Activists Gain Practical Skills to be the Voice of Our Campaigns

The main chamber of the Durham Miners’ Association HQ at Red Hills was the prestigious venue for the Public Speaking Course (Level 1). This was attended by 14 activists, which included Unite Community Activists, Branch Officers and Union Learning Reps.

The two-day course was held on the 19th and 26th November. The first day of the course focused on the theory behind speaking in public. The activists used this knowledge to prepare their own speeches, which were delivered and filmed on the second day of the course. Activists gained important new practical skills and confidence which they intend to use to lead their own campaigns in the workplace and in the community. These include campaigns on benefits attacks, lifelong learning, the impact of austerity on women and Unite Community being the catalyst for trade union growth.

Public Speaking Course 1

Dave Hopper, DMA General Secretary, gave up his time to speak to activists attending the course. He inspired the activists with words of advice, gained from his own considerable experience of speaking in front of 100,000 strong audiences at the annual Durham Miners Gala, over many years.

‘’I think the course was very useful in building confidence and helping with campaigning. Listening to the speeches and the subsequent analysis did help a lot to show where and how improvements could be made. Everyone put a lot into the course, tutors and students’’. John Kelly (Durham GEO/29 Branch)

‘’Thought the course was very good in relation to preparing and presenting a speech , good examples used on video and was done in a very supportive positive manner. I have only been involved a year with campaigning and felt that my peers of union reps were very supportive too. Think my speech making will continue to improve as a result. Thank you for the time and effort that went into building this and look forward to follow up’’. Community Activist Maria Nelson

Public speaking course 2

If you want to gain practical skills in courses such as Public Speaking, Graphic Design or a New Media please contact David Condliffe on 0779 111 3806 or email


Reports of the opening event

An excellent report of the Grand Opening is now on the Unite Website

Educate, Agitate, Organise – Grand Opening of the Durham Community Support Centre

And an extended report, with additional pictures is available on Mark Metcalf’s excellent Fighting Talk blog

Blacklisting day of action

Protests led by Unite, UCATT, GMB and the TUC have been held across the country today as part of the Blacklisting Day of Action.

The day was a great success, although unfortunately a protestor was injured as a result of heavy handed security at the Robert McAlpine office in Leeds.

UCATT have issued their thanks to those who attended the Leeds protest through the following message, which also has links to some great photos of the action, and a statement on the assault on a protestor.

On behalf of UCATT,  can I thank you and the other trade union members who supported the protest against blacklisting outside the Robert McAlpine office in Leeds. Could I please make a special mention for PCS who were kind enough to make hot drinks for us all in addition to joining us on our picket line.  They also offered the use of their facilities,  but this then led to the incident detailed in our press release link attached.

 Photos here

 Thanks once again for your support.


Community Centre Grand Opening

The new Durham Community Support Centre Grand Opening event on the 15th November was a huge success, with well over a hundred representatives of a wide range of local organisations in attendance.

As well as being shown the facilities which the centre has to offer, attendees were able to meet the volunteers and discuss how their organisations could support the centre, and how the work of the centre could be help support their own services.

A small  number of excellent speakers outlined the importance of the centre to the Durham Community, and what they hoped could be achieved through the centre.

All agreed that the day was an excellent start from the centre and pledged to do everything they could to ensure it was a success, and is able to offer a valuable and desperately needed service to the people of County Durham.

Demonstration at Parliament against the Bedroom Tax & New Factsheets

Campaigners from across the country came together to protest against the hated bedroom tax on Tuesday of this week.

Unfortunately, the motion to scrap the tax was narrowly defeated, but the campaign goes on and the Durham Centre will help anyone who finds themselves in rent arrears as a rsult of this unfair tax.

Unite Community have also produced two new facsheets to ensure you are aware of your legal rights: