I've been unemployed for a while and have been volunteering with the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (AUWU) for the last 18 months. During 2020 and COVID, I helped to establish the Wollongong branch of AUWU and built it into something tangible.
This year, I've been running regular Advocacy and Assistance Stalls in Wollongong to help people trapped in poverty by government policy.
Every Monday we hold a stall in the centre of Wollongong to provide free advice and resources to anyone forced to deal with the private job agencies.
The work I'm doing with the AUWU is the most fulfilling job I've ever had, even though I don't get paid and so many of us face regular abuse from various ALP hacks for having the temerity to fight for a better welfare and employment system.
But poverty is expensive
I need a vehicle so I can expand these stalls across the Illawarra, and help other branches across NSW trying to achieve what we've managed in Wollongong so far.
Initially, I was looking at getting a small car that would last twelve months before needing seriously expensive work to keep it running, but then a few people suggested a van - because of what I'm planning to use it for.
The price of a reliable used van with low running costs starts at around $10k, which is why I've set the fundraising goal here at $12k.
Breaking the poverty machine
We have set big goals for ourselves this year, but all of them are contingent on having reliable transport for our most active branch members to get to and from the different locations where we are holding our events and actions.
And while public transport covers the basics for travelling, we've invested in a number of resources to assist with helping our comrades across the region.
It's very difficult for two people running a stall to carry a table, banners, an A-frame blackboard, and boxes of flyers/rights guides/other merch - not to mention the free snacks we provide for those who stop by.
I don't know what else to add here, a lifetime of living on or below the bread line has taught me to budget well enough that on a long enough timeline I could save for a van myself, but we don't have years to beat these pricks, which is why I'm asking for help.
I'm not good at asking for help, but this is for a very good cause, one I truly believe in, so I'm not going to hesitate to ask for assistance with making this a reality.
I should note, for public liability reasons, the van will not be owned by the union because the cost of setting all that up is beyond the scope of a small anti-poverty union run by volunteers.
Any money leftover after the purchase of the van will be donated to AUWU.
- Goof Barnes
- Jordan Messenger
- John August
- Jeremy Grey
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