On the 8th August , the sun shone over the Oxfordshire County UNISON Branch’s summer Community BBQ at the South Oxford Community Centre in Hinksey Park. In previous years Oxfordshire County UNISON Branch has run an annual ball which has always been fantastic, however, this year has been a difficult one for many members and UNISON felt that a community social event was needed, something that would be open and accessible to the whole membership and their families, something to bring everyone together as a community.
The BBQ attracted members from all sectors of the union. All were in high spirits and took the opportunity to enjoy meeting new people, many members were surprised to discover how broad the UNISON membership is. So many activists helped in making the day a special one, from the Women’s Officer Debbie Hollingsworth, Equalities Officer-Liz Challinor, Welfare officer- Claire Stanhope and the Young Members officer – Maria Fawumni. We even had a visit from Roger Mackenzie, Assistant Secretary for UNISON National Office! All gathered together to make sure that the day ran smoothly and that everyone was made to feel welcome and included. The food was fantastically catered by Mandy Bristow (UNISON branch office administrator, guru, general councillor and all round superstar) There were many activities available for the children, from lucky dips to giant bubble blowing and our branch secretary was a whizz with the face painting.
The event was open to the wider community and Fiona Roberts from the regional UNISON office joined us and very kindly helped run the UNISON information stall, taking the time to speak to members and non-members about the range of exciting opportunities available through union membership. Many non-members from the local area came to join us which gave us a great chance to show the general public that there is more to union membership than striking and disputes.
All in all it was a heart-warming event that saw members join together to enjoy themselves and it is the type of event that we will be repeating in the future. If anyone has ideas for other events that they would like us to run, please let us know and consider getting involved. Your union and your community need members to be more active than ever before and it is events like this one that remind us that not only are our fellow members worth fighting for, but that many long term friendships can be made along the way.
Absolutely fantastic event, we really need to reach out to the local community especially when this government is intent on destroying the trade union movement!
– Debbie Hollingsworth- Women’s Officer
Community Barbecue, was splendid and fantabulous!!!!
– Maria Fawumni –Young Member’s Officer.