Saturday, 4 April 2020

Ray Woolford . Corona Virus Community Support Network Deptford .Lewisham. NewCross . Southwak . Greenwich Update 5 April 2020

As I write this we have passed the 1000 person helped mark, all carried out by the work of strangers and neighbours and funded by our GoFundMe page as we still get No Government or Council funding and yet we are on the frontline, housing and feeding the homeless in shelters and hostels with no cooking facilities, the disabled some of the 1.5 million at high risk the gov says must isolate but 3 weeks on have mostly been left without food or Medication delivery and we have to spend hours waiting and collecting prescriptions whilst people we help have no cash to top up gas and key meters, many can't get emergency help, they do not have internet access or smartphones the only way you can claim Universal credit.
This week we had to put out a Social Media plea to help an isolated seriously ill pensioner in Newcastle who without our help would have been the first to starve to death this crisis, it alarms me that the poor, disabled and low paid have no worth in this crisis even the socialist campaign crowd who boost their profile by claiming to represent the left do not report the crisis at the grassroots level it's shameful whilst some areas are awash with help, many areas have nothing.
We ask people to put a note through the door of YOUR neighbours with your name, address and phone number and offer to shop or share what you have. NEVER ask someone if they want a FREEBEE. YOU can do this whatever area of the Uk or World YOU live.
We have past week taken on referrals from 4 Local Councils and a number of refugee groups shared with Feed the Hill, food to go to schools who are best placed to get food to families with children at risk, we have donated food and toiletries to NHS frontline staff all grades at The Point in Lewisham, also many of us have family in Spain so we are Supporting a Corona Community support Network in Spain through www.kathduncanequaltyandcivilrightsnetwork.org with Pippa Jones We hope that Never again will people be so negative about Migrants and Refugees, it's important to note its NHS workers from these groups who were first to give their lives for ALL of us.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Corona Virus Community Support Network the London Bridge Victim who lives on , leading an army of hope and goodwill

Christine Archibald was a young much loved young woman from Calgary in Canada who was on a break from her job that she loved supporting the homeless and the poor in crisis, on holiday in London with her partner when by chance she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was one of the first tragic victims of the London Bridge terror attack, as news of this beautiful young woman tragic loss of life became global news, the Archibald family asked for no flowers, but asked everyone who cared to carry forward her work and memory by helping out at a homeless project or your local food bank and tell them all #ChrissySentYou.
We Care Food Bank was the first food bank to open in Deptford Lewisham Borough in 2014 and rapidly became the most high profile and the largest independent food bank in the Uk when it was forced to close when its rent was increased from £7,500 per year to £32,000 per year plus £18.000 business rates it diversified into advising others how to run foodbank outreach projects with guidance from the book and ebook #FoodBankBritain and started Homeless Outreach work across the Uk, The Death of Chrissy was a defining moment as the number of homeless across the Uk was seeing a massive rise and with so many new to the street, it was decided to Use Chrissy with her family and friends support to be the face of the new help and support under #SolidarityNotCharity being a food bank, people give you food, in order to register to get charity statues you must have a cash flow income, that clearly in our line of work is not forthcoming and why today we are a charity without a number , but we could establish a Christine Archibald Homeless project page on gofundme which at first we wanted to buy a fridge transport to get fresh food to all the grassroots homeless projects build on love and need to help others , but like us cash poor, when we failed to reach the cash we needed for a freezer van, we consulted and decided to supply homeless out reach projects with flasks to serve hot drinks and soup with this welcoming image of Chrissy on the flask with high visability jackets for the team leader to wear again with Chrissy smile or welcome, today across the Uk , Homeless Projects take Chrissy on to the streets , she is very much alive , her work continues , so it is no wonder that in the scary times we live, Chrissy is back again her image on posters and postcards giving, comfort, food, collecting medications for the sick, topping up key meters for the poor , being a voice to mobalise an army of community minded people that in crisis always step up to the mark , today we Advice people to contact their neighbours direct with a note so its personal and ad #ChrissySentMe , so much easier to engage with a neighbour than a stranger , as i write this Chrissy is giving Support across London and to the expats in Spain , Chrissy is mobalising a movement she could never have imagined in life , when people die, its far to easy to remember the famouse and the privilaged but for us #ChrissySentUs symbolises all those front line workers we take for granted and whom today our saving lives, Nurses, Cleaners, Doctors, Drivers. Porters. the people delivering food parcels, collecting medicine, walking dogs and topping up Key meters for people whose existence has almost always been about a struggle. Today we look after those missed by the system, the disabled, the frail, the poor and the increasing number of self-employed who can't wait until June to get a paycheck we get NO state or Council funding and yet our grassroots frontline work saves lives of those most in need, often too proud to seek help but forced to by the present reality, You can contact us via our sister charity www.kathduncanequaltyandcivilrightsnetwork.org If you can chip in the cost of a mug of Tea, please donate here; 
We still need people with cars and vans to help ward by ward local to collect the food from our food supply wholesaler, anyone that needs food, we can get within 24 hours, whilst we are getting the food and toiletries and pet food at a large discount, we are still having to pay to buy it, so if you can please donate. https://www.gofundme.com/f/corona-virus-community-support-network?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Corona Virus Community Support Network ;How YOU can help in YOUR community

