Union opens new centre to aid underprivileged

Pic: Lucy Johnson

Pic: Lucy Johnson

Tucked away in the St George’s Town Hall on Cable Street, the Unite Community Centre is working to help underprivileged people in the Borough. This is the first of a number of such centres that will be rolled out by the trade union Unite.

The centre will be open five days a week between 10am and 6pm, and is a new move by Unite to become more involved in local communities.

Unite has opened the centre with support from Tower Hamlets Council and a capital grant from Barclays Bank to fund a state of the art learning suite which will be used by residents visiting the centre.

Welfare advice will also be available to help local people take steps to alleviate the impact of government cuts.

Users of the centre will also be able to join Unite at a special community membership contribution of 50p per week.

With Tower Hamlets being one of the most deprived boroughs in London and having the second highest unemployment rate, especially amongst young people, the centre aims to equip users with skills to gain further employment.

It offers various educational services, and also advises individuals how to create CVs and prepare for interviews.

East London Lines spoke to Ellie O’Hagan from the centre on how it has been used in the first week since opening.

Ellie outlined the prominent social issues in the area: “There is a big problem with child poverty here, lots of children live in poverty in Tower Hamlets. There’s also a problem with economic inactivity, which are people who don’t have a job, aren’t looking for work and don’t claim benefits. Those are two huge problems here.”

Ellie also spoke about the aims to “dispel alienation and isolation” in the area in order to regain a sense of community and shared purpose.

Outlining the teachings at the centre, Ellie stated: “The main skills that we teach are ESOL and IT and those courses start in September. We also offer back to work courses, photography and foreign languages.”

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