Tagged: clothing bank

Anarchists and socialists in Middlesbrough claim building occupation was a success

Activists who occupied a well-known Trade Union building are claiming the direct action was a success.

 A dozen members of the Teesside Anarchist Network, Teesside Solidarity and various individuals occupied the Trade Union-owned Cleveland Trade Unionists and Unemployed Workers Centre on Marton Road, Middlesbrough on Friday.

The activists said the building was neglected and dilapidated and should be renovated and put to good use for various activities like a clothing bank, advice centre, creche and bookshop.

Cleveland Police were called and the anarchists and socialists agreed to leave after Cleveland Trades Council representatives agreed to meet with them to discuss how the building could be better used.

A statement by Teesside Anarchist Network said: “Direct action gets the goods.”

Bob Stephenson, secretary of Cleveland Trades Council, said:

“Those people do not have any connection with us or our centre. They said they were trying to support us but their actions have done more harm than good. They gained access by booking a room under an other name.”

However, one of the activists, Karen Kirkham, responded online saying:
Bob, it achieved talk and recognition, more than what the building will achieve if it’s left to become dilapidated to the point were demolishing is the only answer. The building is worth people’s efforts, or do you not agree with that? Let it be left to fall into nothing but rubble.”
Source – Northern Echo, 04 May 2015

Teesside Anarchists occupy Middlesbrough building in May Day demonstration

Teesside Anarchist Network have occupied the Cleveland Trade Unionists & Unemployed Workers Union Centre on Marton Road, Middlesbrough

Protestors “occupied” a Middlesbrough trade union building as part of a May Day protest against its underuse.

Members of the Teesside Anarchist Network held a peaceful protest at the Cleveland Trade Unionists and Unemployed Workers Centre, on Marton Road, Middlesbrough.

The network said the building has been neglected, the top floor is inaccessible and rain pours in through the roof. Protestors say the building is currently not used to its full potential, but they have so far failed to get a positive response from trustees.

A statement from the Teesside Anarchist Network said:

“This is a real tragedy and a far cry from what was envisaged by the local workers whose contributions paid for the centre.

“The centre could and should be brought back to life; think of the things that could be happening there. It could so easily be used to house facilities such as a clothing bank, advice centre, healthy eating project, creche, a bookshop.

“It should be open to all the groups in Middlesbrough who are struggling in the aftermath of the bankers’ crisis and austerity.”

The protest began at MIMA at 4pm, and made its way to the centre on Marton Road. A police van was later seen outside the premises during the occupation.

A statement on the Teesside Anarchist Network’s Facebook page tonight read:

“Trustees of Cleveland Trade Unionists and Unemployed Workers Resource Centre have agreed to our demand to meet with us within seven days to discuss renovation of the centre as a viable project.”

> Good for them !

Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 02 May 2015

Socialist group sets up food bank in Middlesbrough – but are accused of “hijacking” event for political point-scoring

After the growth of food banks, a clothes bank is now due to be opened on Teesside by an anti-Government organisation.

Teesside Socialist Clothing Bank will open its doors this Saturday, at the John Paul Centre in Middlesbrough after organisers said those on Jobseekers Allowance were sometimes unfairly having their benefits cut.

However that has been countered by the town’s parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party Simon Clarke who said that in fact benefits are being processed more quickly under the Conservative-led government.

One of the organisers of the clothing bank, Anna Thorne, said statistics showed that 46 per cent of dole claimants in Middlesbrough had been sanctioned for being late or missing an appointment for sometimes valid reasons. That can lead to claimants having their benefits cut for six weeks to three months which was causing hardship.

> If that figure is true – and it could well be – that means almost half of benefit claimants in middlebrough have been sanctioned !

She also pointed to cuts at Middlesbrough Borough Council caused by reductions in Government grants, including the fact the council had stopped helping schoolchildren in poverty buy school uniforms to save £13,000 a year.

Free hot food and entertainment will be provided between 11am and 2pm on what will start as a monthly event.

 MsThorne said:
“There was a council-run event before Christmas where people could get food and advice and I noticed they were giving away a bag of clothes to people and everyone was saying how much demand there was. We’ve had so many people donating that we can’t actually take any more at the minute. We’ve got eight volunteers and it shows people do have a feeling of solidarity.”

A press release by Teesside Solidarity Clothing Group also criticised the Government saying that:

“The project locates the Government’s vicious austerity agenda as resulting in the most vulnerable suffering the most hardship. Set against a landscape of benefit sanctions and a diminishing welfare state the project emphasises that being hard up is not a crime.”

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Middlesbrough, Simon Clarke, said the clothing bank shouldn’t be used for political point-scoring. He said:

“I welcome any initiative that helps vulnerable people and I wish the new Teesside clothing bank every success. However, it is disappointing that some people involved with this project feel the need to hijack its launch to try to score political points using rhetoric that simply doesn’t square with the facts.

 “The best way to solve poverty is to help people into work and the Government is delivering on this. Unemployment in Middlesbrough is down by 30 per cent in the last year…
> That’ll be due to that 46% of sanctions !
… and nationally 1.75 million more people are in work since 2010. For those out of work, benefit processing has improved under this Government: 93 per cent of benefits overall are processed on time, up seven per cent since Labour was in office.”
Source –  Northern Echo,  06 Jan 2015