The Government decision to offer support to the 5 million self-employed is truly welcome, however as anyone who is self-employed or the family of the breadwinner who is self-employed cash flow and lack of is a problem at the best of times and we are having to deal with a huge number of people who simply do not have the cash or food in their cupboards to sustain them until June. Many of you are aware of the problems with #UniversalCredit and the fact if you can get through, most people wait at least 5 weeks before any payment is made, whilst we had food and toiletries to deal with We Care Food Banks core regulars of Elderly and Disabled, this new group is causing real concern as we get NO state or Council aid and have to gofundme to buy the stuff we need, even with a discount, the numbers we are looking after, almost 300 households in just 10 days and rising fast.
The Government army of volunteers will be targeting the 1.5million people who have been sent letters from the NHS to isolate because of their sever risk, again this is welcome, but we have an approx population of 65 Million you do not have to be great at maths to realise huge numbers will be going hungry in our area 47% of our kids are seen in Government figures as living in poverty and the free school lunch box they are being given as the kid's main meal of the day, is wanting.
We are presently collecting and delivering medications to stop the elderly and frail from leaving home. We are delivering carefully selected food that fits dietary requirements and takes into account households ability to cook, many just have a kettle. We Topup British Gas and electric Keys with many shops closed we are having a real struggle to get keys topped up and yes its those most at risk and most in need that MUST stay home who need the top-ups, Almost ALL of these people have NO internet and NO smartphone
What we are doing is insuring anyone who is in crisis can get help by texting us 07871187162 tweeting @EcrnKath email raymondwoolford@aol.com . We Care was the first charity to establish a Food Bank in Lewisham and my book, Food Bank Britain has been a model followed by food outreach projects globally so our team have the experience to get through this and reach the most in need who far to often is missed off the radar. We have trained and experienced councillors available free to support NHS staff all grades dealing with trama we can not begin to understand, our trusted team are able to collect for the housebound who have no internet to get home delivery of food or medication but need someone of trust to do the shopping and collect those crucial medications, if we were to allow one volunteer unchecked to take a single penny from someone who is depending on us for help or stole a single drug, all the good work we do would be undermined
We still need people with cars and vans to help ward by ward local to collect the food from our food supply wholesaler, anyone that needs food, we can get within 24 hours, whilst we are getting the food and toiletries and pet food at a large discount, we are still having to pay to buy it, so if you can please donate. https://www.gofundme.com/f/corona-virus-community-support-network?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1


Monday, 23 March 2020

CoronaVirus Support Network Update . Elderly and Sick queuing at Chemists , closed shops a crises for people with Gas and Electric Key Meters

