Tag: Barnsley

Up and Coming action from the Freedom Riders

Reminder about what’s happening over next week:

Monday 27th October 11.30am – meet at Sheffield Town Hall to march to the Sheffield offices of the PTE to lobby and present our consultation figures.

Thursday 30th October 11am – Next open meeting for Freedom Riders Barnsley library.

Monday 3rd November 1pm – meet at SYPTE Barnsley office 18 Regent Street to lobby the next Transport Committee meeting – we have agreement that Tony can make a 5 minute presentation to Committee so we want to make sure he has lots of support.

Solidarity with PCS picket lines


Unite Community members today supported the PCS picket lines strengthening our links. We understand the pressures facing staff whilst at the same time supporting our communities suffering from the cruel and unnecessary welfare reforms.

We will have a much greater chance of defeating the ConDem’s austerity policies if we can link the struggles of the unemployed with the struggles of workers. United we are strong!

An example of our joint work here.

Fair pay for the NHS

Across England and Northern Ireland today, NHS workers took to the picket lines for the first time in 30 years to demand fair NHS pay

KendrayPicket_01_LoUnite Community members showing solidarity on the picket line at Kendray Hospital in Barnsley.

 Given the feedback from our members, we are confident that this was a very well-supported action with over 100 picket line protests outside NHS hospitals up and down the country. NHS workers were especially thankful for all the messages of support they’ve been receiving from the public.

We urge Jeremy Hunt to heed his responsibility to the NHS workforce and patients and to start talking with the unions to discuss fair pay for this vital staff who would rather be caring for patients than having to fight their own poverty.

Health professionals are especially concerned that the health secretary implies that fair wages for them mean job losses, but he does nothing to curb pay excess by corporate chief executives or the horrific £3 billion cost of this government’s useless reorganisation of the NHS.

The health unions are calling for the government not to impose limits on what can be achieved for this essential workforce, but to come to the table prepared to negotiate in a meaningful way.

Today general secretary Len McCluskey visited Unite members on strike picket at St Thomas’ Hospital. He said that we should send a message to this government and the political elite that NHS workers should no longer be treated as second class citizens.

Here are a few photos from today’s action (below).

Unite Community Library

You can now view the books that we have available in our radical community library in the new tab on the menu bar above.

A big thanks to everyone who has donated books so far. If you can donate any books, please contact us.

Unite suspends local government strike action to consult on ‘improved’ pay offer

Britain’s largest union, Unite announced today (Thursday 9 October) that strike action planned for next Tuesday (14 October) by local government workers was being suspended to allow for a new improved proposal to be put to members.

The offer, which sees thousands of the lowest paid getting pay rise of up to £1,065 a year from 1 January 2015, will be put to members in a consultative ballot.

It follows a one day stoppage earlier in the year on 10 July which saw hundreds and thousands of local government workers walk out across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Unite has about 80,000 members in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, maintenance of council property, traffic enforcement, school support and care services, and grave digging.

Commenting, Unite national officer Fiona Farmer said: “This new improved offer would not have been achieved without the resolve of our members who stood together to force the employers back around the negotiating table.

“We believe the offer is the best achievable by negotiation, but local government employers and the government should be under no illusions that we will continue to campaign against poverty pay in local government.

“Industrial action is now suspended while members are consulted on whether to accept the new offer.”


British Red Cross, Refugee Support, Barnsley – NEW VENUE

The British Red cross is running both Refugee Advice drop-in and Orientation Group in Barnsley. Downloadable flyers can be found below. Please note that the dates and times of both projects remain the same but the venues have changed.

If you have clients that may need to access the British Red Cross, please first signpost them to register at the Advice drop-in on Wednesday as the Orientation group is limited by the capacity of new members that can be registered per term.

We would be grateful if you could circulate this information amongst your contacts.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Lucy Simmonds on 07834 788569 or 0114 242 7370 (reception) if you would like to discuss further.

Click to view: Flyers 2.2 Barnsley drop-ins 25092014

Freedom Ride Consultation

George Arthur describes the next move for the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders

GeorgeArthur_LoResThe Freedom Ride open meeting last Thursday saw lots of us coming together and planning our next activities.

We agreed to organise our own consultation about train travel and will be meeting at Barnsley Bus Station at 10.30am this Wednesday morning, to set up our consultation tables with our own consultation sheets and boxes to put completed forms in, which we will hand to the Transport Committee. A copy of the sheet is available for download below. Please use it with friends and neighbours if you can and return at our next meeting or event.

The Sheffield Freedom Riders will be using this at Sheffield bus and train stations. Perhaps Doncaster and Rotherham will be able to do this as well?

We want to make this consultation as large as possible. If we get sheets which show people disagreeing with us that is all part of the democratic process we want to show SYPTE.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 16th at 11am in the Council Chamber in Barnsley Town Hall! It will be an excellent meeting place for us I hope we can more that fill the chamber to discuss what we have done and to discuss our next plans.

