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									 Issue 27

 Spring 2010               SOLIDARITY
                                     The quarterly newsletter of DUWCs and OFFA

In the Summer 2009 issue of Solidarity, we           good times, how many employers are willing to
brought you the case of Zoe Smith, the               employ a woman who applies for a job whilst
pregnant woman who had her Job Seekers’              pregnant?
Allowance stopped for volunteering.
                                                     Even when benefit claims proceed as normal,
On page 3 of this issue, we report on the death      payments are barely enough to provide a
of Christelle Pardo, left pregnant and destitute     healthy start for an unborn child. When
because she was unable to prove her                  payments cease due to a dispute over the
employment history and therefore her                 claim, the health of the unborn child must surely
entitlement to Income Support.                       be at risk, placing extra burden on the NHS.

         Guilty Until Proven Innocent                               Resources Needed
Both women were struggling to get by in a            DUWCs have long campaigned for an end to
system that expected that they should prove          sanctioning and for increases in benefit
their entitlement to benefit even though they        payments that mean that claimants can live in
were soon to give birth. Critically, both women      dignity and fully participate in society. We
were deemed to be “guilty until proven               continue to do all that our small resources
innocent” and were left to live on fresh air while   allow.
they fought their cases.
                                                     Welfare Rights Adviser Kathy Farr said:
The treatment of these women has to be seen          “We have now identified a way forward for
in the context of the recession. Even in the         pregnant women and benefits—that is the
                                                                                   Continued on P2
Inside this issue:
                                                                       Thousands of people gathered
                                                                       in London on 2008 to call for
Pregnancy & Benefits 1                                                 an end to child poverty.
Spirit Level Talk    2
                                                                       DUWCs argue that a priority in
Advice News          4                                                 ending child poverty is
                                                                       ensuring that pregnant
Volunteering         5                                                 mothers have access to a
                                                                       healthy diet. This can only be
Tupton Campaign      6
                                                                       achieved with a decent level
TRUST/DAST           7                                                 benefit payments.

Where to Find Us     8
Page 2                                                                                     Solidarity

Campaign News

   Continued from P1
period in which a pregnant woman is expected to be looking for work and claiming Job Seekers
Allowance. At present the cut off point is 11 weeks before the baby’s due date—up until then, a
single expectant mother over 25 is entitled to claim JSA at the rate of £64.30 per week. After the
11 week point, they then move on to Income Support at the same rate.”

Kathy Farr continued
“ In order to protect the mother and child’s health and relieve the pressure on them to find work in
the later stages of pregnancy, we are now calling for the cut off point to be reduced to 25 weeks
before the baby’s due date. North East Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel has already put forward
this proposal to the relevant Ministers. This will not be a solution to the problems of benefit
sanctioning and child poverty but if this change can be achieved it will be a great start.”

The government has so far been resistant to our proposals. Colin Hampton, Co-ordinator of
DUWCs commented
“How can the government say it is committed to end child poverty and then refuse to reform a
system where pregnant women can be denied benefits? These penalties don’t just affect the
women involved but are an attack on the health and life chances of the unborn child. The
government must act without delay!”

                                          Diary Date
             Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better
Professor Richard Wilkinson will be giving the above presentation at the Winding Wheel on
Monday 12th April at 7.15pm.

                                Who’ s Who at the Centres
  Welfare Rights Bolsover District:               SALRC Worker:
  Andrew Parkes                                   Sarah Smith
  Welfare Rights Chesterfield/N E                 Colin Hampton
  Derbyshire:                                     colin.hampton@duwc.org.uk
  Neil Buxton
  neil.buxton@duwc.org.uk                         Fundraiser:
  Katrina Hudson                                  Sarah Walters
  Tim Wilkinson                                   sarah.walters@duwc.org.uk
  Glyn Power
  Welfare Rights Staveley:                        Lynn Haythorne
  Kathy Farr                                      lynn.haythorne@duwc.org.uk

  Welfare Rights Amber Valley:                    Not forgetting our wonderful team of
  John Bradley                                    volunteers.