The Government must urgently address major problems that are going unreported and which through my work I witnessed today, some of you may have seen for yourself the long queues of elderly, sick and frail waiting outside chemists today for the prescription they can not get home-delivered, the very people the virus targets and has the most devastating impact upon Medication prescriptions is not something you can trust to a stranger and whilst I am delighted so many people have joined and are active in our network as I have met so few of these people I cannot take any risks with people meds and so spent much of my day at Chemists in Deptford, Bellingham, Forest Hill and Catford on behalf of people who knew how to contact us for help, but clearly we cannot reach everyone, that's the role of the Council and the Government. Having witnessed this problem first hand, how and who should be responsible for telling people if they must stay at home isolated for 12 weeks, who will get them their medication? this needs very urgent attention as chemist only allow 2-5 people in at any one time, leading to large crowds of sick people outside
Key meters are the lifeblood of many people on low incomes who use key meters to help them budget and manage their gas and electric use so access to pay zones to top up is crucial for those in poverty and low-income, today I visited 11 different charge up points as Deptford Post Office was closed and I had housebound clients with no gas or electric, whilst I had a bike and the energy to travel to 11 different outlets to get a gas card top-up, this is NOT an option for the sick and the housebound, in law it's illegal to cut off peoples power, but if your poor and can not top up your meter the same law does not apply, even though your failure to charge up your key or card leaves you with no gas or electric how does that make sense? The Poor may be silent but with the Governments own figures showing 12 million people are in this Governments statistics are poor and 3 million Children in poverty how can such important and crucial aspects to the survival of the poor, the elderly and the frail not just be going unreported, but no one speaking and planning to address these issues.
Can I please ask that YOU contact your neighbours around you, you may have never spoken but you would have seen each other this connection is crucial in a crisis, you could exchange phone numbers, help with sorting medication and helping with Internet issues, offer to share what you have if YOU need free food and toiletries thanks to our gofundme page we are raising the cash to buy what you need when you need it and get it to you as fast as we can many of our neighbours have NO internet and NO smartphones so need your help to get Universal Credit, medication or just get word to loved ones who cannot visit YOU are looking out for them.
Please also spread the word that we are supporting NHS staff with shopping, dog walking and any other support they need, as well as a buddy support network for ALL NHS staff in London. We also have a Homelesshousing project for anyone you come across on the street. 
We still need people with cars and vans to help ward by ward local to collect the food from our food supply wholesaler, anyone that needs food, we can get within 24 hours, whilst we are getting the food and toiletries and pet food at a large discount, we are still having to pay to buy it, so if you can please donate. https://www.gofundme.com/f/corona-virus-community-support-network?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1
Urgent Update, some of you may be aware that Saturday night a ramrod raid was made on our warehouse deport we access food, thanks to the alarm and prompt action of the police the shutters got damaged but NO food stolen, this time. Are you fit and able to help at our Deptford food Warehouse? if you can please call Esther 0207 064 8913
My Contact Details raymondwoolford@aol.com 07871187162 Twitter @EcrnKath Facebook CoronaVirus Support Network. texts for help advice as we share will EVERYONE that needs our resources and our experience 

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Corona Virus Community Network support top tips to be a good neighbour

I have never been so busy or so exhausted, yesterday I met two women crying in Deptford elderly themselves they had only gone out to get a few bits like milk for other elderly neighbours to frail to shop themselves, and were in a state of distress queuing to get into Iceland to find the shelves empty and having to go home with nothing, fortunately, I had milk, veg, eggs, bread and will look after them, I tweeted and email all the areas MPs, sort to contact local councillors and rang every Lewisham Number I could to find someone to help 24 hours on, I am still waiting, I am NOT the social services, I am not paid, like you, I am just a concerned local resident doing my bit to help others in crisis a crisis that needs the US all to Think a do our bit.
We can all do something even if its to ask for help if not to feed yourself to feed your Cat or Dog, the first step is please knock on the doors of everyone around you, share phone numbers as a neighbour people will trust and recognise you, this is key in a crises make your neighbour YOUR new best friend, many are too proud to ask for help, but make clear you have plenty and happy to share. If you have a phone, offer its use so your neighbour can call a friend or family to confirm they are OK and allow their family to have your number for comfort.
If you have friends and family around the Uk and abroad regularly call them using one of the free connection services many will be grateful for that call and will be worried about you the way the media reports this story.
Emergencies Contact Your LOCAL COUNCILLORs go to your council website and it will list your ward councillors, email and often they will have a phone number to call .
Access To Free Food, Whilst we at We Care have no shortage of food to share with any group or single household, ANYONE in crises can get our help we will work with anyone anyplace to help others, we have volunteers who will deliver food safely to YOUR door, We will help top up your power key, we will walk your dog if your an NHS and Frontline staff member we will do YOUR shop with our trusted network we do NOT want you to worry or go without, Your bravery we admire we will stand with you and have people you can call and chat to help you get through this, its the least WE can do in Solidarity

