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Saturday, 11 April 2015

Setting up a claimants' self-help group

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

The email inbox related to this blog occasionally gets requests for information, advice and guidance in setting up a local group. That is understandable when the benefit sanctions regime has been justly described as Britain's secret penal system.(1)

So to help defeat that system before it defeats us, here is an outline of a reply to such queries.

You may like to check out a little history regarding how the KUWG got started with the help of local Trades Union Council who helped us obtain our initial funding.(2)

Apparently, the group started meeting in various places before settling at a local community centre where we expanded sufficiently from meetings round one table in a room to regularly attracting around 20+ people in the Small Hall for our weekly meetings. Meeting weekly is part of our strength as is our leafleting outreach to local jobcentres, attracting new members.
  1. Starting meetings with a round of names and which benefits we're on as a solidarity building 'ice breaker'
  2. Making casework a priority and sharing and building expertise while also devolving tasks according to individuals' strengths, so that no one person dominates
  3. Adopting a motto of 'Never Attend Anywhere Official Alone' to maximise our prospects of winning cases
  4. Holding Bi-Annual General Meetings for re-election or re-appointment of postholders
have been fundamental points in our growth. It's important to realise that funding streams tend to be limited to a year or so and only for initial funding, and monitoring attendance in terms of equalities strands even in a fairly 'slapdash' way when the group size reaches more than ten helps win potential funders over.

I hope that this and the further information options by copied-in email addresses gives you at least a starting point. Finally for this message, you may wish to attend the Boycott Workfare National welfare action gathering date that I copy here from our April 2015 diary.(3)
30th May Boycott Workfare National welfare action gathering,(4) London Welsh Centre, Grays Inn Rd 10.30Aam to 5.30pm. Register your interest at :
info AT boycottworkfare.org
(1)  http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system
(2) http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/a-brief-history-of-us.html
(3)  http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/kuwg-diary-april-2015.html
(4) http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4243

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