Autonomous Social Centre in Newcastle ( feck me! )

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Joined: 12-02-04
Jun 7 2004 15:29
Autonomous Social Centre in Newcastle ( feck me! )

eek omygod, we're actually gonna do it ! eek

Pasted below are ( slightly edited ) minutes from the last meeting, to give people an impression of where we're at. The next meeting is tonight and I'll post future ones here, along with whatever contact details we agree.

The planning for a social centre has begun through 'Why Don't You', but it will not remain there. If you are interested in getting involved, come along, become part of the collective process of deciding what we want and how to do it. This is a very real project that will get a physical existence within a few months ( or less! ), and we need you to become an equal participant in it!



A long term place for contacts, information, networks

and radical networks

Inform, inspire, nurture action and resistance

A central point - free space for whatever

A veggie/ vegan café

Ethical consumerism

A way for people for enter into the relatively small

and difficult to contact Newcastle radical network and

sub culture

Creating a stronger sense of community within

Newcastle and also connecting that community with

things going on in the rest of the country.

Meeting space for small un-established groups who

might not be able to afford to hire rooms or have the

membership to warrant weekly venue.

Spaces of different sizes for different types of event

- make centre as diverse and full of different

activities as possible.

Place that invites in all types of alternative

activities - taking action and control

A centre where groups can meet - no paid staff, non

hierarchical - mainly for people who haven’t get found

a ‘group’ in Newcastle - especially younger children/

teenagers who are the next generation of activists.

Space for art with a political message

Place as ‘green’ as possible - compost bins,

alternative energy sources.

Place which can inspire people what they can do and

what the alternatives are.

Real problem about creating a community and trying to

get people to stay involved and also having a place

that is accessible and non alienating.- non cliquey

Place where people can come in and find out what is

going on without making a specific commitment to a

particular group.

Social centre - socialising is the key - a place where

you can just go in and talk to people

A venue that is there for people to use

Needs to be skill sharing - everybody taking there

turn at all jobs.

Need to be free to change as the membership changes.


Need to use the internet more as a way for people to

find out about what is going on in the city - the

centre could help to disseminate this information both

by word of mouth/ advertising on the site and also

setting up some kind of page on the internet easily

accessible by typing key words like ‘Newcastle’,

‘Activist’ etc into google.

Get the opportunity to use resources that are already

here but not used ie: setting up a video library to

rent out films that have been shown at the Side Cinema


Close to major arms dealers and suppliers - Vickers,

British Aerospace

BNP is starting to launch campaigns in the area - want

a place which can link with the refugee and immigrant


Lack of a community space in the city - not many big

community centres

Specifically a lack of community arts space and venue


The activist network in Newcastle is not very well

connected to each other - need a central space.


No paid staff - don’t want to become employers

Are open to allowing groups who have paid workers

using the space


The council produce a monthly list of empty properties

- commercial properties are less likely to give us a

one year lease.

Possibility of exploring spaces that need a bit of


Need ground space for accessibility ie: persons with


Needs to have a entrance onto a street - not something

that is tucked away or difficult to find

Check out Storey’s, Sons and Parker - cheap sources of


Check out Cousins re building down by the Japanese

Restaurant - between Westgate Rd and Stowell Street

Street where Planet Earth used to be has some empty


General area near the Big Lamp Brewery - a few

possible buildings - old solicitors building, white

building, one next to the church - ex pub.



Building at the back of McDonalds on Northumberland

Street - small white terrace boarded up - might need

floor boards for first floor.


It initially needs to be contained - cannot start big

for fear of people becoming overwhelmed

If it is going to be volunteer run we might need a

volunteer co-ordinator who will make sure that

volunteers are there - do we need someone who is

committed to picking up the shortfall.

We don’t need to be open all the time


1) A trip visiting other Social Centres to get ideas

and learn about things that have worked/ not worked in

the past

2) Rent

3) Refurbishment

4) Computer and basic office equipment

5) Setting up the kitchen for the café


Name - (E)NTRANCE ( pronounced both ways, a way in to many networks, info, activism )

Shouldn’t be called Newcastle as it is a regional venue.

circle A red n black star smile

Joined: 12-02-04
Jun 9 2004 17:05

Monday 21st June 7pm at the Depot Building, Leazes Park.

Walk along Richardson Rd from the Trent House ( near Haymarket Metro ) toward the Moor, and we'll have a notice up on the railings on your left.

