Bankfield House occupation continues, Liverpool

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Bankfield 2

Dec 23 2005

We're staying in our community

ANGRY campaigners are refusing to leave the closed community centre Bankfield House.

Protesters were ordered out two weeks ago by Church of England bosses and told to hand over keys to the building.

But Garston families calling for the centre to be saved are refusing to budge and are vowing to carry on their fight into the New Year.

Members of Bankfield House have contacted the Charity Commission to ask if the centre, built after a fundraising effort by Garston people in 1959, can actually be taken away from them.

A party for the protesters will be held inside the centre on December 27 to keep spirits up during the sit-in.

The Church of England said evictions would take place in the New Year if the occupation is not called off.

A spokesman for Bankfield House said: "We've decided to stay on for a bit and keep fighting this decision.

"I think it would be very mean-spirited of them to turf us out during the festive period."

The campaigners have been contacted by activist group Nerve, which promotes grassroots arts and culture in Mersey-side, with an offer to occupy the building.

The Church of England decided to shut down Bankfield House after claiming it had fallen into disrepair.

The centre caters for groups including a 60-strong children's drama club, a young people's gym, and even runs activities on Christmas Day.

A host of festive activities have been cancelled, including a performance of the newly-written musical Tender Trap by Liverpool Music Society.

Deryn Munro, the society's manager, said there are specially-made sets for the play sitting in a container at Garston Docks costing £60 a month.

A spokesman for the Church of England said: "The parish has applied for the possession of the building and these people will be evicted.

"The user groups have still not approached us with an alternative plan for the charity like we asked them."

(from Liverpool Echo)