Latest News From UK Groups
This is the last local groups bulletin for 2018. The next one will be at the end of January 2019 covering both December and January.
Starting this month in Bristol, the local group reports a very successful talk by Professor Richard Wilkinson on The Inner Level to a packed audience at the city’s Festival of Ideas. The group was also able to celebrate the fact that Bristol city council has become an accredited real Living Wage employer, together with the University of Bristol, goals long campaigned for by the group together with others in the city. The group has now turned its attention to the University of West England urging them to follow suit.
Not far away in Dorset the local group is cementing links with WePAW (Weymouth and Portland Action on Wages) and the group are continuing to ask the Fairness Fifteen questions of their local authorities. Members are also exploring a possible electoral intervention using the Frome Flatpack Democracy method as a model. The group also had a letter published in the Guardian (16/11/18) about the UN Special Rapporteur's visit to the UK which highlighted rural and coastal poverty.
Moving eastwards, My Fair London are also advocating the Fairness Fifteen to councils across the capital (and replies are beginning to come back) and have been invited to give evidence to hearings on the Mayor's strategic plan for London. The group is also updating its publications list and continues to develop their speaker programme as well as making contacts with like-minded groups.
Further east still, the Cambridge Commons report increasing interest and support for their work in the city (one of the most unequal in the UK) and they are growing their activities and digital presence accordingly. Just some of the projects being undertaken at the moment include an education project, a ‘Farm to Table’ project, and an Inequality Fund project which is being developed with the Cambridge Hub (a student-led group). In addition, the first stage of a research project developed with UNISON is reaching completion and the Conversations project now has four defined approaches on how to collect and disseminate "life histories" on inequality, and the conversations are underway.
And finally, much further north, My Fair Edinburgh confirm that the Inner Level launch events with Profs Wilkinson and Pickett, in Glasgow and Edinburgh at the end of October, were hugely successful and packed out. The group is also working with the Active Inquiry drama group which is putting together a production highlighting the impact of 'gentrification' on local communities, specifically with reference to Leith. And the group has supported the Living Rent group to shame a local estate agency into withdrawing excessive and non-negotiable fees charged to tenants. This involved holding a peaceful vigil outside their offices to highlight the issue. A simple example of the impact of shining a light on an issue of unfairness. It’s emboldened them for bigger & better things.
We are currently advising a potential start-up group in Glasgow off the back of the recent Inner Level event, so If you live in or around Glasgow and want to get involved, just email Bill Kerry at email@example.com – thank you.
Starting this month in Hampshire, the local group continues to plan towards Professor Richard Wilkinson’s visit on 5th December, to talk about The Inner Level, and things are shaping up nicely by all accounts. Similarly, at the other end of the UK, My Fair Edinburgh has been ably supporting the organisation of two packed Inner Level events (with both Profs Wilkinson and Pickett) in Glasgow and Edinburgh which are about to happen as we go to press (STOP PRESS – both events very successful!).
Meanwhile, in the capital, My Fair London report a successful event with Professor Danny Dorling who outlined his “peak inequality” thesis. The group are now planning future speaker events as well as continuing with their borough-level campaigns using The Equality Trust’s Fairness Fifteen local manifesto and planning their activities for next year, including the development of a manifesto ahead of the next Mayoral election in 2020.
In Stoke & Staffs, the local equality alliance is planning towards its next meeting in November which will focus on producing a local charter based on shared aims and values. A key concern will be to include a wide diversity of voices from across the alliance and the community, especially those voices that are typically less heard.
Down in Dorset, the local group hosted a screening of The Divide documentary in Dorchester and report the beginnings of a supporter base in mid/west Dorset. There is also an ongoing conversation with Dorset County Council around the Fairness Fifteen manifesto and a recent conference with Professor Danny Dorling and others in Weymouth. This addressed the fact that Portland/Weymouth is now acknowledged to have the lowest average wage in the UK which makes Dorset a true microcosm of the wider, massive UK economic divide.
Over to the east, the Cambridge group is pursuing a group of local projects supported by regular monthly ‘Meetups’, social events where supporters new and old are invited to register interest in assisting specific projects. The group also held its AGM where many new people were elected before hearing a talk by Robert Porrer on the interface between school and work and the challenges faced by disadvantaged students. The group also took part in the large Volunteers’ Fair on Saturday 20th, which was a good opportunity to spread the equality message and recruit further support.
And finally, in Oswestry, the local group has re-branded as ‘Equality Oswestry’ and has adopted the tagline of Supporting Equality and Diversity as it seeks to grow in the town.