OCCUPY Sheffield protesters say they have no intention of leaving the cathedral forecourt – despite a call from a senior clergyman urging them to move on.
The Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Rev Peter Bradley, used his Sunday sermon to tell camp members they had ‘made their point’ and were ‘taking advantage of the good nature of the Church of England’.
He added that the camp was deterring groups from renting space for events, cutting vital income, and wasting the time of church officials who were having to deal with a range of issues.
But camp spokeswoman Lesley said she could not see how the cathedral’s activities were being affected as the camp was just in a corner of the forecourt – and they had already moved their location once after consulting with officials.
“We said if there were problems we would move and we did. If we are affecting the cathedral’s activities, we need to know how,” she said.
“The cathedral does fantastic work with the Archer Project and we know there were initial concerns that their clients, the homeless and street drinkers, would somehow become part of our community. That hasn’t happened.
“But we have been becoming aware of the parallel culture that exists in this city in terms of the needy and it has been a steep learning curve for us.”
Camp member Andy said: ”We do understand the Dean’s dilemma as his concern is the smooth running of the cathedral, but we have no plans to leave at the moment.
“We intend to continue to hold regular meetings with the cathedral management – but the fact is that it was probably inevitable we chose this place for the camp.
“We also considered the Peace Gardens and Devonshire Green but they were totally inappropriate.
“We are still attracting support from a tremendously wide range of people.
“Not everyone here believes capitalism is not the answer – some just want it to be better regulated.
“We have 10 to 15 people here every night and up to 40 in the day and expect that to continue.