Welcome to our new e-newsletter that gives a monthly round up of news, campaigns, policy responses, training opportunities and resources helping to raise awareness of activity across the sector and promote the engagement of sector activists.
Dates for your diary
Funding the Voluntary Sector, Leeds, Wed 6th November 2019
Unite Strategy for fair funding to support the voluntary sector - This Seminar will bring Unite reps and activists from across the voluntary sector together to debate and examine the need to stop the race to the bottom local government contracts for charities, housing associations, social care and community organisations. The Unite Manchester Social Action branch are leading the way by ensuring councils have fair procurement rules, come along and find out how they have built influence and effected change. Unite will meet your expenses to attend this event, please register by emailing [email protected]
Unite Community Youth and Not for Profit Sector National Conference 2019 – Have Your Say!
Unite is holding its biennial not for profit sector conference to debate policy and determine our strategy for the next two years on the 18th and 19th of November in Brighton. Activists from across the UK and Ireland have elected delegates and submitted motions for debate on a range of issues including pay, mental health, climate emergency, youth work, safeguarding, whistle blowing, and stopping the race to bottom in commissioning contracts.
If you have an issue you would like discussed at the conference, or want to ask a question or make a contribution to debate at the National Conference, please do email your views to [email protected]
Regional meeting dates
Unite holds regional meetings three times a year specifically for Unite workplace and branch reps across the Community Youth and Not for Profit Sector. These next meetings will be determining motions to our national sector conference that takes place in November as well offering a great opportunity for reps to meet up with others from across the sector. Please contact the relevant regional officer by email to find out more information about opportunities in your region and more details about the next meeting.
East Midlands - Wednesday 13th November at 10.00am in the Unite Leicester Office, email Rose Mooney
Ireland – 21 November Unite Belfast Office, email Taryn Trainor for more details
London and Eastern – next meeting tbc, email Alan Scott for more details
North East Yorkshire and Humberside – next meeting tbc, email Brian Cole for more details
North West – 26th November, Unite Wigan office email Maria Smyth
Scotland – 26th November Unite Glasgow office, email Graeme Turnbull for more details
South East –6th November, email Jesika Parmar for more details
South West – 14th November, Plymouth Office, PL4 0BJ at 12pm, email Deborah Hopkins
Wales – next meeting tbc, email Richard Jackson for more details
West Midlands – next meeting tbc, email Lynne Shakespeare for more details
Register to vote and make sure your voice is heard
There is a very real prospect of a general election taking place in the coming months. It is vital that Unite members are able to participate in any vote that determines who will govern us, and we are asking members to watch and share this short video. There are huge issues facing our country. Please make sure that when an election is called, you can have your say and your voice is heard. Registering to vote is easy and takes seconds. You can register at: www.yourvotematters.co.uk or https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Please spread the word.
Unite is to ballot its members at Amnesty International for industrial action in a dispute over redundancies - Amnesty International announced in June that it was planning to cut 146 posts which would result in 93 job losses. While the number of job losses has subsequently been reduced, Amnesty’s management has refused to consider using donations it has received to keep people in work. The funds are instead being used to boost its reserves. Unite believes that the proposed job cuts will greatly reduce the charity’s ability to deliver critical human rights work and will result in the loss of expertise. More here.
Unite members at St Mungo’s balloted for strike action – Members at the homelessness charity voted to take strike action but failed to reach the minimum threshold by the narrowest margin. Unite representatives from St Mungo’s are now meeting to discuss and agree next steps for the campaign after seeing strike action narrowly avoided. The issues in the dispute that members voted on are still unresolved and senior management have consistently refused to move on any of the issues. For a full briefing of all the issues still in dispute, please read the Unite in St Mungo's newsletter July 2019.
Sector news round-up
‘Bombshell’ report lays bare the misery of Universal Credit chaos - A bombshell’ report and survey of nearly 1,200 Universal Credit claimants by the community section of the UK and Ireland’s largest union, Unite, lays bare the misery of the scheme’s failed introduction with evidence of people becoming suicidal, going without food, being forced into debt and unable to pay bills. The survey of 1,173 Universal Credit claimants published today (Monday 23 September) found that 70 per cent had skipped meals and 42 per cent had been forced to use a food bank as result of claiming Universal Credit.