If You need Help; PLEASE never be afraid to ask. We still need people with cars and vans to help ward by ward local to collect the food from our food supply wholesaler, anyone that needs food, we can get within 24 hours, whilst we are getting the food at a large discount, we are still having to pay to buy it, so if you can please donate. https://www.gofundme.com/f/corona-virus-community-support-network?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1
If you NEED anything we are here as neighbours, this is a network NOT a group, we will support anyone and everyone and share what we have with ALL groups as well as advice 
Contact details text Ray 07871187162 Email raymondwoolford@aol.com NEVER be too proud to ask for help, we have all been there. Our Facebook group is; Corona Virus Community Network 
Please use gloves and wear glasses and at very least a scarf to cover your nose and mouth when around people. Wash your hands. Drink lots of water.
This Project is organised by We Care food bank. Christine Archibald Homeless outreach project and www.kathduncanequaltyandcivilrightsnetwork.org 

Saturday, 21 March 2020

#NHS Free Support, Shopping , Someone to talk to #CoronaVirus Our NETWORK will SUPPORT YOU

Who could not be moved by the NHS Nurse Dawn in tears after doing a gruelling night shift in A&E to then find on her way home all the shops sold out of food, its easy to in any crises to think of the poor and overlook those crucial people on the frontline of a crisis who can so easily be overlooked. yesterday we collected food from out pack warehouse and got emergency deliveries out across our area of Lewisham and Greenwich, we had so much food we gave much away outside Deptford ASDA as like every store its shelves were bare
Any Nurse, Doctor, hospital porter or Cleaner, the delivery driver that needs support whilst they work for us through this crisis can contact us directly, we will do your shopping, if you have no cash, we will get you free food as we do today for any local resident in crisis, whilst we value your bravery we also have people you can chat to, scream down the phone. people who care and value you and your work, whilst this Network are in Lewisham and Greenwich we will find help for you anywhere you are in the UK and Spain, just ask. We are your neighbours, our only priority to ensure no one in our community goes hungry or feels alone, Many of those you can chat to are experienced councillors.
People wanting to help, Needing help, WE HAVE NO FOOD SHORTAGE, please email raymondwoolford@aol.com text 07871187162 we are on Facebook Corona Virus Community Network Twitter @EcrnKath To donate as whilst we get the food at a discount, we still have to buy it This network is about sharing what we have with others, our food, our experience, our volunteer network or transport structure and was established by We Care Foodbank, Christine Archibald Homeless Outreach project and www.kathduncanequaltyandcivilrightsmnetwork.org with hundreds of our neighbours.
We still need people with cars and vans to help ward by ward local to collect the food from our food supply wholesaler, anyone that needs food, we can get within 24 hours, whilst we are getting the food at a large discount, we are still having to pay to buy it, so if you can please donate. https://www.gofundme.com/f/corona-virus-community-support-network?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Lewisham and Greenwich Corona Virus community support network