  Tel Chesterfield: 01246 231441                  Tel Shirebrook: 01623 748161
Issue 27                                                                                    Page 3

 Special Report

In December 2009, just a few months after        Under the stress of dealing with such a system
we publicised pregnant Zoe Smith’s               and of having literally no money, Christelle took
struggle following her benefits being            her 5 month old son onto the balcony of the flat
stopped, DUWCs learned of the tragic case        and jumped. Christelle died instantly, her son
of Christelle Pardo.                             later that same day in hospital.

Christelle was French and had moved to                        Catalyst for Change?
London in 1997 to work and study there. After    DUWCs hope that the loss of these 2 lives will
working she graduated from London                not be in vain, that they can provide a catalyst
Metropolitan University in May 2008. She         for change in the benefits system—particularly
began claiming Job Seekers Allowance as          for those who are nurturing our future. But we
she looked for employment. Around this time,     continue to work towards stopping all forms of
Christelle became pregnant. Under the            sanctioning—no-one should be left so destitute
current procedure, her Job Seekers Allowance     that ending their life seems to be the only way
was stopped 11 weeks before she was due to       out.
give birth. At this point she should have been
able to claim Income Support. However, as a
European national she needed to submit proof     Earlier last year, DUWCs submitted a carefully
that she had been in continuous employment       prepared bid to the Big Lottery Fund’s
or studying for 5 years. She said that she       Research Programme to allow us to collate the
had spent several months in 2003 working in      evidence that we know is out there to prove
a café, but had no proof of this and             that stopping people’s benefits is damaging to
subsequently her Income Support claim was        the claimant’s health and that of their children.
rejected.                                        We wanted to use the subsequent report to add
                                                 weight to our call for an end to the practice.
                    Domino Effect                The application was rejected because we could
As our advisers here at DUWCs know all too       not sufficiently predict the final outcomes of the
well, once one benefit is lost, it can have a    project!
domino effect on all other entitlements. Her
Housing Benefit was the next to go, and to       Any help in suggesting alternative funders who
make matters worse her local council             might consider this type of unpopular work
demanded that she repay £200 that she had        please contact us.
received just after her Job Seekers Allowance
stopped. After her son’s birth, she was then
refused Child Benefit—because of her             Acknowledgements:
ineligibility for Income Support.
                                                 Guardian.co.uk 07/01/10
Christelle and her son were forced into          Mail Online 04/12/09
sharing a one-bedroomed flat with her sister,
from where she appealed against the                               Stop Press
Department for Work and Pensions’ decision       DUWCs are now in contact with Hackney
twice. She requested a tribunal but was not      Trades Council to co-ordinate campaigning
given a date.                                    activities.
Page 4                                                                                  Solidarity

 Advice News
                Chesterfield Law Centre comes to Bolsover District
Chesterfield Law Centre has announced the extension of free legal services to residents of
Bolsover District

Thanks to funding from Bolsover District Council and Derbyshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), the
Law Centre - which has been offering free services to residents in Chesterfield and North East
Derbyshire for almost 20 years - will be offering appointments across the district in Shirebrook,
Bolsover, Creswell and South Normanton.

Clare Lodder, Centre Co-ordinator says “This service will be working alongside existing agencies
such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centres and will
allow us to help more people. We are well aware that there has not been adequate legal help in
this area for people facing housing, debt and employment problems”

Most of the time, the service is restricted to those people who qualify for legal aid, but in the
current economic climate this covers many people, and if the Law Centre is not able to help, they
will do their best to point people in the right direction.

Bolsover District Council Cabinet Member for Corporate Efficiency, Councillor Alan Hodkin said,
“We are delighted that free legal advice is now being made available across our district and
hopefully people will take advantage of this and get the help and advice they need to deal with
any problems they may have.”

