Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue



Spike Surplus shut down

May 24 2009
Southwark Council shuts down community centre that has sheltered more than a million homeless people Southwark Council has shut down a thriving community centre that has given shelter to more than a million homeless people during its 150-year history. The Spike Surplus Centre in Peckham, South London, was closed after the council secured an eviction notice. Once described as "Britain's greatest single landmark of Christian charity", it had been an alternative refuge for more than 150 years, having first been settled by nuns, and subsequently used as a poor house. In recent times, Spike had been a bustling project, offering courses on everything from IT and drama to yoga and gardening. But in December, Southwark Council, who own the building, decided they wanted to sell off the land and on 12th February, police and bailiffs turned up at 6.30am to turf everyone out. Spike members had to vacate the building immediately, leaving behind some of their belongings and an 11-year-old cat called Oscar. "We knew we were going to have to leave," said volunteer Paul Kelly, "but they could have had the courtesy to tell us when. "We have asked repeatedly to be told when we would be kicked out, so we could be prepared, but we were always told we would have two weeks' notice. So when we were woken this morning by loads of police, it was quite scary." The centre, which had been used by hundreds of residents, featured a recording studio, exercise classes and garden. Southwark Council had refused an earlier offer from Spike to buy the land. A spike was the section of a Victorian workhouse where homeless could go to eat, bathe and sleep for the night.