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Cwtch Community Centre evicted - down but not out

"No reason for the story to end here" say activists.

A group of 15 or so people who set up the Cwtch Community Centre in the empty Dolphin Hotel in Swansea city centre have vowed to carry on their work after being been evicted. In a story carried by the South Wales Evening Post, Rev, a member of Cwtch, said the group would carry on their work: ‘Cwtch has been providing a brilliant service to the community. When we open, people without homes take shelter here and elderly ladies come for coffee.’

The Dolphin Hotel has been unoccupied for around two years but, this Valentine’s Day, judge Christopher Vosper showed his love by granting an interim possession order to businessman landlord Altaf Nanji from Somerset. The order gave Cwtch just 24 hours to vacate the Dolphin.

In his summing-up, judge Vosper allowed that Cwtch was doing good work in the community and that many people would support them, but he was unable to exercise his discretion.

Cwtch is a wonderful Welsh word which means ‘safe place’, so giving someone a cwtch means giving them a safe place – it might also mean giving them a hug. On their Facebook page, the Cwtch Community Centre posted: ‘We are not as downheartened as you might think, all knew this day would come. In just two weeks, cwtch had achieved so much. It has been an amazing journey and there is no reason for the story to end here.’

The charity Empty Homes estimates there around 930,000 empty homes across the UK, 350,000 of which are long-term empty, while some two million families do not have adequate housing.

STOP PRESS As PN went to press, we heard that the Cwtch group had occupied the vacant JT Morgan department store in Swansea. More information: Cwtch Community Centre: www. tinyurl.com/peacenews701. Empty Homes: www.emptyhomes.com. Social Centres network: www.tinyurl.com/peacenews713