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Archive for May 15th, 2013

Remembering Thomas Rainsborough

On Sunday 12th May at St John’s Churchyard, Wapping a commemorative plaque was unveiled to Thomas Rainsborough (1610 – 1648) a prominent figure in the English Civil War, a colonel in the New Model Army and the leading spokesman for the Levellers in the Putney Debates in which he spoke up for universal male suffrage.

Over a hundred people saw the plaque unveiled by Tony Benn who spoke of the inspiration he had gained from the work of the Levellers, he movingly spoke of the need for every generation to stand up for our rights lest we lose them.

Cllr Rania Khan, Cabinet Member for Culture was there for the occasion and also spoke along with Jeremy Corbyn MP (Islington North), John Rees and Brian Nicholson of the Stepney Historical Society.

The event was also attended by a small Leveller contingent of the Sealed Knot who paraded the churchyard and fired a musket volley in Rainsborough’s honour. The Sealed Knot is a British historical association and charity, dedicated to costumed re-enactment of battles and events surrounding the English Civil War.

I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly. Sir, I think it’s clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.” Thomas Rainsborough at the Putney Debates, 1647.

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Latest Guardian interview

What made you want to work in local governmentTower Hamlets has been part of my life for a long time; I went to secondary school here, and grew up here with kids from all backgrounds. I have received so much from the area: I am what I am because of Tower Hamlets and what public services contributed to me and my family. My father came here in the 50s and my mother in the late 60s. I am really grateful for the services I have received and I want to give back to a community that has given so much to me.

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Cable Street launch 3

A new community centre in Tower Hamlets – to help people in one of the most deprived areas of the UK with employment and welfare issues – was opened on Monday in a unique partnership bringing together the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Unite, the country’s largest union, and Barclay’s Bank.

The centre is based at the iconic St Georges Town Hall, Cable Street E1 OBL.

The centre, which will be open five days-a-week between 10.00 -18.00, will provide new training and job seeking skills, welfare advice, cultural activities and has a state of the art learning suite.

The centre will offer various educational courses, such as IT skills and offer assistance to find employment, from creating a CV to interview preparation. Centre staff will also advise on the growing number of welfare and benefit issues in London’s second most deprived borough.

Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman; Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey; and Group Employment Director for Barclays, Dominic Johnson spoke at the opening ceremony.

Len McCluskey said: “We are near what were once the great London docks, which until the late sixties, employed tens of thousands of dockers.

“But times have changed. Tower Hamlets has changed. The dockers have been replaced by finance workers in Canary Wharf. But alongside the wealth of this global finance centre is great poverty.

“That is why this centre is needed and that is why our partnership with the mayor of Tower Hamlets and Barclays Bank will provide a vital resource to the local communities.”

Lutfur Rahman said: “I am delighted to be working closely with Len McCluskey, Unite and Barclays Bank in making this community centre a reality.

Job creation is one of my top priorities and this centre is going to play an important role in helping people find work.

I am particularly pleased to be working in partnership with Unite. As the recent terrible tragedies in the garment industry in Bangladesh have shown, and as the struggle of workers to be organised in the old sweatshops here in the East End have also demonstrated, trade unions play a critical role in ensuring people enjoy safety, security and fulfilment at work’.

Dominic Johnson said: “Barclays is pleased to be supporting the creation of this valuable new centre, which we hope will help people across the borough find pathways into work through new learning opportunities.

“It is important that Barclays plays a broader role in the communities in which we live and work, beyond what we deliver through our core business activities, such as supporting projects like this and our existing educational and employment support programmes such as LifeSkills and Barclays Spaces for Sports.”

ENDS

Photo (l-r) Liane Groves, chairperson of the community centre steering group; Dominic Johnson, group employment director from Barclays; Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman deliver speeches at the opening ceremony.
For further Information please contact Numan Hussain DL: 020 7364 7108 / Mob: 07508 352 023

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