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Standing up for what we believe: a social worker at the March 26 demo

silhouette2.jpgby Fighting Monsters, a mental health social worker and blogger

I knew I wanted to march when I first heard that a demonstration was being planned. My first decision was who to march with, whether my union, my local community or my professional organisation. In the end, I went with a group of friends, social workers or partners of social workers who live around London and after losing some of the group, we joined a random ‘Unison’ section of the march on the basis that ‘well, we’re all members of Unison’.

We must have been near to the front of the march as we snaked our way around Big Ben and down Whitehall. Passing Downing Street provoked a lot of good-natured ‘booing’ and the demonstrators stopped to have their photos taken with the guardsmen on Horseguards Parade.

cuts demo.jpg

We found a band that was playing and marched (and danced) alongside them from a while. We heard accents from every corner of the country. We saw banners from the Fire Brigade Union (we might have lingered a while in conversation with them), nursing staff, housing staff. All areas of the public sector workforce but more than that, we passed banners from a user group for a local hard of hearing service and a group from a SureStart centre that is being closed.

All sorts of people

There were children and there were pensioners and there were all sorts of people in between who never considered joining a demonstration before. In one of those typical ‘social work’ moments, as we saw a banner from one of the hospitals pass us by, my friend commented on her thoughts of the discharge co-ordinator there which made us all chuckle.

We were together though and we were marching together. My conversations with a housing officer confirmed how misunderstandings at work can be broken down with a common purpose.

As we made our way through the inevitable shower of rain towards Hyde Park we got a better idea of the scale of the demonstration but what was noticeable in the park was the friendly, welcoming atmosphere. There were children playing, holding up their handmade banners  and posing for photos.

Standing up for what we believe 

We settled down to our picnics and listened to the rally call as the marchers continued to flood into the park. We need to stand up for what we believe. We need to stand up for public services and we need to use the spirit and positive energy of a massive community on the march to call the government to account for proposing a series of cuts which are not equitable.

Marching amid hundreds of thousands of people, that’s the big society I want and that’s the reason I wanted to go and show my support. I don’t know if the government will change any of their programmes and their plans as a direct result of the demonstration  but we bolstered our own opposition in the knowledge that there are a lot of people who still care very deeply about public services in the country.

About Simeon Brody

Community Care managing web editor

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One Response to Standing up for what we believe: a social worker at the March 26 demo

  1. Jayne Hounsome 12 April , 2013 at 12:51 am #

    I’m not sure I agree with these protests. I’m trying to keep a balanced view but I am aware that if we personally were to look deep down inside of ourselves how many of us could put our hand on our hearts and say we’re not part of the problem?

    How many of us could say that we’ve had no part – no matter how small in the breakdown of the economic situation? For example do we own credit cards where we owe money? Loans? Overdrafts?

    I am learning that through these tough measures we need to find new ways of helping people in need. I don’t believe that we should be relying completely on the services available and together we are a community with gifts and services in which we can help one another to lessen the burden that is amongst the people in the UK.

    Is it not time for community to start working together again and to stop blaming the government for all the problems? Isn’t it time we tackle the problem head on and take ownership and responsibility than putting the blame onto a government I see as trying to do their best in a difficult situation?