Cafe One, the home of established social enterprise Whatsonuk, was boarded up yesterday by workers on behalf of Mars Pension Trustees & its agent Jones Lang Lasalle. As seen on the video the staff of Whatson watched in amazement while they were boarded into the building. Despite the intimidation the staff of Whatson have been carrying on producing their national monthly magazine of alternative culture. Members of staff got caught up including manager Setsu Adachi & her newborn baby Seki Adachi, just fourteen weeks old.
Five Ways Shopping Centre in Birmingham, UK has been the base of Cafe One, the UK's first Fairtrade venue, which has regularly hosted meetings, club nights & social events including People and Planet, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Ethical Trade Soc, Stop the War Coalition and student societies, providing a free space for meetings, campaigns, film showings, DJs, live bands and charity fundraising events.
Nearly nine years ago Cafe One was founded by Whatsonuk, to provide a meeting place for it’s progressive media network, and has traded as sustainable and successful social enterprise serving the city’s progressive community. By organising meetings and reporting the abuse of power by multinationals and governments worldwide in the pages of Whatsonuk, the organisation has put itself in the front line of corporate intimidation.
Both Cafe One & Whatsonuk are objecting at the underhanded practice of Mars and Jones Lang Lasalle, claiming that they are being shut out without consideration for the future of small business in the area. No planning permission has been granted for redevelopment, and Whatson feels victim of aggressive eviction tactics, asking for the right to remain until end of May when they can relocate properly, a request that has been turned down.
'To defend our rights, we're asking for everyone's support. What’s happened to us is a reflection of the current situation across UK and this kind of corporate intimidation should not be allowed to happen without being exposed.' Sam Alim, Manager
City MPs, Labour, Lib-Dem & Respect councillors, faith leaders, residents & community groups are all giving their full support with over 1000 signatures and pledges of support already collected. Meanwhile Mars Pension Trustees has refused to accept the petition and declined to comment, continuing with the eviction of businesses and closure of Fiveways.
Video Link> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkppveDAvZI
Interviews> with Whatson staff, supporters, local figures and faith leaders can be arranged.
More Info> Whatsonuk, Cafe One, Fiveways, Broad St, Birmingham, B15 1DU UK
T> 0121 245 0000