The public meeting this evening in the Meadows to organise against the Bedroom Tax was well attended. There were about 7 people from the Meadows there, the rest being from the general Notts campaign, from advice centres and just people who are interested in getting involved.
Someone from St. Ann’s Advice Centre began by outlining the nature of the Bedroom Tax and how it affects people; a member of the Defend Council Tax Benefit Campaign then followed with more information about that. The floor was then opened up to everyone to speak. Local residents told the meeting about how they were affected and why they were there, and the visitors offered their support and knowledge. It was emphasised that the role of the citywide Nottingham campaign would not be to ‘save’ Meadows people but to support them in setting up their own local group which would then liaise with the general Nottingham one – the idea being to repeat this in the rest of the city.
Many specific points were made including:
- The Meadows often has a bad image, but people who’ve lived there for decades really like it, don’t feel unsafe and find many parts of it perfectly attractive. It was suggested that there could be publicity material associated with the Bedroom tax campaign aimed at informing people from outside the area that its residents are proud of it, have no intention of moving out and will stand firm as a community. One person specifically offered to help with the photography.
- The idea of clogging the implementation of the Tax by mass awkward appeal letters was raised and discussed quite a lot. Someone from Nottingham Law Centre was there who had been at the Radford meeting the previous Saturday and they had brought copies of the ideal appeal letter (originating from Joe Halewood in Liverpool) for people to take away and use.
- It was questioned how come there were so few Meadows attendees considering the size of the district and the leafleting the previous Sunday, but it was pointed out that it was quite short notice, and a lot of residents were single parents who could not come out in the evenings, as well as that there is a certain amount of apathy or complacency. It was suggested the number of local attendees was actually quite good for such meetings, and they were encouraged to start the process of a new group. More people will join later as they did with the Poll Tax campaign years ago.
- There will be an advice session held by Meadows Advice Group tomorrow (Thursday 11th April) in the same venue (Queens Walk Community Centre) and efforts were made to set up a Facebook group for the Meadows (http://www.facebook.com/MeadowsAgainstBedroomTax) this evening and create leaflets to hand out there. The advice session will begin at 2pm.
It’s a good start for the Meadows campaign and we look forward to working with them to defeat the Bedroom Tax in their area.
The Bedroom Tax meeting for Radford area residents on Saturday 6th April went very well. It was organised by Rob Graham and some other people involved in the NG7 Food Bank and the City of Sanctuary. It was facilitated in its venue at the Partnership Council by Moby Farrands who works there and is a long-time community organiser.
About 20 people turned up, some of whom were local activist types but there rest were just concerned residents. It was a good turn-out considering it was arranged with only four days’ notice. Discussion covered a lot of issues and suggestions of tactics in response to the BT but centred on Rob’s suggestion of a mass campaign of appeal and request for information to the council to clog the system and make implementing the BT unworkable. He has written out letters to send to the council and will send me a digital copy I will put up here and on the website. I think it could be a key tactic in our fight against the Bedroom Tax. It is based on the work of a Liverpool activist, Joe Halewood, in a blog post from the end of March.
The group of people present are committed to doing a campaign locally, contacting other residents; and I talked about the citywide campaign and handed out the leaflets we delivered today in the Meadows. Some may actually come to the Meadows meeting next Wednesday and they have the Notts campaign’s contact details.
Some local Radford residents are holding a small meeting about the Bedroom Tax and other changes to benefits this Saturday, April 6th, between 12 and 1.30pm. It will be held in the Partnership Council Office meeting rooms (Unit C ‘Tennyson’, Forest Road West, Radford, Nott’m NG7 4EP). Representatives from Nottingham Law Centre and other local organisations concerned about the impact on local people will also be there.
(Unit C is the set-back west end of the steep-roofed old youth centre building quite near Alfreton Road/ Forest Road junction (‘Dixy Chicken’). Entrance via gated steps roughly opposite Gamble Street. Car and disabled entrance: via electric double gates, use entryphone ‘Unit C’ button or ring office. Tel: 0115 970 8200 www.partnershipcouncil.co.uk)
This may be a good opportunity for people living in that area (Radford, Hyson Green, Arboretum, Canning Circus) or even further afield to meet and link up about the Bedroom Tax. I (Matthew) shall be there.
On Sunday 7th April the Notts Campaign Against the Bedroom Tax will be leafleting homes in the Meadows to which the Bedroom Tax may apply. The leaflets, maps and other details are all in hand and we already have 10 volunteers. If YOU would like to join us to do something about the evil Bedroom Tax meet in the parking lot of Queens Walk Community Centre (Queens Walk, The Meadows, Nottingham, NG2 2DF) at 2pm. It will probably last a couple of hours and will go ahead whatever the weather.
We will not be aiming to talk to residents on this occasion, just leaflet. In future we will be organising more leafleting, rallies, and most of all local meetings. Part of the purpose of this leaflet is to let residents know about an upcoming public meeting in their area to discuss the response to the Bedroom Tax. If you live in the Meadows and are concerned about it please help us spread the word and turn up to the meeting.
Facebook page to sign up to http://www.facebook.com/events/433524760066375/
Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/433271280090704/
Email address firstname.lastname@example.org