We are today looking at the impact of us all being in isolation and its impact on our mental health as we get closer to lockdown.
We are looking to create community street by street choirs as clearly singing plays a huge role in lockdown areas in keeping people engaged, whilst we are also looking to have street fitness classes in which we can all have set times to do exercise in our homes or front door areas, others have suggested street window bingo, book clubs etc using free whatts app and skype services what ideas do you have? Whilst we are looking for Singers and Fitness instructors in our area of Lewisham and Greenwich other groups across the Uk can copy what we are doing and share across social media. please Direct mail us if you have skills and ideas to help our community network and others.
Spare rooms, clearly we are not all cut out to live alone for weeks at a time, have you thought about sharing your spare room with another? we all see homeless people who just need a break, if you can just for this crisis period offer a room, contact your local council homeless unit, or other local charity, you may have befriended a big issue seller or a homeless person in your community how could you help them?
This Saturday we will have posters to go up across Lewisham and Greenwich with contact details for our Lewisham and Greenwich Corona Virus Community Network and local useful contacts and information as well as details how to get help with shopping, dog walking. NHS support and free food and power key top up if you run out of money or just can't leave your home, if you can put posters up in windows and blocks in your area, we can email you a poster to print, ask local estate agents and print shops etc to support OUR community by printing for free, we will have postcards from Saturday for people to drop through letterboxes of homes in your area which you may feel need support, we have a few thousand after a local resident donated £140 to pay for the postcards to be printed, we get NO funding for this and like you are just neighbours stepping up to the mark in solidarity.
If you are a singer or Fitness instructor, have ideas to help us tackle loneliness and isolation and think you can help in your street and live in our area, as well as ward team leaders needed to email us.
If you live outside our area plan think about how you can engage with residents and neighbours in your area. We also need rooms in Lewisham and Greenwich for this crisis period, on Friday we launch the group app for our volunteer neighbours who will take active roles in our community with every ward split into its own team with then each of the 6 polling districts within split to keep contact to the minimum a model other groups across the UK are copying, many people are just helping their neighbours direct and some wards already have networks, we are NOT seeking to stop, we offer support of whatever is needed to whoever, we are fundraising to make sure NO resident goes without food.
Keeping safe, if cooking for your neighbour pour food directly into your neighbours own bowl, and when in contact with others ALWAYS wear gloves, wipe down anything you share, books, food containers, keep your nose and mouth covered, a scarf is fine and wear glasses, sunglasses are fine. Wash your hands every time you leave and come home and drink lots of water.
My email for people needing help and support, local residents wanting to help whatever skills you have, it could be just phoning up neighbours for company. If you need leaflets or the PDF to print posters to get up in your area email raymondwoolford@aol.com do not be totally dependent on Social media if for whatever reason it has problems just go to your street corner and bang saucepans the old fashioned way until a neighbour hears you and comes to help. PLEASE call friends and relatives across the UK using the many free options to share what you do and help tackle isolation and loneliness, for those able to donate so we can top up gas and electric and make sure people get food, easy to forget huge numbers are being told to take unpaid leave, 3 million kids who get free school meals will not if the school closes, people like you that will need our help, but we get no state or council funding, we have to do what we can as a community. donate here;

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

#CoronaVirus Corona Virus Community Network guidance and Food Emergency request

As I write this the BBC are reporting that food banks are closing not just on safety grounds but because panic buying has cleared the shelves and wiped out reserves.
Yesterday the Government told everyone to get ready for lockdown the same time as hundreds of thousands of people were told they will be forced to take unpaid leave, joining the 3 million self-employed, gig and zero-hour economy workers who are too poor to qualify for sick pay and have no money to panic buy.
I like many have established a Corona Virus Community Support Network on face book and using NextDoor community website whilst using my experience establishing the UK largest Independent food bank and after the tragic murder of Homeless support worker Christine, Archibald establishing a homeless grassroots support network working across the UK, as well as being CEO www.kathduncanequaltyandcivilrightsnetwork.org I now my stuff I have set up a guidance guide that groups across the UK are copying and is also being copied by ex-pat community in Spain, we grassroots organisations can help but we have to be part of the solution, not an afterthought, as I write this we need to deliver target flyers to every home in our area with our support numbers, useful numbers like samaritans and how to get help in your street when lockdown hits, and yet we have NO CASH to pay the £30 per thousand flyers we need to print.
We have set up a structure to reduce risk by building wards community teams and then breaking each ward into the 6 polling districts each ward has to minimise risk and distance we are asking people to carefully handwrite a note to their neighbours offering support and to share what they have or just have a chat to show solidarity.
As the Country goes into lockdown many groups like ours are finding our Community to poor to donate CASH, we will need free food, toiletries, pet food every helper will need gloves, we advice everyone meeting people they MUST wear gloves to deliver flyers or food, spray containers with bacterial spray, wear glasses even sunglasses if that's all you have and a scarf to cover your mouth and nose, why are we not being consulted by Governments, local Councils? We are on the front line and doing our bit and yet we are forced to create a GoFundMe page to raise cash, ours here if you can chip in
The Government and local Councils should be supporting my guidance by using my model to create community networks in every ward across the UK and breaking them down into easy manageable 6 pooling districts, we are using whats app for our group for central command BUT if the entire country is in lockdown HOW will the 3 million kids who get free meals, how will people with NO CASH get food? Should we not be giving every household a basic emergency income to help them eat through these crises? or will we have to lead raids on our supermarkets to get food to stop pour neighbours starving to death?
If You work in the food sector and can help our group access food in London if you're a politician should you not be setting up emergency Borough-wide coordination of all your local groups doing stuff? We all need to be asking Were will the food come from? How can we use empty buildings to house our Homeless Neighbours who have enough to cope with without this worry, Our GROUP Will and Can help, the sick, the disabled, the lonely the scared we just need a Council and Government that understands the importance of OUR unpaid community work to give us access to food, and if you have any spare cash please donate here