To access this new extended service, the Law Centre can be contacted on 01246 550674 or by
texting 07781 482826; for deaf and hard of hearing clients the minicom number is 0845 833
4252. More information about Chesterfield Law Centre’s services can be found on the website at

                               Help to Stay Out of the Red
Amber Valley residents struggling with debt are being offered free support.

Release Financial Charitable Trust has teamed up with Salcare to run a free debt advice surgery
service. This will operate every Tuesday from January 2010 and is funded by Comic Relief and
Derbyshire Community Foundation.

Wendy O’Toole is available to give free and confidential advice to any residents in Heanor and
surrounding areas who are facing problems such as loan repayments or rent arrears. Release
are also an authorized representative of Severn Trent Trust Fund and can assist Severn Trent
customers with applying for financial support.

Wendy says “Once you are in debt, it is easy to feel there is no way out. But some simple steps
can help to makes things more manageable. I can offer support in a number of ways, from
helping people to establish what they can afford to repay to attending court where necessary.
Our focus is giving advice to help people help themselves, but I will be there every step of the

Sessions are held at Salcare, Ray Street on Tuesdays between 10.00am and 12.00pm then
12.30pm and 2.30pm. Contact Sue Clarke at Salcare on 01773 764562 or Wendy O’Toole on
01773 306289.
Issue 27                                                                                   Page 5


                                    Volunteering Charter
 The TUC and volunteering England have agreed a new Charter for Strengthening Relations
 between Paid Staff and Volunteers.

 The document is available as a download from the TUC website ( www.tuc.org.uk ), and is a
 good practice guide for all those organisations who make use of volunteers.

 It covers issues such as volunteers and the law, volunteering agreements and expenses.
 DUWCs also welcome a section on volunteering and benefits, which emphasises that
 volunteering should not affect a benefit claimant’s entitlements. The document re-iterates that
 regulations state that claimants can volunteer in “any organisation the activities of which are
 carried on otherwise that for profit.”

 The more widely this message is disseminated the better!

                                       Goodbye Mike!

 DUWCs Shirebrook office has said goodbye to Mike
 Houghton, who has decided to relocate to Leeds. Leeds’
 gain is Bolsover District’s loss!

 Mike joined us as part of our Derbyshire Community
 Foundation Project in October 2007, and provided much
 needed support at our Shirebrook office and Bolsover
 outreach. His input will be missed, and we wish him well
 in his new life.

 Fancy replacing Mike? If you would like to train as a
 volunteer welfare rights adviser at our Shirebrook office,
 call us on 01623 748161 and ask for a volunteering
 information pack.

                                         Action Box
Volunteers! We need you!
We need people to help with leafleting—delivering our publicity flyers to homes around the areas
that we operate. This is one of our most effective forms of publicity and if you can help you
would be providing a very valuable service to us. We pay travel expenses and subsistence
expenses. This is brilliant way to get fit and get fresh air!

We also need local people who wish to train as welfare rights advisers in the Amber Valley, to
help deliver our services in Alfreton, Somercotes and Heanor. Get a new skill and help your
community at the same time—get the feel good factor!
Page 6                                                                                     Solidarity

           North Wingfield and Tupton to Benefit from DUWCs Project

Thanks to our grant from the Cabinet Office’s Hardship Fund, DUWCs have been able to launch
a weekly advice session at North Wingfield. Also supported by North Wingfield Parish Council,
we are holding advice sessions at the Community Resource Centre every Thursday afternoon
from 1.00pm—3.30pm. These sessions are currently scheduled to continue until September.

Also, throughout March, We will be holding a series of 4 advice sessions at Tupton Village Hall.
Dates and times are as follows:
                             Tuesday 2nd March 9.30am—3.30pm
                             Tuesday 9th March 9.30am—3.30pm
                             Tuesday 16th March 9.30am—3.30pm
                            Tuesday 23rd March 12.00pm—6.00pm

Preliminary arrangements are also being made for a similar series of one-off sessions in
Killamarsh to take place in May. Contact DUWCs for more information on 01246 231441.

