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Sam Hickman, Sarah Lynn and Amerie Garrett heading into the negotiation! 

On Wednesday 8th October, Home Sweet Home leaders met with the Vice-President for welfare at Cardiff University Students Union, Faraz Alauddin. They wanted to secure changes from the Union that would ensure Cardiff students have easy access to vital housing information - information that the campaigners have discovered isn't getting to the people who need it.

The meeting came after Home Sweet Home’s listening campaign over the past few months. Activists have spoken to students across the city and heard stories of dangerous properties, missing deposits and unresponsive letting agents.

And exacerbating all of this was the fact that tenants were uncertain of their rights when those problems do occur.

As one of the activists, Amerie Garrett, put it, “There seems to be a general feeling amongst students that bad properties are part of student life and nothing can get better. Our aim is to change that and this meeting was a step towards that.”

The issue is acutely important. Students live all over Cardiff. Cathays, the area with the biggest student population, has 21,000 living there. And many others live in other areas of the city like Roath, Grangetown, Splott and Heath. This is why the HSH team decided to use their action to get into a meeting with the Union.

Top of the priority list was for the Students’ Union housing information booklet to be sent directly to student halls of residence. And they also wanted the booklet's availability advertised around student areas.

Faraz, enthused by the work of Home Sweet Home and supportive of the ideas, agreed to meet again to discuss practically how these changes can be made. Speaking after the negotiation, Faraz said, “I’m really looking forward to working with the Home Sweet Home project in order to try and improve the standard of housing for students of the university.”

These practical changes can help thousands of students across Cardiff. But these are the first steps of a long journey. The meeting was made possible because the activists had organised themselves and built their power - so they will continue to do exactly that in order to achieve bigger success in the future.

The campaign leaders are now planning their first public meeting in the coming weeks to announce their findings from the listening campaign; an important action on the way to ensuring that unresponsive letting agents are held accountable for their poor properties.

Have you had bad experiences renting in Cardiff and want to get involved? Get in touch - Email Community Organiser Ewan Moor.

Home Sweet Home negotiates with Cardiff University Students' Union

Sam Hickman, Sarah Lynn and Amerie Garrett heading into the negotiation!  On Wednesday 8th October, Home Sweet Home leaders met with the Vice-President for welfare at Cardiff University Students Union, Faraz Alauddin. They wanted to secure changes from the Union that would ensure Cardiff students have easy access to... Read More >


 

The Movement for Change Showcase 2014 at the Labour Party’s Annual Conference in Manchester saw senior Shadow Cabinet figures such as Yvette Cooper MP, Rachel Reeves MP, Jim Murphy MPAndy Burnham MP and Emma Reynolds MP commit to real changes on big issues in response to movements built by the people directly affected.

Chairing the event after touring the streets of Scotland in the Independence Referendum campaign, Jim Murphy MP said "There is a sense that politics changes nothing: you've proved today that it can, and you can."

The packed event showcased ordinary people already changing lives and changing the country. Hundreds of community activists from across the UK came together to do politics differently:

  • Young people from an area recently shocked by extremist recruitment were joined by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP. She praised their work on the ground to prevent some of the root causes of extremism by giving people a stake in their community. Saeed Ebrahim and Said Abdi spoke about leading the campaign with young people locally and are looking forward to meeting with her in Cardiff.

She said, "I think it is fantastic what Saeed and Said and all of the team in Butetown have done and what it shows really is quite how important and how powerful Movement for Change really is because what starts as a discussion about safety in the community and needles and immediate local safety actually ends up being about our entire national security and the safety and values of us all."

She added: "Nobody should underestimate quite how important this is to every single one of us."

Saeed Ebrahim, Butetown Action Group leader said “The thing we couldn’t ignore was the biggest issue that was facing our young people in Butetown and also in other parts of the country. So we decided, working with Movement for Change, to use our experience and momentum from the needles campaign to help the young people to build their own power to challenge extremism in our community.”

  • In response to the stories of Great Yarmouth's jobseekers, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Rachel Reeves MP announced that a Labour government would end targets on benefit sanctions if elected. She agreed to work with Just Jobs campaigners who feel their job centre looks them out of employment.

Reeves praised the campaign for their confidence in speaking out, and added, "The Department of Work and Pensions under me will end the use of targets on sanctions in Job Centres.”

James Borg, Just Jobs leader added, "The Job Centre no longer feels like a place to get a job, but a place to get sanctioned. It makes me feel ashamed.



Reeves also joined the winner of the winner of the Activist of the Year Award 2014 Serai Hann to celebrate the cap on the cost of credit, a victory for Sharkstoppers everywhere.

  • NHS workers struggling with problem debt shared their stories with Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham MP who committed to working with Movement for Change's national campaign for fair credit. He will meet activists to discuss how the NHS can implement a payroll deduction scheme which allows its staff to save with credit unions

Burnham said, "I would be happy to work with Movement for Change to make the NHS the best employer it can be.

On the payroll deduction scheme he added, "Of course I will meet with the campaign - but let's do more than that, let's make it happen!"

Helen Bradford, NHS liaison & crisis practitioner and campaign leader said "I know that money is tight across the country, so workers need their employers to support them to access fair credit.  I am proud to work for the NHS and I believe that as one of the biggest employers in the country the NHS should be a shining example to employers that if you look after your workers, your customers will in turn be well cared for.”

  • Renters ripped off by lettings agents, suffering poor housing conditions and dealing with rogue landlords negotiated with Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds MP. She laid out her plans for a national register of landlords to help local authorities regulate private renting and agreed to meet Home Sweet Home campaign leaders at least three times before the General Election.

Reynolds said, "This is my first speaking event at conference, and what an amazing event it is. I cannot believe we have this level of turnout at a fringe event, and pay tribute to the work of Home Sweet Home. I saw for myself people directly affected by these issues on a visit to Brighton. I would be delighted to continue to meet with them."

Rob Robinson,  a 48 year old senior manager for a small housing association said "Bad housing and bad landlords aren’t just a student problem. It’s something that affects people across Brighton. That’s what inspired me to get organised and start working with Home Sweet Home."

Lou Petcher from Barrow's Changing the World Together group also took to the stage to talk about experiences of domestic abuse. They celebrated their agenda for education on positive relationships in schools and success in piloting a programme locally after negotiating for funding from their local Police and Crime Commissioner.  



Kathryn Perera, Chief Executive of Movement for Change said: “This packed event was a brilliant example of how politics can be different and better.

“Together, people directly impacted by a diverse range of issues built movements and took action to make change happen. Crucially, they negotiated with Shadow Cabinet figures to make sure that a Labour government will act.

These ordinary people may not have thought of themselves as leaders, but their stories were just too powerful to ignore.”


For more information, get in touch with Jamie Wright, Communications Officer at jamie.wright@movementforchange.org.uk

Changing Lives and Changing the Country: Action on Extremism, Renting, Job Centres and more

  The Movement for Change Showcase 2014 at the Labour Party’s Annual Conference in Manchester saw senior Shadow Cabinet figures such as Yvette Cooper MP, Rachel Reeves MP, Jim Murphy MP, Andy Burnham MP and Emma Reynolds MP commit to real changes on big issues in response to movements built... Read More >

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