverty, fuel poverty and other types of material deprivation. Liverpool City Council has been instrumental in enacting cuts that have affected the most vulnerable members of the local community, and existing services are struggling to cope with the increased demand that this hardship is causing.
A group of concerned local people have decided this situation can no longer be tolerated. We have therefore set up the "Bank of Love" - the Jess James Community Outreach Centre - inside the abandoned building. As it was mainly the 2008 UK bank bailout that has led to the imposition of damaging austerity policies which are devastating out local communities, we feel it is apt that a former bank building should be used to house, feed and clothe those in need.
Inside the bank we have set up a kitchen which has fed hundreds of people since the occupation began, and the big empty rooms above have housed many local people with nowhere else to go. Activists at the bank have also been providing food bags and free shoes and clothing to those in need.
Government policy in the form of benefit sanctions (state-approved destitution) and the bedroom tax and changes to council tax benefit are leaving people unable to meet their most basic needs and the most basic needs of their families. Unless and until the government/local council addresses this ongoing breach of human rights, the centre must remain open.