Half of any and all income from this project will be donated to Pauline Town at The Station Hotel in Ashton-under-Lyne, an extraordinary pub run by an exceptional woman. As well as being a focal point of the inspirational We Shall Overcome* movement, For many years now, Pauline, with The Station as her base, has been helping those in need, giving out over 100 packed lunches a day, supporting the homeless, victims of domestic abuse, and those facing poverty.
We Shall Overcome has helped her to keep the doors open, raising money to cover the rent so she can focus on helping the people in need who come to her door. Also, the A Bed Every Night scheme has made a huge difference to her work, allowing Pauline to signpost people to a place to stay, as well as giving them a meal.
However, for the most vulnerable in our society, things just aren’t getting any better, are they? In fact, current policies and attitudes from those on high, who really should know better, are making it worse.
Pauline says, “People come here not knowing which was to turn or what to do and we’ve got an answer for the people sleeping on the streets now, we’re not just feeding them.
“Over the last year though we’ve seen a big change in the people coming for help, a lot of people never dreamt they’d have been in that situation, and now we’re expecting it to kick in even further because evictions are stating again.
“Some of these people have always worked and they’ve been hit by zero hour contracts, gig employment, or general uncertainty and they’ve gotten so far behind.
“The need is going to grow in the next few months, we’re already seeing more people sofa surfing because they’ve been evicted or walked away from tenancies because they’ve gotten so far behind.
“It’s not easy doing this at the moment, it takes a toll on you, but you do go to bed at night thinking you’ve made a difference.
“I think the world’s going to be stuck with me handing out packed lunches for a few more years. we’ll keep going for as long as we can.”
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXBNix8lHbs for a musical tribute to Pauline’s work from the great Steve White and the Protest Family.
*Since May 2015 We Shall Overcome organisers have run more than 1100 events in 150 different towns and cities raising an estimated £750,000 worth of food, cash, clothing, bedding, furniture and electrical goods for those struggling at the sharp end of Tory Britain. As the great Joe Solo puts it …“We Shall Overcome – this phenomenal, inspiring, life-affirming, life-saving, social movement – was born [in 2015]. It wasn’t originally intended to be ‘big’ – a handful of musicians, putting on a handful of gigs, punters bringing along a fiver’s worth of food for the foodbank rather than paying a fiver entry for a gig, a bit of a grassroots response to tory austerity, an opportunity to extend the helping hand of solidarity alongside the raised fist of anger. That grew so quickly. It captured a mood, it addressed a need, roughly 250 events a year, over a thousand in total now, musicians, poets, storytellers, radical theatre, walks and talks, more, some events huge, some small, all absolutely vital, each and every one essential, all locally organised, all collecting cash and / or items (not just food – clothes, sleeping bags, sanitary products, tents, you name it), and getting them to those hardest hit by austerity. A we’ve grown, we’re not just supporting foodbanks, but homeless support centres, women’s refuges, anything where cuts have slashed away at the social fabric. We wish we weren’t needed anymore, but we are, so we’ll keep on keeping on – in a time of rampant poverty, I suspect we’re needed more now than ever. Get involved.”
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