Broxtowe Labour Community High Street Hub was opened with great fanfare in January 2019.

Funded by Unite and CWU and decorated and staffed by members and volunteers, it was unique and part of Jeremy Corbyn’s community organising drive.

Local people popped in for food, a cuppa or advice. Lonely, elderly people or the homeless were welcome. We were open five days a week to the public, held our councillor surgeries here, rooted ourselves in people’s day to day lives. We held branch meetings, reading groups, political education talks, coffee for comrades, banner making and fundraising nights and provided a safe space for our youth, women & LGBT+ members. We really used our space.

There was obviously a hope that such community outreach would bear fruit electorally in our key marginal seat, however it was not enough to turn the tide for Labour in December’s General Election.

Key decision

After a miserable Christmas and New Year, myself, our fundraising officer and our treasurer sat amongst the unused election leaflets, the redundant canvassing returns and dog-eared WARP sheets to debate the tough decision about whether to carry on with the lease or hand the key back for our beloved hub.

But as we sat there wallowing in our collective apathy and anger, despondent at the state of British politics one of our regular users knocked on the door to see if we were open, he needed some food from our Community Larder and a hot cup of tea. We knew our answer. We knew that with this government we were needed more than ever. We knew Broxtowe Labour & Broxtowe Constituency needed the Hub

What we didn’t know was what was coming ahead, we would never have foreseen where we are now. It was one of the best decisions we ever made.

Working in Partnership with the Fire Brigade, GPs, Schools, Care Homes, Domestic Abuse Charities, unions, councils, supermarkets, local businesses, local shops, the hub has delivered:

  • 2,200 food parcels
  • 934 jacket potatoes
  • £250 Co-op vouchers
  • 226 recipe/baking bags (we include the recipe and all the ingredients – for example, tuna pasta bake, fruit crumble, pizzas, shortbread biscuits)
  • 32 breakfast bags
  • 20 pizzas

This has all be made possible through 40 new, energised members and a volunteer bank of over 50 supporters that we call on each day.

We give our food parcels out as an act of solidarity not charity, we stand shoulder to shoulder with groups affected by austerity and institutional cruelty, food poverty, fuel poverty, domestic violence.

They know we, Broxtowe Labour, have their backs.

Our Community Hub shows what is possible with a well-resourced, well-funded local Labour Party (our members now pay the equivalent of 50p a month, topped up with union money). It can make a huge difference to our members and supporters, our campaigning and to the local community.

Our members now have a shared purpose, it builds and strengthens our relationships with each other, providing a common purpose and belonging.

Our aim is to urge the national party, the unions and the wider Labour movement to fund such High Street hubs, to use the Broxtowe Model as the template for what is possible.

We need to re-embed ourselves back in our working class communities after the loss of Labour Clubs and MPs’ offices, to show we are here all year round not just there to offer promises and pledges at election time.

Grassroots activism, community organising, practical acts of socialism – they are all the same thing and all made possible when we build from the ground.

It’s as simple as just doing the right thing for people that need our help and hope, incrementally building a movement. Actively showing what a better society may look like, collectivism not individualism, co-operation not competition and social equality not inequality.  

The Broxtowe model is a model of how Labour should and could rebuild and win back our heartlands.

Jane Marshall, Broxtowe CLP

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16 Comments

  1. i am apart of the Awesome team, it has been so good working with local people , Not all members or even Labour voters but all working for the community good.
    we have achieved so much and started to win back the trust of our community.
    we have all had our own special moments over the last few months pop over to the Hub and we can talk about them

  2. I’m in Hastings & Rye CLP, which is a left wing party, and Labour Council are trying to cope with one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, a Tory MP and a Tory East Sussex County Council which has just doubled the parking charge in the town but wants people to show local. Many members of the party help with the Council Covid help initiative, and our party HQ is still recovering from an arson attack while members were in the building. I’t’s brilliant that you have such financial support for your hub and would love to see one here too. Well done comrades.

    1. Initially, when we were in post-election despair, it was one of our members ( a Buddhist) who came bounding in on his bike and declared that he was going to spend £50 on a small Christmas tree and some Festive goodies, which he put outside on a table.
      This positive act shamed me out of my misery.
      Then, when our modest shelf of food emptied faster than we could replenish it, Ellie took the bold step of appealing to members for £100 – she got five times that in a day – and we were off !

  3. What was that about ‘rising like lions’ ? Wonderful. Thanks to all of you. What an inspiration you all are. x

  4. After the General Election result, we can only admire your resilience in carrying on this essential work to support the vulnerable and the isolated in your community.
    It’s inspirational!

  5. I agree – this could really be the way forward and I do hope that David Evans will help to promote similar initiatives across the country. Sadly, with unemployment predicted to increase dramatically, Hubs can provide not only practical help but a channel for unemployed people to spend some of their time, not to mention retired members who may not be up to door knocking or leafleting any more but would be happy to help out at a local LP Hub. How about trying to get Credit Unions involved too – a lot of people are going to need low interest loans over the coming months.

  6. Amazing work! We would love to do the same in Poole, but unfortunately I don’t think we would have the funds. Rents are extremely high here 🙁

  7. The Corona 19 virus has and will contiue to have a great influence on the British people ,It highlighted what most socialists already new , that we depend on each other as working people , and that bankers ,lords ,bishops ,etc are not needed for our suvival , and in some cases actually impede our progress.

  8. I really love this and can see how this helps people see Labour as a positive force. We have the added benefit of having an MP with a great case work team we could work with. Well done Broxtowe Labour 💪🌹

  9. I have recently left the Labour Party for obvious reasons. I am still a member of Unite. Could I still be involved?

  10. I think it’s a great idea and I will put the word out to my branch to see if anyone is interested

  11. Excellent initiative, we can build on our community work during CV19, I will encourage my CLP to embrace this!
    Stalybridge & Hyde

  12. Sometimes we see all around us the suffering that is inflicted on our communities by this Tory government and wonder when will this pain end. Until the bitter end we have to be the place where many in our communities come to for help. It may be difficult, but to be there is the most important part. A place, a voice, an ear, a hand in a time of need.

    Thank you for your support Comrades

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