Video: Squatters establish a centre ‘for disgruntled’ in Lewes

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Squatters have moved in to the prestigious former offices of a firm of solicitors in Lewes.

The local activists occupied the vacant premises on School Hill to create a “pop-up social centre for the disgruntled”.

Lewes squatters open veg shop

Lewes squatters open veg shop

And this week it opened its doors for workshops, meetings and a free shop – where things are given away or swapped, rather than bought.

On Tuesday, a giant banner went up outside the building proclaiming it as “Lewes Social Space, for vegetables, workshops, tea and anti-capitalism”.

The premises opened its doors to the public at high noon on Wednesday to a bagpipes fanfare from Dirk Campbell, resplendent in a kilt.

Inside the former hallowed halls of Blaker Son and Young was a shop offering organic local vegetables and cups of tea for the price of a donation.

Stuck to the window facing the street was a notice that said because the offices were a non-residential building it had become a legitimate squat.

“We live in the property. Entering or attempting to enter without permission is a criminal offence,” said the notice.It warned that prosecution would result if an attempt was made to enter by violence, or threatening violence.

“If you want to get us out you will have to issue a claim for possession in the County Court or High Court,” the notice added.

Mel Goldman, a spokesperson for the activists, said: “Everyone’s fed up with the way systems, governments and the greedy are messing everything up. We’re all disgruntled.

“The environment is being trashed. Austerity is ruining lives. Meanwhile, the filthy rich – including cabinet members – are getting even richer while others can’t afford to eat properly.

“We believe there are other ways of doing things. So we are providing a space for people to come and talk, to share positive ideas for ways to survive and thrive. We invite people to drop in for tea to find out more.”

The Lewes Pop-Up Social Centre plans to run for less than a month and is supported by a broad coalition of local groups including Lewes Stop The Cuts, Frack Off, Lewes Against Fracking, Lewes Uncut and Grow Lewes.

Marina Pepper said: “You don’t always need money. Sometimes you just need humanity.”