Latest News From UK Groups
A big thank you to everyone who came to our annual Activists & Local Groups' Day on 1st July and helped make it such a success. In addition, this month, we're pleased to bring you the following feature about the great work of the Swindon Equality Group (thanks to Tom Wilkes for this) as they engage with their local business community:
In Focus: Swindon Equality Group. Tom Wilkes from the group writes: On Thursday June 29th we had a stand at the Swindon Business Show. Our 'pitch' was from an ethical business or corporate social responsibility (CSR) standpoint and our stand included banners (and helpers) from our own group, Voluntary Action Swindon and BITC.
We prepared a folder of materials that covered local charities, information about how businesses could work with a wide range of organisations and people (e.g. schools/colleges, ex-offenders and those with disabilities) together with information about pay from the Living Wage, Pay Compare and Fair Tax campaigns. We also promoted The Equality Trust Manifesto for a Fairer Society as well as a survey to discover what local organisations were doing in relation to CSR at the moment.
Our message was received sympathetically, however the displays and visitors to the show were from the South West, from support functions and there were also many 'soletrepeneurs'. This meant that there were not as many Swindon businesses as we had anticipated but we do have a follow up meeting with the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and have made contact with a group who runs the local business awards. We aim to influence the criteria for the community section.
The experience was much more positive that we had anticipated and we will explore the possibility of giving a presentation at the 2018 show. In other news we have submitted our third article on pay to the local LINK magazine and will be producing articles on housing for the September and October editions.
Tom Wilkes for the Swindon Equality Group.
New Groups: We are currently advising potential new start up groups in North Wales, Rhyl, Durham, Shrewsbury, Thanet, Woking and South East London. If you live in these areas and want to get involved, please contact Bill Kerry for further details.
General Election 2017: The early part of the month saw our affiliated local groups, and our supporters more generally, promoting our Manifesto for a Fairer Society in the run up to the general election and we would like to thank everyone for their efforts. We had a good response from candidates and are well set for the new parliament in terms of sympathetic MPs to work with across the parties.
Group News: Starting in the capital for a change, My Fair London have had a busy month the highlight of which was the excellent event about the state of inequality and the current debate in the Trump era. It wasn't as a depressing as you might think as our post-event blog summarised. Over to the east, the Cambridge Commons group continues to work on its ambitious speaker programme Imagine 2027 with talks being organised for the autumn months. A key concern for the group is to ensure engagement with those whose voice is not often heard in debates but are likely to be the most affected by inequality and poverty.
On the other side of the country, the new Dorset Equality Group is gearing up for its formal launch on Monday 10th July with a free screening of The Divide documentary at the Bournemouth University Festival of Learning. A bit further north, the North Somerset group has been planning its Living Wage campaign and has been engaging with local community groups, the local Trades Council and the Chamber of Commerce. One idea is to sponsor an annual award for best local employer and another suggestion is to have a local survey of employers about the Living Wage.
Just over the border, the South Wales group is having a planning meeting on 4th July to take stock of recent political developments and the Grenfell Tower tragedy, all in the context of the great inequality we have endured and tolerated for too long. And finally, in Oswestry, the local group is also preparing for a screening of The Divide documentary on 5th July.
New Groups: We are currently advising potential new start up groups in Rhyl, Durham, Shrewsbury and South East London. If you live in these areas and want to get involved, please contact Bill Kerry for further details.