Report from the Advocacy Training Day

Report written by Pat Smith

From January until the end of March there were 24 screenings organised by individuals, organisations and   community groups.   Many hundreds of people have attended the screenings all over Edinburgh and beyond, including Tranent, Selkirk, Innerleithen, Dunblane and Stirling.

The success of the screenings was largely due to the effort put in by local groups but we were enormously helped by the support and funding from UNITE the Union who paid for all the venues and provided equipment where needed.

The great thing is that many who have attended the screenings want to go further and do something to address the issues raised in the film.

On Saturday 13 May we organised our first Advocacy training day.  Thirty five people crowded into the UNITE offices in York Place. The training was delivered by Mike Vallance and Gordon Donald, both from ECAP  and by Sarah Glynn from the Scottish Unemployed Workers Campaign.  All three have a great deal of experience in supporting and advising claimants on a wide range of issues.

I think we may have been a little ambitious in trying to pack so much into  the three hours we had allocated but  our speakers did a sterling job within these constraints.   Having run the training day we are better able to  plan forthcoming events.. There is already further training in the pipeline.  In June there is training organised for a group of Unison Health workers and local training coming up in Westerhailes and in Innerleithen.

Report from March 11 organising meeting

The organising meeting on Saturday 11th March discussed the next steps in our campaigning.

Advocacy Training

The plan is to launch the training with a Saturday event in the UNITE offices in York Place with 4 or 5 trainers leading workshop groups. The proposed day is Saturday 29 April. More local training days are also being planned. Local groups can coordinate support and more easily organise rotas etc. One local group is already discussing trying to get a drop in centre.

UNITE Day of Action against Benefit Sanctions, Thursday 30 March.

We decided to holda protest outside High Riggs Jobs Centre over Government changes to Personal Independence Payments.  UNITE the Union may have other events in the course of the day.

ECAP Stall

ECAP (Edinburgh Campaign Against Poverty) will have a stall outside the High Riggs Job Centre from 10.30 – 12noon on Friday 17 March. You are welcome to come along if you can.