London Borough of Waltham Forest have offered us the possibility of a site. The site is currently a disused carpark. Volunteers have been working to develop the project with the assistance of Anne Thorne Architects' Partnership for nearly a year now. We have huge support from the local community, women's organisations across London, local councillors, planners and voluntary organisations.
The centre will be a vibrant space, open to all the community and making a great contribution to the area.
There will be shared resources such as reception, wi-fi and printing and photocopying. There will be some commercially let office space.There will also be back-office space for womens charities.
The upper floors will be 45-50 housing units.We plan for one floor of housing to be wheelchair accessible and aimed at single, older women with a communal area included.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
During the 1970s there were womens centres in every London borough. Gradually they all closed. All these centres were either grant dependent themselves, or the groups within them and paying rent were grant dependent. As our willingness as a society to pay for social goods out of the public purse declined with every successive decade, so these centres folded one after another. Now there are very few left. Rooms of our Own recently organised a conference on Women's Spaces http://roomso4own.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/womens-spaces-and-feminist-politics-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow-conference-report which demonstrated a huge demand for spaces where women can meet safely. Gender inequality remains a pressing issue in 2014 as statistics can demonstrate. Rooms of our Own provides a sustainable model which can be replicated across the UK.
Steps to get it done:
In October 2013 London Borough of Waltham Forest said we could have this site. Now after months of work and non-stop encouragement by council officers they are suddenly saying they want to put the site on the market. We are desperate to stop them. We need to raise enough money to convince them we are serious and to pay the planning application fees.
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