On Saturday 29th March 2014 the Dorset arm of the People’s Assembly was officially launched at a gathering in The Dorford Centre in Dorchester.
The anti-austerity group was initially formed at an inaugral meeting under the Martyrs Tree in Tolpuddle last year in July, and after various organising meetings and awareness-raising events in various locations of Dorset was finally ready to open their doors to all.
Dorset Peoples Assembly is affiliated to The Peoples Assembly which is based in London and has sections opening up all over the country.
After coffee, cake and chat the rally kicked off with a rousing address from John Rees who travelled up from London for the day and explained a little bit about the reasons behind the Assembly and why it is becoming so popular among the people in the current economic climate. During his speech John issued an open invitation to everyone to attend the National Demonstration – Demand the Alternative on June 21st, details of which can be found on the main website.
The next speaker was local GP John Orrell from Weymouth, who gave a clear insight into the changes that have been happening in the NHS in recent times and the reasons behind them. There was some discussion around the problems faced by GP’s and patients trying to access services. There was specific reference to the ATOS work assessments and why people are finding these particularly difficult to deal with these.
Following on from this was a report from Weymouth Food Bank and Dorchester Food Bank regarding the increased numbers of people needing help from these services and the circumstances under which people find themselves having to rely on them.
The final speaker performance poet Elvis McGonagall had the audience rolling in the aisles with his hilarious and irreverent verse based on austerity.
After a short break for teas and informal chat the afternoon was drawn to a close with a short session for everyone to ask questions and make final comments on the afternoons proceedings and The Peoples Assembly as a whole.
The next event of The Dorset Peoples Assembly was announced as Sunday 20th July at 12 noon, under the Martyrs Tree during the weekend of The Tolpuddle Martys Festival, always a fitting place to meet in the ongoing campaign for social justice and equality.
Original article: SPBSearchlight.