Search

Not for profit seeks support to build women’s centre in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 13:47 28 August 2020

Wendy Davis during a Women's Library protest with Angela Brady who was then president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Picture: Martin Lesanto Smith

Wendy Davis during a Women's Library protest with Angela Brady who was then president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Picture: Martin Lesanto Smith

Archant

An appeal for support to build a women’s centre in the borough has been launched.

A demonstration outside the Women's Library before it was relocated to the London School of Economics. Picture: Wendy DavisA demonstration outside the Women's Library before it was relocated to the London School of Economics. Picture: Wendy Davis

Staff from not-for-profit Rooms of Our Own are encouraging women and women’s organisations to back their bid by signing an online letter to Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell.

The social enterprise hopes the town hall will help them find a suitable site to develop, with the proceeds from the sale of properties used to build the centre, which would include a crèche, hall, meeting rooms, offices and café.

Founder and director, retired architect Wendy Davis, said: “Rooms of our Own believe a new type of women’s centre would be a fantastic addition to Barking and Dagenham.

“We need to find a suitable site to build an affordable, accessible, safe, green, beautiful building, financed by housing.

Wendy Davis during a Women's Library protest with Angela Brady who was then president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Picture: Martin Lesanto SmithWendy Davis during a Women's Library protest with Angela Brady who was then president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Picture: Martin Lesanto Smith

“The centre would be home to a whole range of women’s groups and activities that could network, support each other, share information and make progress on all women’s issues.”

You may also want to watch:

Rooms of Our Own was started in 2012 in response to the loss of buildings for women, including England’s main resource on women and the women’s movement, the Women’s Library, which had been based in Whitechapel before it was moved to the London School of Economics.

Its aim is to own a building funded by the sale or rent of homes it would see built. It would not provide services, but its centre would be available for others as a base from which to work. The not-for-profit has an in-principle deal with developer, Thornsett, run by Bernadette Cunningham, to do the building work.

However, it needs a 1,000 square metre plot, which it would look to buy at a below market price tag.

If it can get a bigger plot, it would look to build community land trust housing too.

Wendy said Rooms of Our Own has the backing of Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge and a meeting lined up in September with Cllr Rodwell.

“We hope that the council leader will help us find such a site, and if you sign the letter of support that would greatly improve our chances. Thank you,” Wendy said.

To sign the letter visit roomsofourown.org.uk


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Barking and Dagenham Post