Merrywood School in Bristol closed back in September. Despite the huge local opposition, the council expected people to accept its authority in riding roughshod over the local community. But no-one was about to let them get away with it.
The buildings have now been occupied by local community groups, determined to keep it for the community. Various initiatives have been set up, with decisions being made collectively. Amongst the activities are ‘Community Construction', a group of builders, a timber recycling group, and various self-run courses and social activities for children. There are plans for free playschemes to provide childcare for working parents, a young mothers' group for 13-18-year-olds and activities for people with learning difficulties. The idea is to integrate and positively include all sections of the community.
The council had planned to make some quick and easy money from selling the school on to greedy developers to build posh housing on. It is going to be neither quick nor easy to defeat local residents now.