First Minister joins special event to celebrate 25 years of TCC

On October 1st almost two hundred people joined TCC's online event to celebrate its long history, with community leaders sharing stories of how ordinary people have achieved huge changes for themselves and their communities, and what they are planning for the future. The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, local politicians and decision makers were invited to hear first-hand from the people involved about the issues their communities are currently facing. 

Made up of a diverse alliance of community groups, TCC members work together to run effective campaigns and meet directly with decision makers on the issues which affect communities. Throughout its 25 year history members have achieved success on many issues facing local communities including getting a night shelter set up in Wrexham and ensuring employers pay the real Living Wage. During the event, members from Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham challenged local MPs, MSs, Councillors and the First Minister to commit to a range of asks from their communities on issues including climate change, housing and sanctuary. 

Following a feature on the Stop School Hunger / Dysgu Nid Llwgu campaign, which resulted in the Welsh Government committing to funding breakfasts in secondary schools for Wales' poorest pupils with an additional £1 to the free school meal allowance, the First Minister told community leaders Yvonne Girvan and June Edwards who raised the issue “You did all the right things and you succeeded”. The First Minister praised the work of TCC members and committed to working with the charity going forwards. 

The founder of TCC, Nia Higginbotham, reflected on 25 years of community organising saying “We’ve learnt that working together gives powerless communities a voice, and I’ve found bringing together groups which don’t normally work together very exciting. For me the main point of TCC was, and is, to enable anyone and everyone to be a community leader. Over the years TCC has worked on issues big and small, together we’ve challenged and worked with councillors, MPs, MSs, police chiefs, factory owners, financiers and so on, and in the process helped each other become effective leaders in the public realm.”    

TCC wishes to take this opportunity to thank funders The National Lottery Community Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Tudor Trust, The Presbyterian Church of Wales, The Cymru Synod of the Methodist Church and The People’s Postcode Trust.   

Anyone interested in knowing more about building power and community organising can read more about getting involved with TCC here and please contact us for a conversation. 

Join us to celebrate 25 years of community organising

On 1st October we'll be celebrating TCC's long history as the UK's oldest community organising charity. We're incredibly proud of our achievements, ranging from getting a night shelter set up, ensuring employers pay the real Living Wage, and committing the Welsh Government to funding breakfasts in secondary schools for Wales' poorest pupils.

The online event, celebrating 25 years of community organising, is taking place at 7pm. Community leaders will be sharing stories of how ordinary people have achieved huge changes for themselves and their communities, and what we are planning for the future.

We're delighted that First Minister Mark Drakeford will also be joining us on the evening.

Whether you've been involved with TCC over the years, or you want to know more about building power and community organising, please book your place to join us online for this special event. 

How can local communities be powerful? Free online webinar 10th September

You’re invited to TCC’s online workshop, open to anyone interested in creating change for communities in North East Wales. How can local communities be powerful? Community organising stories & ideas from TCC is taking place on Thursday 10th September, 7.30 - 8.30pm. 

TCC is a diverse alliance of local groups from Wrexham, Flintshire, and Denbighshire. We work together to run effective campaigns, meeting directly with decision makers on the issues which affect our communities.

Our hour-long workshop will include:

  • How together we build power, using community organising to win the positive changes we need.

  • Community leaders from TCC’s membership sharing their first-hand stories of successfully creating change.

  • Looking forwards to how we can continue to build powerful and active communities during lockdown and beyond.  

Book your place here. If you can't attend the event but you'd like to find out more about TCC, please do get in touch. 

If you're not based in North East Wales don't worry! If you're interested in community organising we'd still love to hear from you - we'll be running a separate event open to anyone later in the year.  Make sure you're on our mailing list to get all of the details.

TCC asks Wrexham Council to provide cash to replace free school meals

TCC is asking Wrexham Council to start providing cash to families whose children should be receiving free school meals. 

Currently Wrexham Council is providing a ‘grab and go’ system, where a packed lunch for children who would normally receive free school meals can be collected in person every day. However, take up of this means that less than 10% of eligible children have been receiving meals. 

Many other local authorities have already decided to give direct cash payments to families, whilst in England a scheme provides supermarket vouchers. 

Stephen Garthwaite, headteacher at Ygsol y Grango said “We know there are huge issues around stigma with vouchers, and we’d be very concerned about our parents being able to get to the bigger supermarkets from a more rural area like Rhosllanerchrugog. Many parents are already worried about making journeys out as they have young children or vulnerable adults at home, and they rightly want to adhere to social distancing rules. Vouchers would mean they would have to take longer journeys, and would create additional stress and risk for the poorest families. Cash would provide flexibility and choice, so that people can spend their money in their local shops as normal.” 

TCC lead organiser Kay Polley said “Vouchers can only be used at specific supermarkets, so it could be very difficult for a lot of families to use them, unless they live right in the centre of Wrexham. Getting to a supermarket could mean using public transport which is very limited, or walking long distances. As around two thirds of children eligible for the vouchers live in single parent households, many people would have no choice but to take children shopping with them. Nobody should be placed at a greater risk of contracting coronavirus just because they are poor.

We believe the safest, most dignified, and practical response is to transfer cash directly to families so that people can buy food for themselves.”   

 

The voucher scheme currently being used by local authorities in England means vouchers can be spent at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, and M&S. Notably this does not include Aldi, Lidl, the Co-op, or any smaller or independent shops.   

Stop School Hunger campaign update - 8th April 2020

​After celebrating our win on TCC’s Stop School Hunger / Dysgu Nid Llwgu campaign, things have obviously now changed dramatically with the coronavirus crisis. We’re working to ensure that Welsh Government’s commitment to funding breakfast in schools for Wales’ poorest pupils still goes ahead, in a pilot scheme for Year 7 pupils this September.

 

In the meantime, whilst schools are closed for most pupils, we want to ensure that no child who should be receiving free school meals is going hungry. 

 

We believe that the best way to do that is to give families money directly so that people can provide food for their children themselves. Collecting food in person puts families at unnecessary risk, delivering meals creates huge logistical challenges, and vouchers drastically limit where food can be bought. Asking families to use vouchers contradicts the efforts made to reduce the stigma associated with claiming free school meals. Vouchers can also force people to travel longer distances to get to specific supermarkets which in some circumstances may not be accessible at all, particularly now that public transport is even more limited. 

 

Last week, we wrote to Education Minister Kirsty Williams, asking her to take action to ensure that all local authorities in Wales provide cash payments directly to families. 

 

Read our letter to the Education Minister here.

 

We’ll keep you updated as this work progresses. In the meantime, if you or someone you know has been affected by not being able to access free school meals, or other services, please share your story with us. 

 

This is completely anonymous, and we won’t ask you for any personal details.  Your story will help us paint a picture of the challenges people in Wales are currently facing, and will help shape TCC’s campaigns for change.

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