A look back over 12 months of hard campaigning, small victories, and lots of community spirit.
While the winter of 2017 can be described as one of shock, as we found out our landlord wished to demolish our beloved 70 homes and evict a long-established community, the year of 2018 can be described as one of fight back, determination, and solidarity. As the year draws to a close, here’s a look back over some of our happier memories.
#SaveOurHomesLS26 Residents Action Group formed
We came together to form a Residents Action Group almost immediately as there was no way we’d take this eviction threat lying down. It only solidified our sense of community.
Representation and Advocacy
We’ve had the honour and the privilege to represent our campaign at a number of forums. In the last 12 months we have petitioned Leeds City Council to standing ovation, spoken at a Housing Advocacy meeting in Parliament, advocated councillors in their offices and hosted them on our estate, spoken to Housing Campaign Groups across the region, called into LBC to demand answers from then-Housing and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, and many many more.
Stop the press!
Over the course of the year – but particularly in March and April – we were covered by the UK’s biggest news outlets: BBC local and national, the Guardian, Financial Times and ITV Calendar, as well as a range of smaller and/or local news outlets.
Our shining moment was an in-depth feature on BBC Newsnight on the 9th April 2018.
Power of protest
We’ve been known to hold a march or two (or three, or four… ahem) and this year we’ve really waved the banners! We’ve joined and made protests from Rothwell to Leeds – and we’ve even taken our case down to housing meetings in London.
Fundraising and Petitions
Our online petition gained over 2,200 signatures, with hundreds more gathered by the Residents Action Group on Paper. We have also managed to raise a few pennies on stalls, through our online giving page, and through generous donations from the Miners and Hands off Our Homes – a huge THANK YOU to everyone that contributed.
Since joining Twitter, our Residents Action Group has tweeted nearly 3,500 times, and our Social Media whizz Hazell Field has added an additional 4,000 to that number. With thousands more from residents and other supports, that takes us to 10,000+.
Through Twitter we’ve reached councillors, MPs, other housing groups and ordinary citizens also concerned with our plight. Add to our momentum by tweeting #SaveOurHomesLS26
It has also been a historic year for the estate for other reasons (forgive the pun). This year we delved deeper into the rich history of Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close, and have learned more about Sir Edwin Airey – Leeds-born designer of these iconic 1950s Airey Houses. We’ve also shared what it means to still have connections to mining history, decades after the mines have closed. Meet some of our ex-mining residents on our “Meet the Residents” page.
Right from the outset we have been inundated with local support: from councillors representing all the major parties (especially Karen Bruce of Labour), Miners groups in Leeds, local news publications (such as the brand new LS26 Local), and neighbours from across Oulton, Woodlesford, Rothwell and beyond. THANK YOU ALL.
What a year!
2019 may be a big year for us too – the Planning Committee are aiming to meet in January and February and the legal battle may then commence.
Whatever lay in store, we are going to enter 2019 with as much oomf as we started 2018.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!