I was invited to speak about our campaign to the North Staffs Pensioners Convention in Stoke on Saturday. They were very impressed with what we have done and have sent their congratulations to us. I hope that we will keep good links with this group who are very active themselves. One of them told me about how they ‘hijacked’ a bus to advertise one of their campaigns!

Hope to see you Wednesday 8th at Barnsley bus station. We are planning to repeat the consultation on other days, most probably on Friday at 10.30am.

Download the survey here: Consultation document

A helping hand in desperate times

The Gateway Food Bank in Barnsley Centre is an oasis of caring support for those in need

FoodBank1Gateway Food Bank Voluntary Co-ordinator Janet Crownshaw, with volunteer Linda.

Tucked away on Mottram Street just behind Barnsley Interchange, is an unassuming brick building at the end of a row of old terrace houses, called Mottram Hall. It is the kind of place that you don’t really notice in passing.

This is the home of the Gateway Church, where as welfare cuts began to bite, the first food bank in Barnsley town centre was opened in early 2013. Janet Crownshaw, a Gateway Church partner and voluntary co-ordinator explains, “after attending a conference in Barnsley on poverty in 2012, we realised a food bank needed to be organised as soon as possible, to help the people of Barnsley who were in crisis situations.

“A group met at Gateway Church and formed a team to begin to get a food bank up and running. We not only needed food but somewhere to store it and volunteers to sort it and do the admin work. We also needed donations and to create links with agencies to be referral partners. Once all of this was in place, we opened the food bank in April 2013.”

Shocking figures supplied by the Trussell Trust show that food bank use has risen sharply since 2011, when 128,697 people were supplied with food parcels, rising to 913,138 in 2013-14 (1). Although the government claims that there is no evidence of a link between welfare reform and the increase in the use of food banks, 83% of food banks reported that benefits sanctions had resulted in more people being referred for emergency food (2). A report for Defra, which remains unpublished, confirms this (3).

Last year, the Gateway Food Bank fed 2,013 people. So far this year 1,335 have received food parcels. Each food parcel provides three days of food, clients are allowed three vouchers per year and are referred by partner organisations to people who are assessed to be in a crisis situation, such as those who have fallen prey to job loss, homelessness, benefit cuts or are in a situation of emotional vulnerability.

FoodBank2Volunteer Dawn in the store room.

FoodBank3Gill helps to sort donations.

Janet said, “we offer a hand-up not hand-outs. We are able to help with food parcels, to be a listening ear and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. We are not trained counsellors but are able to sign-post clients who are in need to services that can help.”

The Gateway Food Bank is an independent, community project and not part of the Trussell Trust. As with many community driven projects, funding is in short supply and donations are always welcome.

“We never turn down any offer of help” said Janet. “We have received great help and support from local schools, colleges, supermarkets, hospitals, Berneslei Homes, local churches, charities and the people of Barnsley.

“Even some of our clients have offered to help, wanting to give something back when they were helped in times of need.”

Suggestions for donations are food items such as cereals, tea and coffee, powdered and long-life milk, sugar, biscuits, bottles sauces, tinned food such as fish, meat, beans, vegetables, tomatoes, pasta and fruit, desserts and dried packed foods.

The food bank has its own bank account too, so donations of money can also be given to not only help to replenish food stocks, but also help to buy vital equipment such as shelving. Donations can be taken to the food bank on Sundays after 3.30pm or on Thursdays between 11.00am and 1.00pm.

As for the future of the food bank, Janet is resigned, “as austerity continues and we expect further cuts in Barnsley next year. We foresee that demand will continue for us to provide food for those in crisis. We have also identified that people need support for ‘emotional needs’ to be addressed. We hope to continue Gateway Food Bank for as long as there is a need.”

More information can be found at the Gateway Food Bank website here.

FoodBank4Janet, Dave, Linda and Pastor Mark Reasbeck.


(1) The Trussell Trust

(2) BBC News: Food banks see ‘shocking’ rise in number of users. 16 April 2014

(3) The Guardian: Families turn to food banks as last resort ‘not because they are free’. 20 February 2014

Britain needs a pay rise


Britain’s on the mend? Then why are one in five working families struggling to afford life’s most basic necessities, like food, a home and even new shoes for the kids?

Life for millions of people in austerity Britain is as bad as it’s ever been. Low pay, insecure jobs, rising costs and cuts to support for the most vulnerable is causing misery. Thanks to Mr Cameron’s government only the rich are getting richer in Britain today.

Unite Community members have been busy publicising the event by leafleting at Northern General Hospital and with banners in Sheffield and Barnsley.

Join us on Saturday 18 October to tell this government that Britain needs a pay rise, jobs, homes, health and hope. Visit the link here.

Free coach travel to the demo. Contact the centre or email Joe.

Unite Community donations to food kitchen

Foodbank 1

Unite Community members have donated food to a Barnsley kitchen for people living in poverty, a large number of who are homeless. The charity cooks over 350 hot meals every week. A sad reflection of Tory Britain.