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DAY 30, BUS 2: Leicester

24 May 2018

More than 400 signatures collected on the street in Leicester today. Great atmosphere and great welcome and Leicester looked at its best, in the sunshine and with its great cultural and ethnic diversity in clear view.  Well done to our colleagues in EAPN and EMIN England and UK to bring together such a broad range of partners to host the #eminbus. These included

  • Leicester Community Services Centre
  • Leicester City Council
  • Leicester and District Trades Council
  • Unite Community
  • Derbyshire Unemployment Centre
  • Leicestershire Diocese
  • Fair Finance
  • Red Leicester Choir
  • Civic Leicester Community media channel

It was also great to be welcomed in the city by the Mayor Soulsby. Bhangra drummer and dancers, Aman, Arran and Harri, members of DEA (Dhol Enforcement Agency) Bhangra collective and Red Leicester Choir, helped to attract the pedestrians and gave a festive spirit.

At the well-attended seminar, the key issue raised was the link between quality employment and adequate minimum income schemes. It was clear that the fight for decent wages and employment conditions and the fight for adequate income is part of the same struggle. The presentation by Tess Lanning, Director, Living Wage Foundation and the relative success of the living wage campaign was a source of encouragement.

The shift from social security to subsistence support was well illustrated in the presentation by Professor Donald Hirsch: Director, Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University. This shift is well illustrated in the ‘two children’ policy of social assistance payments which punishes people for having larger families. Professor Hirsch presented work they are involved in which sets a Minimum Income Standard for what is needed to live in dignity and to fully participate in society. The Minimum Income Standard they arrive at has been used for setting the level needed for living wages.

There was a clear call to tell the positive story about what decent social welfare and adequate and accessible minimum income schemes achieves in terms of poverty reduction and creating more equality and the trust that is needed for societies to flourish. In this regard there was a very positive appreciation of the story, the message and the way the message is delivered through the #eminbus.

A big thanks to:

Speakers at he Seminar: 

  • Hassan Ali and Musa Alibhai of LCS spoke about reality on the ground and working together with EMIN in future
  • Christina Mottram, Fair Finance, gave the welcome from the Diocese.
  • Reiza Khan, welfare rights officer, spoke on the potential impact of Universal Credit (minimum income) in Leicester
  • Nazek Ramadan, Migrant’s Voice, gave the welcome from EAPN in England
  • Peter Kelly, Poverty Alliance, Vice President of EAPN, presented the role of EAPN and our objectives and the work going on for EMIN in London and Glasgow
  • And UK EMIN  Coordinator: Katherine Duffy EAPN in England and Unite Community
  • Chair: Mark Mizzen Leicester Trades Council

Thanks also to UK volunteer team for the 3 events:

  • Hassan Ali and Musa Alibhai and their Bus volunteers from LCS CIC
  • Jeremy Leaman: Christians against Poverty
  • Dave Wilford and Andrea Burford: Unite Community Leicester
  • Dyal Singh: Indian Workers’ Association
  • Colin Hampton, Denis Clayton, Shay Boyle and Callum Salfield: Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centres
  • Patricia Alert, Victor Momodu, Carol Evans, Clare Caves, Naima Jaladeen and Areej Osman all EAPN in England
  • Neil Cowan, Poverty Alliance EAPN Scotland
  • Callum Christie, De Montfort University student from #DMULocal volunteers
  • Ambrose Musiyiwa – videoing the events  from Civic Leicester Community media channel

Today our Icelandic volunteer, Bora, had to start her journey home. Thanks for sharing your story and insights Bora. I hope the bus experience gives you courage for your future work for more just, social and inclusive societies.