Bolsover District Financial Inclusion                 Advice Improves Mental Health

The launch of the Bolsover Financial Inclusion    An organisation called Youth Access has
Strategy is good news for the District and        published a report entitled ‘With rights in mind’.
DUWCs. Funding has been made available to         This outlines the results of their study into
increase capacity for money advice and            social welfare problems, mental health and
support through the employment of a               youth, three elements which are strongly tied to
Financial Inclusion Champion, 3 Development       each other.
Workers and 2 Advice Workers—one of whom
will be seconded to DUWCs.                        One point that that report highlights is that the
                                                  provision of social welfare advice e.g. benefits
Over the next 2 years, the additional worker      advice may have a significant beneficial impact
will move throughout the District promoting the   on young people’s mental health and well-
take up of benefits and credits—enabling us to    being. Youth Access believe that advice
reach new communities and doubling capacity       services should be routinely provided alongside
in those areas where we already struggle to       services that can provide support for young
meet demand for advice. It is likely that we      people’s emotional and mental health issues.
will now be able work in places such as South
Normanton and Whaley Thorns for the first         They also highlight the need for joined up
time in years.                                    planning for advice, mental health and youth
                                                  support services to make most effective use of
The other organisations involved in the           public resources.
Strategy are CVP, N E Derbyshire CAB and
Worksop and District Credit Union—we will all     To see the full report go to:
be working together closely to ensure that
Bolsover District residents get maximum                       www.youthaccess.org.uk
benefit from the scheme. Watch this space
for further information.
Issue 27                                                                               Page 7

                            THE AVENUE PLANT
The Trade Union Safety Team is               Extract from a poem about the Avenue
undertaking a project to look at the ill-    Plant by Audrey Carlin, Trust volunteer.
health effects caused by working at the      Industry had been at a low ebb
Avenue Plant in Wingerworth. The project     As the war years took their toll
also helps former workers claim benefits     So when the “Carbonisation Plant”
and TRUST is working with Graysons               opened in Wingerworth
Solicitors to establish civil compensation   Producing coke and by-products from
claims.    If you know of someone who
worked at the Avenue Plant ask them to       It seemed at last the tide was about to
contact TRUST on 01623 748161 or 01246           turn
231441.                                      Plenty of work for the men to earn
                                             From the Avenue Plant – a massive
                                             Though a blot on the landscape we will
                                                 not forget

                                             As steam and smoke billowed from the
                                                chimneys tall
                                             And odious smells spilled out
                                             The men worked and slaved and gave
                                                their all
                                             Of that I have no doubt!

                                             Their conditions of work were
                                             Pushing ovens so hot it could burn you
                                             And yet - no one created a fuss
                                             How did they all manage to survive?

                                             Naphthalene, toluene, xylene too
                                             Carcinogenic chemicals – a job they had
                                                to do
                                             With no thought of how their health
                                                would deteriorate
                                             From these and other dangerous
                                             Their lives would degenerate

                                             Benzene, tar and by-products too
Mr Hays (top) and Mr Broomhall both          Were produced in bulk of this I knew
worked at the Avenue Plant and have          Lagoons were formed into which were
agreed to take part in Trust’s project .        tipped
                                             Pollutants so dangerous –
                                             They were ill equipped!

