Bedford buzzing for resource centre’s birthday

A year after opening its doors, UNISON’s Bedfordshire Resource Centre held a special open day to celebrate its first birthday on Friday.

There were balloons, banners and a whole array of information displayed on the incredible work UNISON does for its members, public-sector workers and the wider community.

New membership forms were given out and people had the opportunity to sign up to the UK’s largest union on the day.

Centre administrator Hayley Cutchey said: “There was a real buzz on Bedford’s high street to celebrate the resource centre’s first year.

“A highlight of the day was having Bedford Health branch secretary Ian Thomas, regional organiser Lorraine Kalaher and area organiser Julie Trundell hitting the high street to collect hundreds of signatures for the region’s latest campaign: the petition to bring the Luton & Dunstable Hospital cleaners and catering staff back in house.

“Chelsey from UNISON Protect and Jodie from UIA Mutual visited to talk to about the many benefits available to members.

“Unfortunately, the two government pensions information sessions became one as case worker David Devereux had to support a member at an urgent meeting. Luckily, staff were able to refer members to the Lighthouse Financial Services where required to receive the financial advice they needed.

“But best of all, little ‘uns got to keep our magical balloons and eat our yummy cakes (meant for new joiners, but that’s how generous we are!) courtesy of Ken Richards, Central Beds branch secretary.

“Here’s to the next one in 2020 for our two-year anniversary! We hope to see you there!”

The centre was founded after UNISON branches – Bedfordshire Health, Luton and Dunstable Hospital, Central Bedfordshire Local Government, Bedfordshire Police and the East of England Ambuslance Service branch, with our Eastern Region Probation and Luton branches joining later – pooled their resources in a unique venture to make sure members, especially those in the private sector and outside core employers, are best represented and supported.

The resource centre, located at 24 Harpur Street, Bedford MK40 1LB, is open six days a week, from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.