London: Cuts Cafe

This is an open letter to everyone, who has been excited, disappointed, confused, concerned, etc about what is happening with the physical space that will become the Cuts Cafe. My name is Peter, I am a member of the space team who have been working day and night for the past two weeks in order to try and find a building that meets the criteria of size, accessibility, location, and security. In the last fourteen days we have scouted around forty buildings in areas such as Elephant and Castle, The City of London, Holborn, and Mayfair; opened and internally expected around 10, and fully squatted and prepared 2; most of us have slept less than 4 hours in every 24.

Last Thursday, we found and secured an absolutely ideal location in Elephant and Castle; a three story Library on Borough Road which had been abandoned by South bank University for around 9 months. The building met all of our needs, and most importantly of all was completely wheelchair accessible. Sadly, the forces of the state, and the management of the university would not allow us to use this building, and swiftly and violently evicted us from the premise.

Following this, we in the spaces team spent day after long day scouting buildings to find the perfect place, and night after long night opening and exploring buildings to see if we could make them work. It has been a steep learning curve for many of us; as an able bodied person, I had never realized how horribly in accessible so many central London buildings are.

On Sunday night, after intense sleep deprivation, failure after failure to find the perfect space, and a high degree of burnout we decided to open up 1 Stamford Street near Blackfriars. We chose this building, as it is large and spacious, well located, clean and welcoming and also because it was one of the last places we could realistically open before we all collapsed of exhaustion. The doors have been heavily barricaded by the owner and access for all of us has been difficult, we have finally sorted this and today have been building a ramp to make the place accessible for wheelchair users.

We at the spaces crew, have worked as hard as we can to find and identify a space and want more than anything for us to be able to open the doors and get things rolling but we also feel that it is unfair and hypocritical to open a space to the public that a wheelchair can not get into. To this ends, the wheelchair ramp will be finished by the morning and from then we welcome everyone to come and help us fix up the space to be the future we want to see.

We’re sorry, really sorry for the delay in opening and i personally apologize to those who had to cancel workshops because of our failings, but I hope people understand the work that has gone into everything we’ve had to do, it’s been a mission, but a mission that has been worth it.