If you need a lift from the station, email in plenty of time and we'll try sort one out. The room is wheelchair accessible and there'll be tea and coffee on the go. If you are bringing children, or have any needs we should know about, again get in touch.

emma goldman's cat
Joined: 12-06-04
Jun 12 2004 14:23

More on the social centre

This was wrtitten based on the minutes taken at the the meeting last saturday - so we could take it to manchester to discuss with other groups who are setting up centres (Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford & Tyneside) which are all part of the Dissent network.

love and peace


roll eyes :red: black star

(E)NTRANCE – a social centre for Newcastle

A group of ~20 people, launched through ’Why Don’t You’, have this month begun energetically planning a social centre for Newcastle. Several individuals involved, however, have been part of previous preparations in the area, and others keen to be involved have been prevented by other commitments ( particularly children! ) from giving their full input so far. In this brief, we are presenting the basic what, who, where, why and how of the project.


We have the provisional name of (E)NTRANCE, pronounced both ways, expressing our desire for the centre to be a way in to many networks, information, greater activity, etc.

In our second meeting a brainstorm revealed a lot of common agreement, including the following points of what the space would be:

· A base for activists, a long-term place for access to radical info and networks, a place for networking amongst anti-capitalist types, a link for the whole of the North East.

· Social, autonomous, non-hierarchical, multi-cultural, accessible ( avoid cliqueness )

· A place for young people and those not already part of an established group. To inform, inspire and nurture action and resistance, to skill share and build community.

· A place where people can share resources who couldn’t afford their own office space: a big space, talks, gigs, storage for banners, computer, printer, meeting space.

· A video library and book exchange, a space where artists can create and exhibit pieces of a political message, where musicians can rehearse, where diverse events can take place (there is a profound lack of such a space in Newcastle).

· Cheap vegan food, a demonstration of a fully green building, volunteers not employers, internet and multimedia.


The following groups have so far been involved in planning the social centre:

‘Why Don’t You’ * Palestine Solidarity Campaign ( local group ) * Black Sun Press ( feminist arts and music promoter ) * Radical Side ( film collective ) * Drummed Up ( drumming group ) * Projectile ( anarchist festival of film and ideas, December 11th 04 ) * Horticultural holistic therapy ( allotment-based group ) * TWAR ( Tyne and Wear Against Racism ) * Fairy Cake collective ( do fundraising stalls ) * Those previously involved in the Eclectic City squats

We are connected to the following networks, which would use the space as an info point:

Dissent * Anarchist Federation * Earth First! * Trident Ploughshares * Indymedia ( a Newcastle Indymedia would be set up and based in the centre )

Local groups we anticipate using the centre ( members of whom have expressed real interest ) :

Newcastle Community Green Festival * Newcastle Free Festival * Greenpeace * People and Planet * Friends of the Earth * Green Party * Young Greens * Community Press ( gigs and info guide ) * Campaign Against the Arms Trade * Womens Environmental Network * Real Nappy Campaign * Stop the War * Tyneside Socialist Forum * Also general green networks, counter-cultural, free party and left networks


We have so far looked at properties in several areas ( city centre, the Quayside, Westgate Rd and Big Lamp, the Ouseburn etc ). We wish to have a street-front property, ground-floor for accessibility, and in an area where some musical events would be permitted ( which rules out most residential areas ). Relative to other cities, Newcastle prices are v.low although the city centre has become competitive. If necessary, we would prioritise a central location over size of property, but preliminary research shows annual rents from as low as £3000 in some parts of the city centre so we are optimistic.


There is not a social centre for 350 miles, between Edinburgh and Bradford. People on Tyne and Wear have intermittently been trying to get a social centre off the ground for years, and are forever trying to get stronger North East networks going (see indymedia/ enrager/urban 75 bulletin boards). Geographically we are a quite distinct region, isolated from the rest of England and with strong links between NE areas. Recent ‘regeneration’ has led to major commercialisation of space and the subsequent exclusion of social groups. A free, accessible space is much needed in the city.

Many many people have identified the lack of any kind of meeting point as a key problem. There is nowhere for lefty rebellious types to meet each other – ‘stop the war’ teenagers, for example. Even ‘Why Don’t You’ is very hard to access: several new participants have discussed how hard it was to find us. Almost all local radical or campaign-based meetings take place in pubs, sometimes a different one each week as none are particularly suitable, let alone sympathetic. There are many small groups across the area, but we find it very hard to meet each other. We are confident that many more people would leap to be involved and make use of the centre if we got it off the ground. In the past, it is precisely the financial barrier that has prevented similar projects getting off the ground: relative to other cities, Newcastle is poor.


We have more research to do, learning from the other social centres in the UK (and many sympathetic contacts locally, from property sourcers to people who set up community businesses, from electricians to alt tech enthusiasts, from community café workers to people involved in setting up social centres in Hamburg and the USA).

We would need to procure equipment for the café and kitchen, and for the office area, most importantly computer, printer and internet access. We already have equipment such as a video projector, over 250 radical films, some catering equipment, a duplicator etc. Full costings are yet to be worked out, but sources of anticipated income include: entry to gigs and associated alcohol sales, café, rental of office space, contributions to meeting space, rental of videos, and many possibilities of additional community funding ( eg. for cultural events, workshops with local youth etc, - the North East is a target area for much ameliorative funding of this sort ).

Contact details:

PO Box 1TA Newcastle NE99 1TA

Joined: 12-02-04
Jun 16 2004 17:13

The meeting about the social centre has changed date and place. sad

It will now be on Tuesday 22 June at 7pm at healthy city project, 14 great north road, newcastle.

Directions: get off at haymarket metro, cross to the church and walk uphill past the civic centre. the terrace with a profusion of bushes and flowers is no.14. if you get to the robinson library, you've gone too far. it only takes 2 minutes from haymarket.

email the day beforehand with any queries or needs. it's an accessible venue with tea and coffee but we've not planned a creche. cry

if you can't make the meeting but wanna get involved, email us, you're one of us.

polly kalo
Joined: 24-06-04
Jun 24 2004 18:24

There's chat about just beginning on the message board at

We haven't decided a name for the SC yet so we're putting up ideas.

Joined: 12-02-04
Jul 6 2004 14:07

This leaflet was recently distributed around Newcastle:


A year from now, 8 world ‘leaders’ will meet in Gleneagles, served by several thousand retainers and a globalised military force whose role is to squash any and all resistance to the new world order, and ensure no alternatives can survive. New laws will be created, restrictions on movement, opinion and gathering together will be brutally enforced, and a vast spying operation will take place, hand in glove with the ever-more-complex net of CCTV, tapped phones and email surveillance of the brave new world. Protesters will be vilified in the media, fake reports of samurai swords and bomb plots will again be launched from MI6 or the Sunday Times, ‘respectable’ organisations with a seat at the rich man’s table will be used to condemn grassroots resistance and a vast, confusing milieu of opposition will be ignored, misrepresented and swept away from the 8 men blithely perpetuating the world’s doom.


On 3rd-4th July, two Newcastle residents took part in the latest national gathering of Dissent! in Bradford. The ‘plots’ and violent acts of terror they discussed there included the following:

• Education packs, CD-Roms and participatory sessions on ‘Global Citizenship’, ‘Media Literacy’ and ‘Climate Change’, and on the role of the G8 in trans-national warfare, the impoverishment of ‘3rd world’ populations and our ever increasing dependency and disempowerment under a system that prevents any possibility of real democracy, stability and peace.

• The creation of a ‘safe space’ near the summit where a convergence of protesters from Scotland and abroad can take place.

• How to work together fairly and equally, avoid disparities of power, make decisions on a large-scale collective basis and act against racism and sexism.

• Skill-sharing sessions on T-shirt printing, theatre, collaborative internet projects etc., to take place across the country between local groups.

• A declaration of solidarity with the many people killed, homes destroyed, environmental devastation and intensification of state control in Athens for the Olympics this August. For example, a new prison is near completion to ‘rehouse’ the drug addicts, Roma, immigrants and political activists who might get in the way during the games.

• The closing down of the G8, as a fundamentally oppressive, violent and unsustainable institution, a powerful promoter of all the evils in this world.

What to Expect in the North East Mr. T

The as-yet-unnamed Social Centre advertised in this ‘Act Locally’ will serve as an info point and space for participation and education in the run up to the G8. There will be talks, debates, film showings and educational activities on the G8 and its alternatives. There will be a weekend day of ‘direct action training’ where people can run through the fears and possibilities of taking part in protest, and some form of transport will be arranged to Scotland. A North East page will appear on in the next month.