Brighton & Hove Independent - 12 December 2014

Page 11

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Friday, December 12 2014 Brighton & Hove Independent 11


The truth about the SOUTHCOAST unemployed centre WINDOWS and the £500,000 fund AND HOME IMPROVEMENTS

EXCLUSIVE by Greg Hadfield @BrightonIndy

A centre for unemployed workers is facing closure after a vitriolic internal dispute about its dilapidated premises and a £500,000 fund that is to be spent on a new building. One faction at Brighton and Hove TUC Unemployed Workers Centre in Hollingdean has asked the Charities Commission to launch an investigation into the "possible misappropriation" of funds and into the "dereliction of duties" by former trustees, including Tony Greenstein, who helped found the centre in the 1980s, under the slogan "Fighting poverty amidst plenty". Since 1999, the centre has been based in a run of shops in Crestway, form where it has supported families on low wages, disabled

Tony Greenstein was a founder

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to city council elections and a general election. There are votes to be pocketed - and terms of office to be secured. We can, however, look to ourselves. We can have our say now - and in the weeks and months ahead. In the preelection period when we have Pub

The Bevy Opening

The first community-owned pub on a housing estate is set to re-open on Friday, December 12 - after a three-year campaign by local residents. And on Saturday (December 13), there will be a blessing from Father John Wall, the vicar of Moulsecoomb, who has done so much to make the miracle happen. The Bevy will be much more than just a pub. Bucking the trend of 20 pubs closing a week, it will not only serve

Friday, December 5 2014 Brighton & Hove Independent 3


people, and the unemployed by offering a social space, free food and clothing, a free telephone line, free events for children, and a "combative and professional" welfare advice service, including employment advice. Mr Greenstein, 60, an occasional contributor to Brighton & Hove Independent who is awaiting a liver transplant, resigned from the centre in August because of ill health. His three other fellow trustees, all trade unionists, also resigned at the same time. Opposing them is Giuseppina Salamone, a welfare rights worker at the centre, who has written to 20 or more trade union branches listing her concerns in a sevenpage letter, a copy of which has been obtained by Brighton & Hove Independent. In it, Ms Salamone blames Mr Greenstein for spending "little or no money" on essential maintenance of the leasehold premises - while having control, with other trustees, of a building fund that totalled £507,736.75 in November last year. The dispute is complicated by the terms of a "repair-all" lease agreed with London-based private landlords - which Ms Salamone says means the centre could be liable for more than £50,000 of building work. As a result, she has refused an offer from Mr Greenstein that she and her colleagues should take over the lease; instead, she has argued

any building work should be paid for out of the building fund - and that she and her colleagues should be compensated to the tune of £20,000-plus for having to put up with premises where concrete and plaster is falling from the ceiling and where there are loose carpets and messy electrical cables. Mr Greenstein - who claims to have helped raise up to £3 million for the centre, including National Lottery grants, donations, and a substantial share in successful tribunal claims - insists the £500,000 fund for a new building remains intact and has documentary evidence to show it is held securely in bonds and trusts. Brighton and Hove Trades Council is expected to discuss the deepening rift next month, with a view to developing ambitious plans for a new centre for the whole of the Labour and trade union movement in the city.

the attention of politicians who want our vote on May 7 2015. Therefore, Brighton & Hove Independent is today pledging that it will - with the help of our readers and partners - embark on the most intensive democratic consultation undertaken by a media organisation in the United Kingdom. We will publish weekly

articles, hold public meetings, and give citizens a chance to vote - online and offline - in a citywide ballot in January and February. More details – including the date and venue of an initial public meeting - will be published on Monday on our website: www. brightonandhoveindependent.

alcohol; it will also be a muchneeded family-oriented pub and café for the Bevendean and Moulsecoomb communities. Formerly The Bevendean Hotel, it closed in 2010, leaving nearly 18,000 people miles away from a pub. Residents fought to get the old pub re-opened and have raised much of the £200,000 needed; regular "workins" have seen volunteers fit out the pub. More than 700 people have bought "community shares" and are now owners of the pub - the most of any co-operative pub in the country.

Concrete and plaster is falling from the ceiling and electrical cables are a mess

Giuseppina Salamone at the centre

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Screening of McIndoe

McIndoe - a 60-minute feature documentary from Barbara Myers and Paul Loman, of Brighton-based Homegrown Films - has been selected for this year’s CineCity, the Brighton film festival. It will be shown tomorrow (Saturday) at 12.30pm at the Duke's at Komedia cinema in Gardner Street, Brighton. Sir Archibald McIndoe was the remarkable pioneering burns surgeon who famously rebuilt the faces and the lives of injured RAF fighter pilots during the Second World War.



