EDUCATE, AGITATE, ORGANISE.
The grand opening of a Unite/National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) community centre in Barnsley last Friday was marked with a big turnout and glorious weather. However, grim times ahead meant the celebrations were muted as plenty of Barnsley folk are going to require the welfare advice services it will provide.
The NUM has provided the building and Unite the staff, courtesy of community volunteer activists, including life-long trade unionist and retired professional benefits adviser Richard Vivian who said: “I am happy to help local people and Unite in these difficult times. We are already receiving referrals from advice organisations locally.”
Centre users will also be able to access the Unite Learn computer training courses, starting from online basics through to ICT level 3. Professional advice will provide valuable back up. Unite’s mobile learning units are additionally looking to offer community groups literacy and numeracy courses.
By reconnecting the community with trade unions the centre will also give users a chance to collectively resist government attacks on such as the NHS, as well as welfare benefits cuts that include the bedroom tax and DLA. “How to build a campaign, design publicity, speak publicly and media work are part of our community activist training aimed at building solidarity between those in and out of work,” said Joe Rollin, Unite’s community coordinator for the north east.
NUM Headquarters, 2 Huddersfield Road, Barnsley S70 2LS
Opening times: 10am to 3pm Wednesdays and Thursdays