Saturday, 14 March 2020

#coronavirius What you can do to help in your community and neighbourhoods

We cannot count on the Government to do everything this crisis we as neighbours MUST do our bit, this guide will I hope to help you safe lives by being a good neighbour whilst being able to help those self-isolating, children that if schools close will go without free school dinners and people like you, who may work as care workers, are self-employed who have no access to sick pay or savings and will be desperate, whilst our public services are certain to be overwhelmed as we move forward.
1/ You will probably have noticed an elderly person in your street, block, estate as well as a person or family struggling day today, many will be proud and not want to accept your kindness or help, stage one, write a card or note with your name, address and phone number and if you have ever spoken or engaged remind them of you, offer to in present crises to help do their shopping or say politely you have stocked up on food and with supermarket shelves empty you are happy to share what you have, some may not take your offer, but if they have a cat or dog, leave pet food by their front door and say the food is for the Cat or the Dog, this will ensure they use the money they spend on their pets to feed themselves.
2/ Speak to your Neighbours over the phone or through a Window NEVER close and spray and clean milk cartons, food containers or anything you give to ensure your kindness does not infect them through the food.
3/ Use your local Social media to highlight the area you live and that you are a group of local neighbours supporting each other in crises, ask people to help or if they need help to contact you privately direct, people do not want to admit in public or even to the family they are in a crisis
4/ We expect the crises to hit our neighbours hard when the Schools close, 2 million people will have suddenly no access to food or many any cash income, 3 million children presently get free school meals the public sector will not be able to help and the state will depend on us in the same way we run Food Banks to feed people.
5/ Fareshare Lookup online, has branches across the Uk you can get access to free and cheap food that you can bag up and help reach your neighbours, ASK what your people who contact you need, Do they have a cooker? many people these days only have a kettle, do they have dietary requirements? What do they need? NEVER just give people stuff and expect them to be grateful, If you cannot access what you need to ask YOUR neighbours to chip in and help, set up a gofundme page. ( This is ours for Lewisham as example GoFundMe, https://www.gofundme.com/f/christinearchibald-homeless-project?utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&rcid=4b04a247735046419d2765d6c4f8c2b7
6/ You could set up a kitchen in your home, ask who can help cook, make sure everyone has gloves to prepare and use the highest level of hygiene, then ask people to help deliver-drop of, Soup, Rice, Pasta meals one meal a day will be enough as you may feel overwhelmed.
7/ Homeless in your community, CALL your local council homeless unit find out what services are available and help and ask what you need to do to get the Council to help your homeless people in your community, once you have this information, you can then engage in a positive way as many on the streets will have no idea what help is available or how to get it.
8/ You do not have to do ALL of these proposals, you may choose to focus on one neighbour or one homeless person, this is ALL good, just help in the way you can, my book Food Bank Britain about what i learned establishing Uk Largest independent food bank also comes as an ebook you can buy online, the profit funds my work, whilst the book will give you guidance on all the issues and questions you may have.
9/ Please never underestimate the difference YOU can make and the importance your help can make to vulnerable people in crises.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

International woman Day does nor get more amazing than Scot Working Class LGBTQ & Civil Rights Leader Kath Duncan

Katherine Sinclair MacColl was born in 1889 in Tarbert, Argyll, but lived for most of her youth in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which she always considered her home. She was one of the most important political activists of the last century, but her leading role in the Communist party has, until now, ensured that much about this amazing woman has been all but erased from both Scottish and English History.

Both the British and Russian secret services would do their best to secure the assistance of the so-called ‘Red Herring.’ Duncan was a communist, active in 1917 and with spies for various parties lodged in her close-knit circle until 1948. She had the ear and friendship of Sir Winston Churchill from their first meeting in 1917 until her death in 1954.  Churchill was captivated by this striking woman with bright red hair and, at first glance, he was not sure if she was a young man or woman. She claimed to be descendent of Scottish hero Rob Roy “who would never steal from the poor.” The friendship between the Communist and the British Prime Minister is a secret which has been kept until revealed in this book. 

Katherine Sinclair MacColl married fellow LGBTQ teacher and political activist Sandy Duncan in 1923 and moved from Kirkcaldy to Hackney in London. It was the General Strike of 1926 and the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931, whose leaders included her friend Fred Copeman, that would turn Duncan from a Winston-Churchill-supporting Liberal to a key and committed member of the UK Communist Party that had been established in 1920. She became a member of its Central Committee in 1929 and stood as a parliamentary candidate for Greenwich in 1931. 

