Monthly Archives: July 2015

County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank

The Clothing Bank will be open next Tuesday at Brandon Welfare Hall from 12-2. We are having a summer raffle, prizes include a Barbour jacket, your choice from any of our prom dresses/suits,  food hampers and many others. You can also enter our name the Teddy competition (the lucky winner gets to take Teddy home with them) and guess the number of sweeties in a jar. Here’s a pic of Teddy covering his ears while the fire alarm was going off last time we opened (false alarm fortunately!)

Teddy 1

After that much excitement it was no wonder Teddy needed a kip in the storage container!

Teddy 2Following next Tuesday’s opening, the Clothing Bank will be taking a break and re-opens on 25 August. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody  involved for their help in making the Clothing Bank such a success. We could not have done it without you.We have come a long way from Dawn and Cath’s initial idea of “giving out a few clothes” Our experiences have shown that there is a real need for projects like the Clothing Bank, the continuing war being waged by this Government on the poor, the sick and the disabled means that things are not going to get better any time soon. Equally so, we have discovered that there are many people out there who are good, kind and compassionate and who care about those in or society who need a helping hand.



Durham Miners Gala

Great report from Mark Metcalf published in Unite Live

read it here

Busy Weekend For Durham Activists

My feet are killing me, I’ve got a sunburned nose and I’ve discovered muscles in places I never knew I had places! But what a weekend for Durham Unite Community and The County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank.  It started on Friday with the Big Collection Before The Big Meeting event in Durham Market Place. The weather gods smiled on us and bright sunshine was the order of the day.

Durham 3

This was a joint initiative with County Durham Food Banks. The response was fantastic. Many people came to talk to us and all were supportive. The collection bins for the Clothing Bank soon filled up with much needed toiletries, socks and underwear, while the food bank collectors were receiving a steady stream of  donations.

Durham 1

Amongst the visitors to our stall were a couple from Croydon who had spent a week in Durham. They told me that they were involved with a local food bank where they live. “Politicians don’t care” they said to me “they never get out on the streets and see what it is really like.”  The participants in  the Unite Political School that was taking place in Durham also came to help out- and brought with them a cash donation of almost £300. Thank you so much.

Durham 6 Durham 5

Thanks to all who helped out on the day, including comrades from Newcastle and Sunderland Unite Community branches. It was a brilliant day. You can read the local media coverage here

Durham 4

Then came Saturday and The Durham Miners Gala. Early start for Unite activists as we assembled at 8.30 and prepared to make our way across Durham.  After a small hiccup over the whereabouts of the Durham Unite Community banner we were ready to go. It was another gloriously sunny day- and the crowds came out in record numbers. Official figures say 150,000 people were in Durham.

Durham 9

It was slow progress across Durham. Four hours later we made it to the Race Course but it was worth it. I was very proud to be able to carry the Durham Unite Community banner ( man, that thing’s heavy!) and the snail like pace gave us a chance to make new friends and chat to our fellow Unite members both from the Community and Industrial branches

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The speeches from the invited guests were great, especially Jeremy Corbyn who set out his vision for the Labour party should he be elected as leader; Matt Wrack of the FBU (Fire Brigades Union)  talked of his anger and sadness that on the day after the 10th anniversary of the London bombings, where his members were praised for their dedication and courage, the Governmemt imposed further cuts on the fire service.

.Durham 12 al

If you have never visited The Durham Miners’ Gala, please take time to do it. It is a special day- a unique piece of social history. It is not nostalgia- fixing the past as some glorious golden era, nor is it sentimental- tears are the only guide to the truth. It is about memory and identity. Mining gave the north east a pride and an identity and this is what the Gala celebrates. It takes place every year on the second Saturday of July.

Finally, after a hard day in the sunshine, a very slow walk across Durham I have huge sympathy for, and empathy with, this little guy. See you all next year!

Durham 7

Big Meeting After Party

From our friends at The People’s Bookshop

Unite Community members are very welcome to join us on Sunday (July 12th) in Vennels Courtyard we are hosting the very first ‘Durham Big Meeting After Party’ with The Kets + Dennis + The Ree-Vahs! + Chloe Lawton + Joe Solo, all for the bargain price of a fiver. The Kets will be launching the debut CD ‘Overlooked and Underused’.

Tickets are available from The Peoples Bookshop or online at using paypal. There are only 50 tickets available and they are selling fast so if you do want to go I suggest you make sure and bag yourself a ticket sharpish.

E flyer attached.

Hope to see you on Sunday.


Miners Gala Fringe Event

All welcome on Friday 10th at this Campaign For Trade Union Freedom event.

Speakers include John Hendy QC and Owen Jones. More information on the attached link

CTUF Durham Flyer 2015

Durham Miners’ Gala Events

From The Friends Of The Durham Miners Gala. Do come along if you can.

I thought you might like to know about the various educational, cultural and political events taking place in the run up to and on the weekend of this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala.

Starting on Tuesday 7th July, there are a series of activities at the Miners’ Hall, Redhill, including two film showings, a workshop on banner making and talks about the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign and the blacklisting of union activists. Please find the full programme here.

I’d also like to draw your attention to the collection for County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank and the Durham Foodbank, organised by Durham Community Support Centre, taking place from 10am – 3pm in the Marketplace on Friday 10th July. Please see here for details of items needed.

Then after the Gala, at 1pm on Sunday 12th July, there is the first ‘Durham Moot’ at Palace Green Library which will discuss ideas such as community, culture and democracy with contributers including Heather Wood and Owen Jones. See the full programme and book your place here.

Finally, on Sunday evening, there is the first ever ‘Big Meeting After Party’ featuring great live music from a number of local artists, hosted by the People’s Bookshop, Durham. You can find all the details and get your ticket here.

Best wishes,


Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala