Russell Brand backs Focus E15 mums
- Credit: Archant
Russell Brand has lent his support to a group of mothers from the Focus E15 campaign, who are occupying four flats on Stratford’s Carpenter’s Estate.
The high-profile comedian dropped in on the mums on Friday to support their campaign which highlights homelessness in the area.
They have turned the flats earmarked for demolition into a “social centre” after the homes were cleared of residents for a redevelopment project years ago.
Jasmin Stone, who is at the forefront of the campaign, said: “We want to highlight the issue of homelessness when there’s perfectly good homes in the local area.”
Speaking to the Recorder about the celebrity visit, she added: “Russell Brand has been here twice now.
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“We’ve had loads of support from the local community and since he’s come a few thousand people have come to visit the social centre this week.
“It was really nice of him to come, the more people the better. We mostly just talked about the housing situation. He was really shocked about everything that’s going on here.”
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After the funding was cut on the Focus E15 hostel last year, the campaign formed when the mothers who lived there were told they could be rehoused outside of London.
The hostel accommodated young people under 25, many with support needs due to homelessness, domestic violence or coming out of social service care.
Mothers were issued eviction notices from housing association, East Thames, and said the changes meant they risked being isolated from their families.
On Monday night the group made their way to a full council meeting at East Ham town hall.
Newham Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, read a statement about Focus E15 and called the current occupation “despicable” and “depriving needy people of homes.”
However, he admitted the eviction was initially “badly handled” and apologised on behalf of East Thames and the council.
Explaining that most of the mothers have been rehoused in London he said: “Not one family from the E15 Foyer has been made homeless and no one in the illegal occupation of the Carpenters Estate is homeless.”
He said the council have “worked hard to unlock the potential” of the Carpenters Estate, adding: “The hardened political activists who have hijacked their campaign should concentrate on the evils of the Tory government’s vicious benefit changes rather than attacking the Labour council doing the most to support its residents.”