           Trade Union Safety Team and Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team
            Contact Joanne Carlin, or Natalie Woodward on 01623 748161
Page 8                                                                                        Solidarity

Where to get advice
                                        BRIMINGTON     CLAY CROSS
                                                        CLAY CROSS          Help us Go Green!
 Alfreton House          Education
                   AdultCLOC            54 Saltergate  Adult Education
                                     Community Centre Adult Education
   High Street         Centre
                     High Street         High Street       Centre
                    Castle Street        Mon—Thurs      Market Street
                                                         Market Street    If you are able to receive
     Tuesday          Monday          9.00am—3.30pm
                                           Monday                         your issue of Solidarity via
9.00am –12.00pm   1.00pm—3.30pm
                      Monday         9.15am—12.15pm
                                           Friday          Monday
                                                          Monday          email, please send your
 1.00pm—4.00pm    1.00pm—3.30pm                       9.30am—12.30pm
                                     9.00am—12.00pm 9.30am—12.30pm        address to:
    CLOWNE         CRESWELL            ECKINGTON        GLAPWELL          info@duwc.org.uk
Community Centre
    CLOWNE        Resource Point
                   CRESWELL          Resource Centre Community Centre
                                       ECKINGTON       GRASSMOOR
Community Centre
 Recreation Close Resource Point
                   Elmton Road        Business Centre Community Centre
                                        John Street      The Green        Don’t forget to join our
 Recreation Close  Elmton Road         Market Street     New Street
     Tuesday         Thursday             Monday         Thursday         group on Facebook for
 1.00pm—3.30pm 9.00am—11.30am
     Tuesday         Thursday        1.30pm—3.30pm 9.30am—12.00pm
                                          Monday          Thursday        interim updates, photos
 1.00pm—3.30pm 9.00am—11.30am        1.30pm—3.30pm 10.00am -12.00pm       and opportunities for
 Methodist Church
    HEANOR              Salcare
                       PINXTON         Albans Centre
                                    StSOMERCOTES Eventide Centre
    High Street
     Salcare           Ray Street
                      Village Hall     Heath Road
                                        Parish Hall  Learning Matters
    Ray Street      Kirkstead Road  Nottingham Road  Last Monday of
                                                        High Street
      Friday      Last Wed of month      Tuesday          month
10.00am -12.00pm 10.00am—2.00pm 9.30am—11.30am 12.30pm—3.30pm
      Friday            Tuesday          Monday        Mon,Wed,Fri
 8.30am-12.30pm    1.00pm—3.30pm     1.30pm-4.00pm   9.00am—1.00pm
   Village Hall   44 Patchwork Row      Parish Hall          TON
                                                                          Don’t Forget…
 Kirkstead Road                      Nottingham Road   Community Centre
Telephone/email   CHESTERFIELD        SHIREBROOK          Market Street
                                                            NORTH         To remember us in your
     Tuesday        70Mon—Fri
                       Saltergate      44 Tuesday
                                          Patchwork        WINGFIELD      will, or to ask for
 01246 231441    9.00am—11.30am       1.30pm-4.00pm
                                            Row             Monday
                                                           Community      donations in lieu of
                     Mon—Thurs                         9.30am—12.00pm
                                                        Resource Centre   flowers at your funeral.
  01623 748161    9.00am—3.30pm       Mon—Fri
                                                                          Let our future be your
                       Friday     9.00am—11.30am           Thursday
info@duwc.org.uk 9.00am—12.00pm                         1.00pm-3.30pm     legacy.
                    01246 231441    01623 748161

                        DUWC Co-ordinator Celebrates 25 Years

On 29th January, Colin Hampton, DUWCs Co-ordinator, celebrated 25 years of leading the
Centres. Colin looks back:

“I started work at the back end of the Miners’ Strike in
1985. It was the requests I received for help in relation
to the 25th anniversary of the strike that has brought
home to me that I have been around at DUWCs for so
long. I have worked with some fine women and men
during my time as Co-ordinator. In particular the
support I have received from officers and delegates of
Chesterfield Trades Council has been critical to my
continued involvement. I am as enthusiastic today
about the challenges ahead as I was back in the
1980s. We have a fine team at DUWCs and I look
forward to continuing the fight against unemployment
and for a welfare system allowing all of us to live with
dignity and mutual respect.”

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