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7 December 2009

UNISON mounts funeral procession for lost Community Learning posts

CLD Demo

Edinburgh UNISON Branch members staged a mock funeral procession in memory of community learning services that have been cut and are in danger of being cut further by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The event took place in the High Street, Edinburgh, outside a meeting of the Education, Children & Families Committeeat the Council's City Chambers at 2pm on Monday 7th December 2009.

A coffin representing lost and at risk services in Community Learning and Development was transported along the High Street accompanied by 'Grim Reapers' and stop outside the City Chambers, where a list of lost services were read out and ceremonially dispatched into the coffin.

Over the last two years, the Council's Community Learning & Development service (formerly Community Education) has suffered serious funding cuts, amounting to around 10% of its overall budget.

"These cuts will hit at the very fabric of Edinburgh's proud history in lifelong learning and building better and safer communities", said Lawrence Arscott, Edinburgh UNISON spokesperson for the Community Learning and Development Campaign.

"Already we have lost youth workers in schools, part-time youth workers, youth literacy workers, adult literacy workers, staff in community centres and staff in voluntary groups, including the Scouts and Lothian Association of Youth Clubs", he added.

Currently more cuts are planned by the Council, not only for 2010, but also for the following two years and these will include the closure of some community centres, further reductions in adult literacy work and less support for voluntary organisations.

"UNISON opposes these cuts because they remove vital services to people of all ages in the city, amongst them some of the most vulnerable members of the community, for example adults needing help with reading, writing and numeracy, and disadvantaged young people who need some positive direction in their lives", added Agnes Petkevicius, UNISON Edinburgh Branch Secretary.

This mock funeral procession has been organised to highlight the impact of both past cuts and, more importantly, further planned cuts, to Community Learning & Development.

UNISON is urging people to contact their own councillors to express their concerns about the impact of such cuts.


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