Monthly Archives: August 2014

Unite Community Support Centres in the news

Our sister centre in Barnsley has been featured in an article in the Guardian praising the work Unite Community is doing to support former mining communities and wider in support of those suffering at the hands of this coalition government

Joe Rollin, Unite member

Quoting Joe Rollin, the Unite Community Coordinater for the region, the article highlights the importance of what we are trying to achieve:

Blending practical support, on issues ranging from welfare cuts to housing, with often radical direct-action campaigns, the union has attracted 7,000 members spread across 70 local groups in the past 24 months.

“It is about reaching out to people who might not even know what a trade union is and making it relevant to them and the struggles they are facing in their own community,” said Joe Rollin, as Unite community volunteers offer advice and support to a steady stream of Barnsley’s unemployed going into Scargill’s old office.

“We are saying the union is not an exclusive club. If you find yourself out of work we can’t be saying ‘oh sorry we haven’t got a place for you any more’. It is about that duty to our members and crucially bridging the gap that this government is trying to create between people in work and the unemployed.”

Read the full article at: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/27/arthur-scargill-num-unite-trade-union-barnsley

Durham Free Software Skill Share Project

DFS3 logo Unite Community have teamed up with members of the North East Linux User Group for a new project which aims to help people with low incomes get access to computer equipment in their homes.

DFS3e The Durham Free Software Skill Share (DFS3) project aims to demonstrate how old computer equipment can be brought back to life with entirely free software, known as Free Open Source Software (FOSS), entirely avoiding the need to use expensive software from Microsoft or Apple.

The idea for the project came from Mark, a Unite member, who said “If we can connect people with unused computers to the people who need them, and give people the skills to take control of their own computing, then we can begin in a small way to set people free from the cycle of destructive consumerism and wage labour”

DFS3b After an initial meeting to discuss Mark’s idea a couple of old computers were donated by Unite Learning Organiser Mick Simpson to try out the software. Both these computers were no longer capable of running Microsoft Windows and were simply sitting in a corner gathering dust. Mark and Barry, also from the Linux User Group, demonstrated how easily a free Linux operating system and software could be installed, and both computers are now fully functional and available for use in the Durham Unite Community Support Centre.

DFS3g Plans were then put in place for an initial public event for DFS3 on the 26th July at the Community Support Centre. Around a dozen people attended, with Mark and Barry joined by other Linux users Dan and Wilf to support the event.

Mark opened proceedings with an overview of the day and a brief description of the differences between free and proprietary software. The rest of the morning involved Dan giving a ‘live’ demonstration of converting a computer from Windows XP to a Linux Mint Operating System and how the various applications operate.

Workshop sessions followed lunch with one group installing Mint on a notebook computer, Barry and Dan leading a group looking at photo editing and creativity whilst a third group discussed safe use and online security.

DFS3i Everyone agreed the day was an unqualified success and shared a determination to build on a solid foundation.

DFS3 is dedicated to promoting socially and environmentally responsible use of technology and fair access to an open internet. Through the project, we hope to be able to make IT equipment available to those who would not otherwise be able to afford it, as well as introduce open-source software to anyone who is sick of having to upgrade their computer every few years because it has slowed to a standstill and wants an alternative, which Linux can provide.

DFS3j

We will shortly be advertising more sessions of the project.
If you have any old desktop or laptop computers which you want to breathe new life into, or would prefer to donate to the project instead of disposing of them, then please contact the Durham Unite Community Support Centre. Any computers we receive will be completely wiped of all old data, so you can be certain that any personal information stored on them will not be accessible to others.

To find out more about the project, have a look at their website at https://network23.org/dfs3

DFS3d

Welfare training at Red Hills

w3 Durham Unite Community have hosted two days of Welfare rights training for our Activists this week at our Unite Community Center in Red Hills

The Durham Welfare Rights team delivered the course and coverd ESA on the first day and PIP on the second. Can we take this opportunity to thank the Durham Welfare Rights Team for their efforts and we look forward to our continued joint work in the future contact the team
herehttp://www.durham.gov.uk/pages/providerdetails.aspx?ProviderId=10539

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Unite Community continues to offer practical support to our communities suffering under the Con – Dems cruel and unnecessary welfare reforms whilst at the same time organizing protest an direct action! a winning combination.

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Gamekeepers turned poachers

Demonstration against benefit cuts, Durham A trio of former DWP staff disgusted by the coalition governments treatment of the unemployed, with sanctions reaching record levels for the most spurious of reasons, have taken the brave decision to stand up for what they believe is right and dedicate their time to helping people to fight back against the draconion policies of the DWP.

WOrking from home, they have set up a website giving tips on how to fight against sanctions and will help to prepare appeals against decisions.

http://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/tips-to-help-prevent-sanctions/

Their initiative has quickly gained the support of others who are dealing with the fallout from this governments policies.

http://welfarenewsservice.com/former-dwp-staff-set-website-help-wrongly-sanctioned-jobseekers/

If anyone needs reminding of why what they are doing is important, this excellent new article from the Guardian looks at the tragic effect of sanctions on thos eunlucky enough to be caught in the trap:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/03/victims-britains-harsh-welfare-sanctions

Unite Community fully supports the work they will be doing and hope that their knowledge, along with our own advice on sanctions will help the thousands of people unjustly sanctioned fight back and get unfair decisions overturned.