In May 2017 we discovered through a facebook post that property developers had put in an offer to buy the building at 5 – 9 Surrey street to demolish the building and bring forward a development of luxury apartments with a significantly reduced commercial, community and cultural offering.
When we originally found out, Saif wrote an article for the Croydon Citizen which highlighted the situation we were faced with and explained why we would not run a Save Matthews Yard campaign. Yet here we are, nearly 6 months later doing exactly that. Why?
At the time, we were confident that we already had the attention and backing of the right people in the right places to ensure regeneration in Croydon was done differently and that the precious things we hold dear are preserved. We have been in discussions with Croydon council and the Greater London Authority and while both have been supportive of Matthews Yard and sympathetic to the situation we are faced with, we are still no closer to a firm commitment of anything other than verbal support. As time passes, we have become increasingly concerned that some key influencers are apathetic to the needs of the community and blindly supportive of demolition plans which will not only destroy what we have worked so hard to create, but will cause significant disruption to local businesses and residents in the process. Because of this risk we launched the #SaveMatthewsYard campaign to preserve MY for the benefit of future generations.
In June we published our Impact Report. It quantifies the contribution MatthewsYard has made to Croydon’s cultural, entrepreneurial and creative community over the years. In the report we made public our intention to pursue conversion to Community Interest Company status. As a CIC Matthews Yard becomes eligible for additional support and protection which it cannot obtain as a for profit company. As a CIC all our assets and 100% of profits will be locked into meeting our community objectives.
To help generate awareness of our plight and to demonstrate our popularity to decision makers we launched a petition on change.org a few weeks ago. We now have almost 3,000 signatures and have been featured on ITV news and had words of support and encouragement from hundreds of local people and organisations, including some amazing video testimonials. Thank you all for your time, energy and support so far. We still have a long way to go, but with your support, we are confident a solution can be found.
If you would like to make a financial contribution to our campaign you can make a donation here. Donations will be used to help cover the costs associated with conversion to CIC status and to help keep the community theatre, gallery and our events space operational while the cloud of uncertainty hangs over us.
If you want to get involved in the #SaveMatthewsYard campaign and have ideas or suggestions on how you can help, then please get in touch with us.