Salamone should ask herself why people were unanimous in finding her impossible to work with. We have offered the lease to those currently running the centre. We have said we will hand over the I was one of those who founded company that owns the lease and Brighton Unemployed Centre in fund up to £10,000 of repairs. This 1981, one of about 250 unemployed offer has been refused. centres in the United Ms Salamone suggests Kingdom - of which barely Unemployed centre is facing closure as this would mean being 30 are left. Margaret Thatcher had activists argue over 'missing' £500,000 liable for £50,000 of embarked on a monetarist repairs - which not economic policy whereby even the landlord has lame ducks – in other words, claimed. In any event, manufacturing industry the directors of a limited were allowed to go to the company are not liable wall. The number of people for its debts unless they unemployed quickly climbed have traded fraudulently. to some four million. The causes of the The Brighton Unemployed present crisis have Centre was a radical centre. nothing to do with As the late Dudley Edwards, the building fund and another founder who was everything to do with the Have your say about the council budget active in the National unreasonable behaviour How Brighton & Hove Independent revealed the internal rift Unemployed Workers’ of those currently Movement in the 1930s working there. said: ‘“It is our task to rouse the to just £39,000. The question Ms We hope to see a new centre our award-winning unemployed to fight the capitalist Salamone should answer is why,Join arising to be at the heart of contact centre in the system which creates mass after I left, the centre's charitiesheart of Brighton. Brighton’s labour movement. unemployment in the midst of lost more than 40% of their money. Since the decline began when I Apology plenty.” Unemployment is a curse and was in hospital in an intensive In last week's report, details the attacks on the unemployed care unit, I could hardly have any about the illness that led to Tony as "scroungers" choosing to live responsibility. Greenstein retiring from the centre The explanation is quite simple. were disclosed, as the result of a on a pittance comes from the billionaire owners of the tabloids We had a fundraiser who spent misunderstanding, without his and toffs like David Cameron and much of 2013 on holiday in Spain, permission. We apologise for the George Osborne, who seek to divide on full pay. No fundraising was unauthorised disclosure. undertaken and the remaining workers from the unemployed. The unemployed centre was set staff obstructed all attempts by the up by the local trades council and staffing committee to terminate unemployed activists. New Labour the fundraiser’s contract. They repeatedly attacked us because we then failed to raise sufficient saw unemployment as a political - funds themselves. Instead, Ms Salamone made wild allegations not just a charitable - issue. In 1999, we set up a new centre in of "misappropriation", alleging Crestway Parade, Hollingdean. We a failure to fund repairs on never received a penny grant from the building. The result was a the council, but we had a vision. In precipitous loss of charitable 2001, the trades council agreed we funds. Crestway Parade is owned by should establish a building fund in order to buy a building, which an absentee landlord. Its state of would operate as a trade union repair when we took it over was and unemployed centre, and funds shocking and we spent thousands of pounds making it habitable, but were raised for this purpose. Over three years ago, a big we weren’t prepared to rebuild A new unemployed centre was set up in meeting was held to discuss someone else’s property. At no Crestway Parade, Hollingdean, in 1999 the building fund. It included time did Ms Salamone - during a Giuseppina Salamone. At no point decade as an employee/volunteer - make any complaints about did she ever raise any objection. It was never intended that the lack of repairs. This is merely an money would fund the day-to- excuse to excuse gross financial day operation of the unemployed mismanagement. In August, as a result of a centre and the present crisis has no connection whatsoever with it. consistent refusal to accept the Because of rumours that the money authority of the management in the fund was "missing" and may committee, both the leaseholders not actually exist, I showed the for the premises resigned. A certificates and bank statements week later, all eight delegates Giuseppina Salamone has complained to Brighton & Hove Independent and trustees of the trades council concrete and plaster is falling from the last week to prove the contrary. If resigned from the management ceilings, while electrical cables are a we wanted to steal it, we would committee for similar reasons. Ms mess hardly have engaged a solicitor to establish a trust. In April 2013, after 33 years, I resigned as a full-time unpaid trustee for health reasons. In June 2013, the centre’s charities had £67,000 in them; yet 13 months later this had declined

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