In 1930, Duncan, still teaching in Battersea in South London, moved to Deptford in South East London and rapidly involved herself in The National Unemployed Workers Movement. She was a key organiser of the hunger marches that defined the 1930s, and energetically opposed fascism. Wherever she went, crowds would gather in their hundreds and often thousands to listen to this brilliant orator and lover of amateur dramatics, who, despite her 5ft 2in height, had no trouble attracting rapt attention from her soapbox.

Organising the unemployed and the poor, she mobilised her entire community to take on slum landlords, defend market traders from being moved away as part of the gentrification plans of the time, and organised child protests against welfare reforms with children carrying banners stating, “Daddy’s on the Dole,” just one example from the extensive list of campaigns Duncan would take a lead in with her catchphrase “I will fight to the last ditch!” Her protests at the docks against the arms trade, specifically targeting the armaments being loaded to supply the combatants in the Second Sino-Japanese War, led to many successes as dockers refused to load the munitions. In June 1932, after one such protest, a large group returning to Deptford Broadway were instructed to stop singing the ‘Red Flag’ by the police. When they refused, they were attacked by mounted police in a conflict that became known as the Battle of Deptford Broadway. In the tense aftermath of this battle, Duncan was eventually arrested and charged under laws originally used against the leaders of the 14th-century peasants’ revolt (also linked to Deptford) on a charge of being “a disturber of the peace of our lord the King.” Her case would be the first-ever fought by the National Council Of Civil Liberties (LIBERTY). Duncan vs Jones 1936 was a legal and civil-rights sensation at the time. Although she lost the case, the precedent set by this trial was still being used to thwart protestors in 1999 from attending a demonstration against the Iraq war.  Duncan’s case would ultimately lead to a change in the law that would allow all workers the right to protest. Duncan’s frequent arrests would lead to attempts being made in Parliament to prevent her from teaching.

The Battle of Cable Street and the march on the gas board against fuel-poverty are just two of the many anti-fascist and social-justice struggles in which Duncan took the lead. She shared her home with many of the key activists of the time and her house was also a recruiting and vetting centre for volunteers going to the Spanish Civil War, and Duncan would collect money tirelessly door-to-door to send ambulances to the fight against fascism. No activist in the last century did so much and was involved at such a high level in so many campaigns.

On 14th August 1954, she died of TB, which she had contracted in prison, back home in Scotland. In South London, thousands lined the streets to celebrate her life. When a speaker asked the crowd to whom to propose the toast, a voice piped up “The Last Queen of Scotland!” Since then she has largely been forgotten. This book will seek to end this injustice and restore Kath Duncan as the hugely important civil-rights activist she was and whose story is intrinsically interesting, casts an interesting light on several key moments in 20thcentury British history, resonates with many of the social and political issues we face today. 

Katherine Sinclair MacColl was born in 1889 in Tarbert, Argyll, but lived for most of her youth in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which she always considered her home. She was one of the most important political activists of the last century, but her leading role in the Communist party has, until now, ensured that much about this amazing woman has been all but erased from both Scottish and English History.

Both the British and Russian secret services would do their best to secure the assistance of the so-called ‘Red Herring.’ Duncan was a communist, active in 1917 and with spies for various parties lodged in her close-knit circle until 1948. She had the ear and friendship of Sir Winston Churchill from their first meeting in 1917 until her death in 1954.  Churchill was captivated by this striking woman with bright red hair and, at first glance, he was not sure if she was a young man or woman. She claimed to be descendent of Scottish hero Rob Roy “who would never steal from the poor.” The friendship between the Communist and the British Prime Minister is a secret which has been kept until revealed in this book. 

Katherine Sinclair MacColl married fellow teacher and political activist Sandy Duncan in 1923 and moved from Kirkcaldy to Hackney in London. This was certainly NOT a real marriage as they were both LGBTQ. It was the General Strike of 1926 and the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931, whose leaders included her friend Fred Copeman, that would turn Duncan from a Winston-Churchill-supporting Liberal to a key and committed member of the UK Communist Party that had been established in 1920. She became a member of its Central Committee in 1929 and stood as a parliamentary candidate for Greenwich in 1931. 