Spending round 2020-21 - The Chancellor delivered the government's budget for next year, saying 'we can now afford to turn the page on austerity' and describing Brexit as an opportunity to 'cut red tape where it stifles innovation'. Spending commitments given included:
An additional £2 billion for Brexit delivery.
A minimum of £5,000 for every secondary pupil and at least £3,750 per primary school pupil next year, rising to £4,000 the following year.
Teacher’s starting salaries will rise to £30,000 by 2022-23.
Over £700 million to support children and young people with special educational needs next year – an 11% increase compared to last year.
An additional £1 billion for adult and children’s social care.
Continued funding of the Troubled Families programme.
An increase early years spending by £66 million to increase the hourly rate paid to childcare providers through the government’s free hours offers.
Plans for a Youth Investment Fund to be drawn up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
An increase in the Charity Commission's budget from £24.9 to £27.3 million.
As always the devil is in the detail and there has been little forthcoming.
Charities use twitter to support World Suicide Prevention Day - Charities including the Samaritans and Young Minds took part in online activity this week to highlight World Suicide Prevention Day and the mental health challenges many people face. The annual world suicide prevention day is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in partnership with a host of voluntary sector organisations and charities from 77 countries. Charities took part in a raft of online activity to highlight World Suicide Prevention Day with this year’s theme being working together to prevent suicide. Using the hashtag #WSPD2019 across social media channels, the IASP also teamed up with Twitter to ensure that when particular hashtags were used an emoji showing a yellow and orange suicide prevention ribbon was instantly applied. Other voluntary sector organisations utilised the power of social media to get across key messages about suicide and its prevalence.
Dramatic increase in child suicide rates – Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in 2018 there were 188 suicides among 10 to 19 year-olds compared with 165 in 2017, a rise of 13.9 per cent. The rate of deaths among under 25s increased by 23.7%, reaching 730 deaths in 2018. In response to these figures, charity Young Minds argues that there is an urgent need for a new government strategy which looks at the factors that are fuelling the crisis in young people's mental health and which ensures that anyone who's struggling to cope can get early support. They also highlight how school pressures, concerns around appearance, bullying and dealing with trauma are having a devastating effect on children's mental health.
Last chance to contribute to consultation on knife prevention orders - The Home Office's consultation on the planned knife crime prevention orders (KCPOs) closes on the 25th September. These orders can be imposed on any person aged 12 or over if police believe they are carrying a knife and also on those who have a previous conviction for a knife crime. The ‘civil orders’ have been backed by senior police officers and can be imposed by the courts on any person aged 12 or over who police believe is carrying a knife or people previously convicted of a knife related offence". Courts can require young people to participate in positive activities, such as educational courses or anger management, and are also able to impose restrictions such as curfews and geographical and social limitations.
NCS Trust CEO and Founder to step down - Michael Lynas announced this week that he will step down from his post next year after spending more than ten years involved in the controversial National Citizenship Scheme which has received huge amounts of funding whilst more traditional youth service funding has been reduced. Lynas, who helped to establish the NCS in 2009 will remain in post until spring / summer 2020 while a new leader is recruited. After his successor is appointed, he will continue to champion NCS as NCS Trust’s Founder and Patron.
Wear Red Day - Show Racism the Red Card is the UK's leading anti-racism educational charity. It provides educational workshops, training sessions, multimedia packages, and a whole host of other resources, all with the purpose of tackling racism in society. Established in January 1996, the organisation utilises the high-profile status of football and football players to publicise its message. Each October Show Racism the Red Card holds its annual Wear Red Day #WRD which takes place this year on 18 October 2019 and Unite are again offering their full support to the campaign and are asking members and employees to do their bit on the day.
Bargaining Brief – The latest edition of this useful resource is available on the Unite website (members only).
Work Voice Pay Monthly – Online edition of an activist newsletter available as part of Unite’s industrial strategy, updated each month to bring you the latest bargaining data and news.
Work Voice Pay Toolkit - Unite reps have access to a whole toolkit of resources to support and help all to get organised and win where you work. You need to go to the Unite website and log in to access the toolkit which contains:
Work, Voice, Pay guides
Pay and Anniversary Date data
Pay Claim Generator
Work, Voice, Pay Monthly
Employer Profile Generator
Collective Agreements Database
New resources are being added regularly and if you are a Unite rep and you have suggestions for WVP tools, Executive Officer, Sharon Graham would welcome your input.
