Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

The UK Spring?

by Lloyd on 22.03.11
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As spring approaches walks, camps and outdoor activities becomes more of a staple of weekly group life. This week saw the meeting of our Joint Centre Committee, which brings our centres and campsites together. The vision coming out of the meeting seems exciting, looking at how we can work to make sure that our centres and campsites help support your groups in camping and outdoor adventures. Making sure that Woodcraft Folk is strong in the future is important and many of you will have received letters for our appeal this week. The appeal is to support our groups and district development, making Woodcraft Folk “bigger and better” so that we survive into our 10th decade. If you would like to contribute to the appeal, please contact the head office and donate today, anything from just £25 could help with getting our message out to more young people.

This week also sees the build up to the March for an Alternative where many of you will be joining the General Council in supporting our members calling for an end to austerity and for funding the future of our country. We will be marching under the banner “Education for the Alternative” I hope to see as many of you at the march on the 26th March. You can see more resources on both our national website and on the DF website.

As youth clubs are shut down, school rents increase, and it becomes harder to run voluntary groups the Woodcraft Folk’s approach to supporting its members against these cuts it not just about the future of young people, it’s the future ability for organisation like the Woodcraft Folk to continue to operate across the country. While some (including most recently two Tory MPs) may question our position in the protests and our unswerving support of young people calling for jobs, growth and justice our position is nothing new. The Woodcraft Folk has always used it volunteer’s time and donations received by members to support our young people’s activities and their fight for equality, justice and human rights; we will continue to support you in all ways possible.

It is not only on the streets that Woodcraft Folk members are challenging that status-quo. This week members from Central Brighton and Hove will be appealing the visa refusals of our South African comrades at a Home Office tribunal. As we previously reported for the first time young people from South Africa require visas to travel to the UK, requiring a large deposit and a bank account as conditions of the visa issues. This economic apartheid in visa applications continues to mean that the young people that are poor, are refused visas to come on camps and exchanges (even in this case when invited by the Mayor of Brighton). We wish Central Brighton and Hove luck in their appeal and whatever the outcome, prepare ourselves in getting young people from around the world to Co-Camp later this year.

While this world for the “haves” is getting smaller it is increasingly difficult for the“have nots” to travel, exchange and take part in education. This is one of the reasons why our international work remains an important pillar of our education. Whereas visas and passports barley existed 100 years ago, I am now reminded of the Leon Rosselson line “now everywhere the walls, spring up at their command”. While these walls mayn’t be physical they are repressive and divisive as ever. In this newsletter you will see a call to support refuges, as well as our international newsletter and bookings reminder for Annual Gathering.

Annual Gathering is always a fun and productive weekend and this year joined with the Co-Camp pre-camp. Over the May bank holiday weekend it is a good excuse to talk, have fun and get away from royal wedding fever.

Finally I would like to remind people about our call for participants for the project “all against climate change” taking part in international seminars and co-camp activities, we are still looking for Woodies to take part in this unique activity.

Looking forward to see everyone on the 26th March,
In friendship!

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Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

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