A new community centre to help the people of Barnsley with employment and welfare issues is set to open at 13:00 on Friday 7 June.
This is a joint venture between Unite, the country’s largest union and the National Union of Miners (NUM). The new community centre is situated at the NUM headquarters, 2 Huddersfield Road, Barnsley S70 2LS.
The NUM has provided the building and Unite will be staffing the centre with its community activists – and both organisations have invited as many local people as possible to the opening.
Unite regional secretary Karen Reay said: “With devastating cuts coming into force, such as the ‘bedroom tax’ which could hit more than 4,000 people in Barnsley; reductions in housing benefit and the jobless total in central Barnsley standing at 7.4 per cent, the centre will feature the concept of ‘benefit buddying’.
“This will offer one-to-one support for the many people suffering as a result of the cuts and who have difficulties with navigating through the myriad of benefit claim forms.
“To find out how the new community centre can help you, or to see how you can become involved with the community and the campaigning aspect of the centre, pop down to the grand opening on 7 June.”
Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, said: “This government has brought in a raft of measures which singularly attack the low paid, the sick, the vulnerable - those who are facing extreme hardship and testing times. This new community advice centre is desperately needed in Barnsley.
“I’ve noticed a large increase in the numbers of people contacting my office with problems due to the ‘bedroom tax’ and other, devastating welfare reforms. I know from speaking to councillors and local advice centres that demand for their help and support is reaching crisis point.
“My thanks go to Unite and the NUM for supporting local people and offering a vital lifeline in these difficult times. As ever, the Barnsley community is pulling together and looking after its own.”
Barnsley is the 43rd most deprived local authority in England out of 354. It is the fourth most deprived in Yorkshire and the Humber out of 21. The town has 11,320 children in poverty, 23.9 per cent of the under 16 population; this is higher than the England average of 19.7 per cent.
For further information, please contact Joe Rollin, Unite community coordinator, on 07711 375 536 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.