People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund - Charities and community groups can apply for a share of £3m to fund innovative and creative projects from the People’s Postcode Lottery's Dream Fund. The PPL is looking give out grants of between £500,000 and £1.5m to organisations working in partnership to deliver what they see as "dream projects" over three years. Applications must come from two or more organisations, with a registered charity leading the partnership. More details about the fund can be found on the website of the Postcode Dream Trust, which is administering the money.
The Woodward Charitable Trust - The Woodward Charitable Trust focuses on the following areas: Children and young people who are isolated, at risk of exclusion or involved in anti-social behaviour; Prisoners and ex-offenders; Disadvantaged women; Disability projects; Arts outreach work by local groups involving disadvantaged people and projects that promote integration and community cohesion amongst minority groups, including refugees and travellers. Deadline is Thursday 31 December.
Community Business Fund - Power to Change - The fund is designed to support existing community businesses with grants to help them progress towards self-sufficiency. This could be through increasing trading income, securing an asset or significantly reducing revenue costs. Round 8 of the Community Business Fund is now open.
The GSK IMPACT Awards - Provides funding, training and development for charities doing excellent work to improve people's health and wellbeing. They are funded by GSK and managed in partnership with The King's Fund. The awards are open to registered charities that are at least three years old, working in a health-related field in the UK, with a total annual income of between £80,000 and £2.5 million.
#iwill fund - Community organisations across England can now apply for grants of up to £35,000 to help young people have a say in how community spaces are managed. Grants will be available for one year and successful applicants will have the opportunity to re-apply for up to two years' further funding, to build on their learning and focus on sustaining their impact. Organisations have until 12pm (noon) on Friday 20 September to apply.
Allen Lane Foundation - Social Cohesion Funding - The Allen Lane Foundation funds small registered charities, voluntary groups, and charitable organisations. The Foundation is seeking applications from community-led grassroots groups and organisations which have a focus of work being at a very local/community level, which could be a housing estate or distinct community. Applications will be particularly encouraged from areas of high deprivation but not exclusively. The maximum grant is £15,000.
The Ragdoll Foundation - The Ragdoll Foundation’s Open Grants scheme has been designed to support the cultural sector’s work with children and young people. They also support initiatives that support the voice of and rights of children and young people. They welcome applications of up to £50,000.
Unite for our society
Did you read any of our blogs last month?
Charity workers share personal experiences of racism via social media - The hashtag #CharitySoWhite has been trending on Twitter as people in the sector share their experiences of racism and discrimination. By 5pm on Tuesday, there had been over 2,000 tweets, with many of them liked and retweeted multiple times over, and ... Read more
Government’s latest knife crime initiative “wrong.” - The campaign to brand chicken shop take away boxes with #knifefree has been launched by the Home Office in response to the rising levels of knife crime. The boxes will replace packaging in chains such as Morley’s, Chicken Cottage and Dixy Chicken ... Read more
Wage growth stuck in the slow lane - British workers are set for more wage pain as figures published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics showed earnings growth slowed in the three months to April, reporting that average total wages grew by only 2.5 per cent year-on-year ... Read more
Insecure workers entitled to 28 days paid leave - In a blow against precarious work, senior judges have ruled all workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid annual leave, even if they do not get given work or are not paid for parts of the year. The ... Read more
St Mungo’s balloted amidst victimisation row - Unite is urging Robert Napier, the chair of the board of the homeless charity St Mungo’s, to carry out an immediate investigation into an allegation of victimisation of a lead Unite representative. The call comes in response to emails, obtained under ... Read more
400 jobs affected as largest NCS provider confirms departure from the scheme - The National Citizen Service Trust, the royal charter body that runs the scheme on behalf of the government, confirmed that it would no longer contract its largest provider, The Challenge, after it had been 'unable to reach an agreement on a requirement to ... Read more
We are always looking for ideas and contributions. Our sector is massively diverse but we need to hear from reps and members across the sector about some of the fantastic campaigns or the issues being faced so please do get in touch. You can also support our sector on Facebook; Twitter; Unite for Our Society Website and the Unite Website