Tagged: Jarrow Town Hall

Jarrow Crusade-style march to campaign for the NHS

A crusade aimed at evoking memories of the famous Jarrow March arrives in the town next weekend.

The People’s March for the NHS is a campaign dedicated to preserving the founding principles of the NHS and ensuring its staff are afforded the treatment they deserve.

The march – which deliberately echoes the Jarrow Crusade for jobs in 1936 – has already called in at Tredgar in Wales and Bristol.

On Saturday, March 28, marchers will gather in Jarrow.

 The protesters will meet up with members of South Tyneside Public Service Alliance (PSA) at Jarrow Town Hall – where the original 200 marchers set off almost 79 years earlier.

The alliance has organised an event to highlight a last-ditch plan to save the under-threat Jarrow Walk-In Centre from closure.

Merv Butler, chairman of the Alliance, called on the public to turn out at 11am to hear a host of speeches from, among others, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.

He said: “It is vitally important that we prevent the closure of the facility. The event will focus on the need to keep it open and we want as many people there as possible to show their support.”

It seems clear that the outcome of the General Election will determine the centre’s fate. Labour has pledged to keep it open if elected.

The Conservatives are putting the decision in the hands of an independent adjudicator.

Mr Butler, branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside, added: “Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has given his party’s assurance that it will be saved.”

Source – Shields Gazette, 21 Mar 2015

Crusade march to stop the ‘privatisation’ of the NHS begins in South Tyneside

Hundreds of people gathered to give a rousing send off to the crusade launched by a group of North East mums protesting against the “privatisation” of the NHS.

One of the organisers, call centre worker Joanna Adams, 41, said she was “totally taken aback” at the turn out at their starting point, Jarrow Town Hall in South Tyneside.

There must be seven or 800 people here,” she said. “It shows how many people care about the NHS. It’s really moving. It shows the majority of people are decent human beings, not the self serving and greedy people some would have you believe.”

Those taking part in the ‘People’s March for the NHS’ are to follow the historic Jarrow Crusade route of 1936 when over 200 men – and local MP Ellen Wilkinson – marched to the Houses of Parliament to protest about the lack of work.

The march this time is in response to government legislation they feel is leading to the privatisation of the NHS.

At the town hall send off speeches were given by politicians, union officials and Lizi Gray, the great granddaughter of one of the original marchers.

It was a lovely symbolic gesture,” said Joanna.

Then, to the strains of the Proclaimers song ‘I’m Gonna Be (500miles) which the Scottish duo “gave” to the campaign and is now being used as their signature song, they set off.

The group will actually be walking 300 miles and are due to arrive at the Houses of Parliament on September 6, in time for Prime Minister’s Question time that day.

The idea stemmed from a group of 11 Darlington mums who wanted to highlight the damage caused by the Health and Social Care Act which has led to the increasing privatisation of the NHS

The idea was floating around for a while – it seemed such a crazy idea – then in March we decided just to do it,” said Joanna.

As the marchers headed on their first leg to Chester-le-Street with many of those who originally come to give them a send off actually joining in, she added: “This is what British values are. We’re generous, we care about equality and justice, something that isn’t acknowledged. There is such a thing as society.

“They talk about choice, well this is our choice. We want the NHS. We want public services properly funded. We own it and they have no business trying to take it away from us.”

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 16 Aug 2014

Jarrow March tribute’s facelift unveiled

REVAMP ... Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor, Coun Fay Cunningham,  are joined by councillors as they unveil the plaque for the Jarrow March.

REVAMP … Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor, Coun Fay Cunningham, are joined by councillors as they unveil the plaque for the Jarrow March.

 

 

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham, performed the unveiling of the refurbished plaque at Jarrow Town Hall.

Originally given to the marchers by the former Jarrow Borough Council, the plaque was badly in need of repair.

But members of Jarrow and Boldon community area forum stepped in with a £468 grant towards the refurbishment costs.

Coun Jim Perry, forum chairman, said: “The Jarrow March remains very much in the hearts of local people, so I’m delighted to be able to pay homage to their memory with this plaque.”

Coun Cunningham said: “The Jarrow Crusade was a defining moment in the history of the borough, the region and the country as a whole. The plaque is a testament to the marchers’ efforts to highlight poverty – an issue as relevant today as it was at the time of the march in 1936.”

Following the closure of Palmers Shipyard, the town’s main employer in the 1930s, 74 per cent of all workers in Jarrow were unemployed.

As the march was launched, most of the town’s working population was still on the dole, sparking crippling poverty and record infant mortality rates.

After novelist JB Priestley visited Jarrow in 1933, he wrote: “I have seen nothing like it since the war. There is no escape anywhere from its prevailing misery.”

Priestley added: “Wherever we went, there were men hanging about, not scores of them, but hundreds and thousands of them.

“The whole town looked as if it had entered a penniless bleak Sabbath.”

It was against this desperate backdrop that the Jarrow Crusade – as it was originally called – was organised, with around 200 men setting off from Jarrow Town Hall on October 5, 1936, to march to Westminster to demand work for the town from Stanley Baldwin’s government.

The marchers covered more than 290 miles, but received little support from the powers-that-be when they reached London.

Employment in the town only rose significantly when Palmers Shipyard was reopened as part of the war effort.

Source – Shields Gazette,  19 July 2014

NHS campaigners will recreate the Jarrow march

Health campaigners will retrace the steps of the original Jarrow Marchers as part of their fight to protect the NHS.

 Several hundred people are expected to take part in a mass rally outside Jarrow Town Hall on Saturday, August 16, before a group of NHS campaigners head off on the 300-mile march to London.

Evoking memories of the famous 1936 Jarrow Crusade, when 200 jobless men marched from the town to Westminster to demand work, the event is billed as The People’s March for the NHS, with health protesters aiming to cover up to 16 miles a day, reaching the capital on September 6.

The 999 Call for the NHS campaign has already won the support of various organisations, including the TUC.

> That’s ironic… with the original Jarrow Crusade, the TUC of the day circularised Trades Councils advising them not to help the marchers.  The Labour party also opposed it. And probably still would today.

Beth Farhat, regional secretary of the Northern TUC, said: “This march is being organized by a group of mums in Darlington, emulating the Jarrow March, but in aid of saving our NHS.

“I am helping them organize a rally in Jarrow on August 16, to set the march off.

“They have gained support from many organisations up and down the country, including trade unions.”

Rehana Azam, one of the rally organisers, said campaigners are opposed to many of the changes to the NHS introduced by the Social Care Act 2012.

She said: “We are opposed to what we see as the sell-off of the NHS by this Government,

“We aim to raise awareness about the issues and hope the rally in Jarrow will attract major media coverage.

> Given the recent media lack of enthusiasm about rallies of 50,000 people in London, perhaps best not to expect to much…

“There should be several hundred people massing outside Jarrow Town Hall on August 16, before the march sets off for London.

“We will be campaigning on the NHS and also against things like the bedroom tax.

“The plan is to have support from people like the Mayor of South Tyneside and there should be key NHS workers and trade unionists involved in the rally.

“About 1,500 have registered to take part in the march along the route, with about 50 people marching all the way.”

For more details, log on to www.999callfornhs.org.uk

> For the record, when the original Jarrow Crusade reached London, the Prime Minister of the day, Stanley Baldwin, refused to see any of the marchers’ representatives, claiming it would set a dangerous precedent.

Source – Shields Gazette, 26 June 2014