Church tries (& fails) to chuck out Bankfield occupiers, Liverpool

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Bankfield 1

Dec 2 2005

'Sit-in 'fails' to save community centre'

A 10-WEEK sit-in to save a Liverpool community centre has failed after the Church of England ordered campaigners out within the week.

Defeated supporters of Bankfield House in Garston have been sent a letter insisting the charity hands over the keys to the building by December 9.

The centre was given its last rites by Bankfield House trustees' chairman Steve Pearse to end months of protest.

Charity chairman Brian Taylor described the news as "very sad" and said the charity was now homeless.

It means Christmas events for children and pensioners will be cancelled.

Mr Taylor said: "This is a loss for the community of Garston as this centre was created for them and now it has been taken away."

Campaigners have been staging a sit-in for the past few months and carried out fund-raising, which has reached £8,000.

Mr Pearse's letter read: "Please will all those using the building in any way arrange for removal by December 9.

"The key is to be handed over to St Michael's church and Bankfield House charity will cease to have any responsibility for the contents and insurance of the building."

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

Mother Julie Robinson said: "My two children are regular visitors to Bankfield House and they will miss the centre a lot."

Church of England officials decided to shut down Bankfield House, saying it had fallen into disrepair.

But protesters say it needs cosmetic changes and argue the centre was created as a memorial to World War II dead in 1959, following a six-year fundraising effort by residents.

Mr Pearse said: "We looked at the charity's case as sympathetically as possible, but decided it was difficult for it to continue at Bankfield. The building has become in great need of attention.

"We don't want any of their activities to be stopped and hope to try and accommodate the charity in a different location."

(from Liverpool Echo)