Why is North London Hospice still using workfare?

October 6, 2014

On Saturday, 11 October, from 12pm, we’ll be outside North London Hospice’s Wood Green shop, as part of Boycott Workfare’s week of action against workfare. And once more, we’ll be asking them, why they are still involved with Community Work Placements and other workfare schemes.

Join us from 12pm at North London Hospice shop, 19 High Road, N22 6BH. Three minutes’ walk from Turnpike Lane tube station.

Hundreds of people in Haringey are being forced to work for six months with no pay under threat of sanctions under the new scheme.

Urban Futures have a contract for Community Work Placements and are busy finding placements in charities and “community benefit” projects across north London. But these schemes cannot work without charities making the placements possible – charities like North London Hospice.

North London Hospice offers palliative care, social support, and practical advice – and help families through mourning and bereavement. They help people with illnesses which would otherwise massively curtail their freedom of movement be as independent as possible. This is vital and valuable work, transforming the quality of people’s lives.

But why are North London Hospice, like so many hospices, willing to stop other people living well,  by forcing them to work for no pay under threat of sanctions?

We’ve been trying to speak to them for two months now, to ask them to sign up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary pledge and to tell them some of the stories we’ve been hearing from people on CWP, about the intimidating atmosphere at Urban Futures (the ‘placement brokers’), and what it’s like to work for 30 hours a week, plus another four hours’ jobsearch, under threat of having your benefits stopped

We’ve called their main phone number, we’ve left messages with their Retail Manager (Michele Marconi), we’ve emailed their Executive Directors and their general email address, but no one at North London Hospice has yet responded to explain how their use of workfare matches up with their charitable objectives.

Under other elements of the Work Programme, people with terminal illnesses that have longer than six months to live can be forced to work for their benefits. This has led to other hospices refusing to take part in the scheme.

Take part in this picket of North London Hospice: call on them to remember their values and withdraw from punitive workfare, which forces people to work without pay for twice the length of the maximum community service sentence. Ask them to sign up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary Pledge.

Bring placards, noisemakers and come ready to let people know what these charities are up to. Make them realise that there is no place for workfare in our communities.

Can’t make it? You can contact them directly

Phone: 0208 343 8841                 Email: nlh@nullnorthlondonhospice.co.uk
Twitter: @NlondonHospice            Facebook: /NorthLondonHospice

But please note: But please remember, if you call one of their charity shops: it’s definitely worth trying to speak to a manager, or someone involved in fundraising and volunteer organising. The person who answers the phone may well be low paid admin staff, or possibly on workfare themselves.

North London Hospice have 18 other shops across London. If you would like to organise a picket of your local shop, Haringey Solidarity Group may be able to help you with resources.

Let Boycott Workfare know if help with travel fares would help you get there.

Action called by Haringey Solidarity Group and Boycott Workfare.

Links: What’s wrong with Charity Workfare?

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