The PAD (People’s Autonomous Destination), Cardiff

“I’ve only been a few times to Pad but it fills me with excitement as this area of Cardiff is lacking a sense of community and Pad is the antithesis of this. I am looking forward to seeing what I can share and what I can learn from the random bunch of people sitting on Pad’s eclectic furniture.”

“P for PAD, P for Patience, P for perse-fucking-verance.

After our initial flurry of activity in the autumn and winter of 2005 we remained a group but found ourselves slipping into a repetitive pattern of meeting after meeting with the same agenda – website, money and building. We dwindled in numbers but eventually got ourselves a space in the spring of 2007. Perseverance paid off. And we paid – too much, but better to spend money on somewhere rather than nothing. Next, the lesson of patience. I wanted people to come flooding out of the proverbial wood work. Instead they seeped. But every drop adds something and the space we made was used more and more and the tide was rising. We noticed one day, when we were wondering whether we could continue to justify our rent, if enough people came through our door. We looked around us and saw how much growth had happened. The seed we planted two years ago, watered by energy and enthusiasm, and friends and strangers, is still going, still growing.

Here’s what people have said about us:

“Well what can in say. Yummy food, nice people. Since getting involved with the PAD I’ve become more empowered, more motivated and more ready to Fuck the system. Lots of Fun.”

“Once upon a time I was walking back home and I found a copy of Gagged (a South Wales anarchist newsletter) on the floor in my street. After reading it I went on to the internet to check the website links that appeared on it. I checked where the social centre was and realized it was just in my own street!! I’d passed by it so many times but thought it was something private. As I was an activist in the Basque country and I knew about how social centres work in Britain (I was involved in ACE in Edinburgh before) I immediately joined it in it’s different activities. It has been an amazing experience until now and I feel I am growing personally as well as politically, fucking loads. Long live the PAD!”

“Not bad – ain’t been kicked out yet.”

“It was cool getting the new pad together…best converted butchers I’ve ever seen.”

“Nice to be somewhere that doesn’t rely on government or local council funding leading to bureaurocracy, red tape, conditions, excess health and safety regs and the hiring of ‘well meaning’ paid community workers with an agenda of their own.”

“We always said PAD was a way of working together or a concept rather than a physical space, hence the name “people’s autonomous destination”.

“It’s an idea that’s constantly changing and developing and I think that’s why it’s exciting to be a part of it. Over the past couple of years the PAD has manifested itself in squats, in a Quaker meeting house, on Cardiff’s main high street and now exists more permanently in a rented space that used to be a butchers. Although the physical space we’re in seems to change, the PAD is always somewhere people can come together to plot, create, debate, learn, share, cry, laugh and dream for a world free from corporate or governmental control.”

“The PAD – grannies, vegan fry ups, meetings, gas bottles, meetings, tea and coffee, dogs, anarchist politics, meetings, posh nosh, organic whole foods, meetings, local kids, meetings, friends, principles, values, fun.”

The PAD is at 118 Clifton Street, Cardiff. See their website at http://thepad.wordpress.com/

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