Bolton Group at the Global Village
Nicola Sansom Activism and Community Campiagner
19th Nov 2012
Taking to the Streets of Bolton
Our group, (the Bolton Oxfam/World Development Movement group), had a stall at our local Global Village Market recently. The aim was to promote the Grow campaign in general, and especially the issue of land grabs. The Robin Hood Tax is also an issue that is dear to our hearts and a good campaign to talk about a possible finance solution by taxing the banks to help to fund poverty alleviation work! (I remember it when it was the Tobin Tax!).
Why do it?
An enjoyable part of having a market stall is the chance to meet people, and to get to know what they think about issues and our campaigns. Our first contact of the day happened before the stall was even ready. A gentleman stopped to explain that he had fitted a shredder to the back of the door so he could deal promptly with junk mail. I did assure him he could tick the box to avoid further literature if he so chose. Sadly he wasn't prepared to take the risk!
Another early visitor was a teacher who was particularly interested in the Grow campaign. She has been looking for an allotment for use by her pupils. This gave us the opportunity to mention our next event, a film evening which includes a talk by local food activists on Wednesday 21st November 7pm at the Quaker meeting house in Bolton. Hopefully we will be able to link her with other local contacts.
As well as discussing issues we were also able to meet up with people who had worked in Oxfam shops. We met a surprising number who had worked in other towns and regions that came over for a chat. Always nice to meet up with people and swap notes!
It wasn't all agreement of course. A very small number of people said they were concerned about any money going overseas in this time of economic hardship. I'm not sure we changed their minds but at least we engaged with them and presented something to think about!
So was it effective campaigning?
Well we estimate we gave out 450 leaflets about the Robin Hood Tax.
We had a few people sign up to the petition on land grabs, but people generally were not very aware that it was happening.
Many people will have seen the Oxfam logo on our stall so people will be aware of our local group.
Of course we can't know how many people will follow up on these issues, but I am fairly confident some will. For me personally it was a reminder that many people just are not aware of some of the issues about development. There were many advantages from being part of the Global Village Market promotion. These included the increased footfall, the vegetable stew from the Caribbean stall, and the chance for one of our group to have a chat with the BAFTS approved stall holder selling Fair Trade goods.
But if we do this again in autumn or winter I might look for an indoor market! It was on the chilly side!
If you are interested in getting more involved in campaigning in Bolton please contact Bill for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org