Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Moving on

As I posted last week, we are winning the argument against the Work Capability Assessment. When we started out back in 2011, not many people knew about Atos Healthcare. Now, it is a household name and not for good reasons. In fact - thanks to brilliant campaigning from Black Triangle, DPAC, Spartacus, Kaliya Franklin, Sue Marsh, Where's the Benefit? Mark Thomas and many more - it's become so toxic, it is pulling out of its DWP contract early. So it feels like this is the right time to be ending the Atos Stories project.

Since we wrote our plays  they (or sections of them) have been performed in many places:

A tube train opposite the Olympics Stadium 
A Leeds Uncut demo
Recorded as a podcast by My Life My Choice
Been banned by Newham Council
In a variety of places and ways as part of a Mass Read
And wonderfully performed by Act Up! Newham as part of an event celebrating the legacy of the Paralympics and more recently for the launch of Newham CCG.

We're proud we helped to get the message out about Atos, and we're proud of what the campaign achieved. We're glad to have played our small part, and now it's time to bow out and move on to other things.

So the title of the blog is changing to Write to Protest and I will be using it to write about other campaigns I'm committed to. Starting with End Hunger Fast.  I will be fasting one day a week throughout Lent and blogging about the experience, particularly remembering the victims of welfare reform who go hungry every day.

In the meantime we would like to say a huge thank you to the amazing people who shared their stories with us. We hope we did justice to them:

David, Aletheia, Mary, Tim, Kate, Yvonne, Adam, Nelson, Elizabeth, Sam,Vincent, Karen Sherlock, John, Adrian, Martin & all the fabulous people who took part in our Facebook and Twitter games.

Huge thanks go to Yvonne Brouwers, Sterre Ploeger and everyone at Act Up! Newham who did a fantastic job on making the play accessible and getting it performed.

We would also like to thank the following for their help:

Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian
Patrick Collins
James Ivens, Flood Theatre
John McArdle Black Triangle

Linda Burnip & everyone at DPAC
Jon Peace News
Kaliya Franklin  Benefit Scrounging Scum
Sue Marsh Diary of a Benefit Scrounger
Nelson  DWP Examinations
John Moffatt

Liz Crow
Rick and Jane and everyone at the WOW Petition

Everyone who took part in the Mass Read
And everyone who has tweeted, facebooked and generally promoted our work

And finally, thanks to Lisa Chalkley the other half of the Collective, without which none of this would have been possible.

Judith Cole

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