"If we want them to tap dance, then they will tap dance," a Whitehall official on government plans for benefit claimants (Sunday Times, 2012)
Take action this week to stop workfare in North London Hospice shops
- From Mon 2 Feb - in a "communications conga" - social media / email /phone action
- Sat 7 Feb, 6.15pm - join our protest at North London Hospice's Dancing Strictlyfundraising event in North Finchley to ask "Waltz going on with workfare?"
Since August last year, Haringey Solidarity Group has been campaigning for North London Hospice to stop taking on people on 30-hour a week workfare schemes in their shops. (For more info, see our full web article 'Why North London Hospice should keep its word and pull out of workfare'). The hated and hateful six-month Community Work Placements (CWP) are backed by the threat of sanctions, i.e. having your benefits cut off for four weeks or more.
Many of us in HSG have reason to respect the great work that the hospice does within our local community. So we tried contacting the hospice, to let them know that CWP is not voluntary, and we tried leafleting passers-by outside their shops. Finally, in December, North London Hospice's Chair of Trustees wrote to us, stating their intention to stop using workfare once current placements came to an end. He refrained from giving a date for their withdrawal from the scheme, leading some of us to fear that their "intention" could mean another six months' misery for claimants on CWP.
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, we found out that, contrary to the letter, North London Hospice had taken on a new placement and possibly more. Furthermore, it has been over a month and a half since their letter to us, and not one of the shop managers we have spoken to is aware of this proposed withdrawal from the scheme, and the chair of trustees has to refused to give any indication of a date for withdrawal.
So our campaign against workfare at North London Hospice continues.
This Monday, 2 February, we are asking people to join our North London Hospice "communications conga" and contact the hospice, via social media, phone and email, asking them to pull out with immediate effect.
Then, the following Saturday, 7 February, 6.15pm, we are asking for support at North London Hospice's "Dancing Strictly" fundraiser, when we hope to speak directly to their supporters, and for them to ask the hospice management, "Waltz going on with Workfare?".
North London Hospice "communications conga" fromMon 2 Feb, contact details:
[nb: this is the correct email address!]
Phone: 020 8446 2288 (Fundraising team) or you can find the numbers for their 18 shops online. (NB: We are asking people not to contact the main hospice switchboard number.) Please also remember, if you call them, it’s definitely worth trying to speak to a manager, or someone involved in fundraising and volunteer organising. The person who answers the phone may well be low paid admin staff, or possibly on workfare themselves.
Dancing Strictly Fundraiser on Saturday 7 Feb, 6.15pm
Join Haringey Solidarity Group from 6.15pm at the Arts Depot in Finchley. The event starts at 7pm. Bring friends and (dance-themed) placards.
ArtsDepot, 5 Nether Street, North Finchley, N12 0GA. Tube: Finchley Central (then bus); Woodside Park and West Finchley (20 mins walk). Buses: 82, 125, 134,221 (from Turnpike Lane), 263, 460. Or see the Artsdepot websitefor directions.
See our website for more background information on the campaign.