Following independent mediation domestic violence charity Sistah Space has reached agreement with Hackney Council on its long running dispute over premises.
They will now re-enter the location in Mare Street they were denied access to by the Council for over 4 weeks on a new temporary license to continue their vital work while they search for a permanent venue.
The agreement follows months of campaigning backed by the cross-party Save Sistah Space campaign.
The Hackney Lib Dems, Greens and Women's Equality Party have released the following joint statement:
We welcome the efforts made by Hackney Council and we are pleased that an agreement has been reached in mediation with Sistah Space following enormous public pressure and demonstration of support for this vital domestic violence charity.
It is very positive that Hackney Council has now accepted that the Lower Clapton premises that they were previously adamant Sistah Space should return to is unsafe, and that Sistah Space can now re-enter 280 Mare Street to continue their vital work.
Sistah Space’s campaign was not just a dispute over premises, it also challenged structural racism, sexism and classism at play in the council’s treatment of this vital service led by and for African heritage survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Although we welcome the agreement that allows Sistah Space to re-enter 280 Mare Street after being locked out by Hackney Council for over 4 weeks, it’s clear that many of the wider issues around the dispute are still unresolved and we hope that Hackney Council will now engage with the community to ensure this can never happen again.
We are also very concerned that the new temporary agreement at 280 Mare Street only runs until January 2021 and by the Council’s lack of commitment to being supportive to Sistah Space in their search for new premises.
Over 20,000 people signed a petition demanding that a temporary lease be granted until at least March 2021. Given the uncertainty in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are shocked that the current agreement falls short of commitment beyond January.
Therefore, we will continue to hold the council to account on their responsibility to engage in good faith and help Sistah Space secure a new long-term location to move to in January and reiterate our offer to work collaboratively with the council in finding this solution for the benefit of the Hackney community.
Most importantly, we want to congratulate Sistah Space for their strength in campaigning for the best possible space for their service users while continuing their work with survivors under enormous challenges.
The Hackney Greens, Lib Dems and Women’s Equality Party stand united behind Sistah Space.