In 1930, Duncan, still teaching in Battersea in South London, moved to Deptford in South East London and rapidly involved herself in The National Unemployed Workers Movement. She was a key organiser of the hunger marches that defined the 1930s, and energetically opposed fascism. Wherever she went, crowds would gather in their hundreds and often thousands to listen to this brilliant orator and lover of amateur dramatics, who, despite her 5ft 2in height, had no trouble attracting rapt attention from her soapbox.

Organising the unemployed and the poor, she mobilised her entire community to take on slum landlords, defend market traders from being moved away as part of the gentrification plans of the time, and organised child protests against welfare reforms with children carrying banners stating, “Daddy’s on the Dole,” just one example from the extensive list of campaigns Duncan would take a lead in with her catchphrase “I will fight to the last ditch!” Her protests at the docks against the arms trade, specifically targeting the armaments being loaded to supply the combatants in the Second Sino-Japanese War, led to many successes as dockers refused to load the munitions. In June 1932, after one such protest, a large group returning to Deptford Broadway were instructed to stop singing the ‘Red Flag’ by the police. When they refused, they were attacked by mounted police in a conflict that became known as the Battle of Deptford Broadway. In the tense aftermath of this battle, Duncan was eventually arrested and charged under laws originally used against the leaders of the 14th-century peasants’ revolt (also linked to Deptford) on a charge of being “a disturber of the peace of our lord the King.” Her case would be the first-ever fought by the National Council Of Civil Liberties (LIBERTY). Duncan vs Jones 1936 was a legal and civil-rights sensation at the time. Although she lost the case, the precedent set by this trial was still being used to thwart protestors in 1999 from attending a demonstration against the Iraq war.  Duncan’s case would ultimately lead to a change in the law that would allow all workers the right to protest. Duncan’s frequent arrests would lead to attempts being made in Parliament to prevent her from teaching.

The Battle of Cable Street and the march on the gas board against fuel-poverty are just two of the many anti-fascist and social-justice struggles in which Duncan took the lead. She shared her home with many of the key activists of the time and her house was also a recruiting and vetting centre for volunteers going to the Spanish Civil War, and Duncan would collect money tirelessly door-to-door to send ambulances to the fight against fascism. No activist in the last century did so much and was involved at such a high level in so many campaigns.

On 14th August 1954, she died of TB, which she had contracted in prison, back home in Scotland. In South London, thousands lined the streets to celebrate her life. When a speaker asked the crowd to whom to propose the toast, a voice piped up “The Last Queen of Scotland!” Since then she has largely been forgotten. This book will seek to end this injustice and restore Kath Duncan as the hugely important civil-rights activist she was and whose story is intrinsically interesting, casts an interesting light on several key moments in 20thcentury British history, resonates with many of the social and political issues we face today. Kirkcaldy in Scotland is famous for Adam Smith, is it not the time it also celebrates the life of an extraordinary Women whose politics were shaped by Kirkcaldy?.
Fly the Flag the Original song from the new LGBTQ Civil rights Stage Platy Liberty also on sale as a book and ebook, although original song scores NOT in the book contact me directly for the original music score to perform this singer Julez Hamilton https://youtu.be/1Pi8E4Xhu9A




The Last Queen of Scotland - discover a new #Women Hero this Christmas Buy: https://lnkd.in/dCBV_tg
Our website 

This his the YouTube clip to the Song I wrote Forbidden Love one of the Songs in my stage play Liberty, although NOT a musical it does have several original songs, this with a clip from our stage play staged as part Deptford Heritage Festival and LGBT History month 2019 https://youtu.be/YO73nkU3wEk

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Fly the Flag (Liberty) International Red Flag

This is one of the original songs from my highly acclaimed new  #LGBTQ  #Pride#CivilRights #StagePlay LIBERTY staged as part LGBT History month and Deptford Heritage Festival February 2019, as we remember 100 years since the formation of the Uk Communist Party I feel whatever your politics we should all reflect and show respect for those brave souls who gave up their liberty to win the Civil rights we ALL enjoy today and demand that the stories of ALL our working-class heroes especially Women like Kath Duncan are restored as the National Treasures they are.
This Film includes Kath Marching against unjust welfare reform, taking part in the Hunger Marches and her role in the Battle of Cable Street fighting Fascism and injustice in ALL its forms