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E15 mums turn housing association offices into creche

Campaigners highlight housing crisis at East Thames HQ

Mums campaigning for social housing occupied the housing provider East Thames offices yesterday — a year after having been evicted from the provider’s Focus E15 hostel in east London.

The now famous Focus E15 mothers group — who previously occupied a flat in a abandoned block on the Carpenters estate — turned the entrance of the office into a creche for the day, while waiting to speak to senior managers.

Campaigners had heard of possible new evictions at their former hostel and demanded an explanation from East Thames, which reportedly made a staggering £17 million profit in the last year.

The mums spokeperson Sam Middleton told the Star that they were able to speak to East Thames chief executive Yvonne Arrowsmith.

But Ms Middleton added: “What we know and what she knows are two different things.”

The mums argued the hostel has been slowly emptied of tenants, with around 130 flats now unused while they were made to move to unaffordable private accommodation.

Ms Middleton said the campaign had given East Thames management two weeks to get back to the Focus E15 mothers but could not confirm whether further direct action will be taken.

Meanwhile, their campaign has inspired others across the country to take action.

A group in Newcastle called Parents Against the Cuts staged a Halloween protest against cuts to local library and nursery budgets.

Campaign organiser Vanessa Cutter said: “I have been inspired by the E15 campaign and how the strength and perseverance of the mothers has had such a wide impact.”

“Reading about the campaign made me realise that normal people can be part of making a difference — anybody can and should stand up for what they think is right.”

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