Seagull Weekly Briefing 27/03

All the top stories from across the city.

Seagull Weekly Briefing 27/03
Source: The Brighton Seagull 

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Monday Briefing. It's been a big week for us at Seagull HQ: last week, we reached 1,000 email newsletter subscribers! We're very excited, and very grateful for everyone who's decided to join the flock. Whether you've been here since day one or stumbled across us this morning, welcome!

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News This Week

'GMB Three' found not guilty in 20 minute trial

A photo from outside the law courts, of protestors, bin lorries and union flags.
Source: The Brighton Seagull 

On Friday 24th March, a number of groups including ACORN Brighton, UCU, and Sussex Defend the NHS, as well as a number of Labour councillors, rallied outside of the Law Courts in support of the ‘GMB Three’.

Last May, regional organiser for the GMB trade union Gary Palmer, along with fellow union members Declan MacIntyre and Carl Turner, were arrested at a Sussex bin workers’ picket in Wealden on the charge of obstructing a highway.

Their case was quickly overturned as the picket took place on private land, and Palmer, MacIntyre, and Turner were declared not guilty within twenty minutes.

As well as a number of bin lorries honking their support in an organised ‘drive-by’, speakers at the rally included our very own Deputy Editor, who said of the case:

We cannot let this set a precedent for future crackdowns on protest, and [ACORN Brighton] will continue to stand with Gary [Palmer] and the GMB Three whatever the results of this case.

Above all, this shows that they are scared of the power of trade unions, and they should be–we are strong, and we are even stronger together.

The GMB has been fighting for workers’ rights for over 130 years, and we are here to make sure that continues.

Councillors write to Home Secretary asking for intervention for Brighton family

A photo of Ann and her father, hugging and smiling.
Source: Georgia Hamilton

On Friday, Councillors Phélim Mac Cafferty and Hannah Allbrooke wrote to Suella Braverman MP to ask her to intervene in the deportation of Ann, Enji and Giehan.

This is following Allbrooke's public commitment to students at Cardinal Newman Catholic School to do so at a vigil in support of Ann, held by her friends.

In the letter, they said:

As we are sure your department is aware, Ann, Enji and their mother Giehan arrived in this country from Sudan in 2019. They have recently been informed that their appeal for asylum has been rejected and they face deportation.

Since arriving in this country, they have embedded themselves in our community in Brighton and Hove. Ann is a well-regarded member of her school community, studying towards her GCSEs. Enji is a pharmacy student who volunteered to help the covid-19 vaccination effort.

Irrespective of their individual achievements, it is clear that should they return to Sudan they will face persecution. Enji was imprisoned as a political prisoner in Sudan before they arrived in this country seeking our sanctuary.

Their father has been uncontactable and is presumed imprisoned or worse still, dead. We believe it is extremely likely, should they return to Sudan, that they will face persecution.

At the time of writing, the petition asking for them not to be deported has more than 7,490 signatures.

Snoopers Paradise founder passes

A photo of John Thompson smiling outside of Snoopers Paradise.
Source: Snoopers Paradise

The Seagull would like to pay its respects to John Thompson, co-founder of Snoopers Paradise who passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday 15th March.

He started working with his father, Frank, in his house clearance business in Kensington Gardens in the early 1990s. Soon after, they founded Snoopers Paradise.

With the help of his best friend Nicholas Drinkwater (who passed away in May 2021), John carved the huge building up into affordable rental units for micro traders, creating the North Laine's much loved indoor flea market which he christened ‘Snoopers Paradise’.

Together, John and Nic ran the business for close to 30 years.

John is survived by his wife Julia, four children, and a huge community of international friends who all loved him very much. He spent his final years travelling around Europe with his wife Julia and their much loved dog, Jacko.

His funeral will take place on Thursday at midday at Woodvale Crematorium, and the shop will be shut to mark his passing.

Those who wish to attend are asked to carry or wear a little something pink as a nod to John’s favourite colour.

For those who are unable to attend but wish to pay their respects, the funeral cortege will arrive at the top of North Road around 11am on Thursday before slowly passing down the road followed by some of John’s friends on motorbikes.

At John’s request, there will be family flowers only and any donations can be made to Sarcoma UK.

There is a memory book at the front desk for anyone who wants to share a tale or two, or email [email protected].

Madeira Lift will not open this year, or next, or maybe even the year after

Madeira Lift will not open this year due to needing extensive repair work on the lift shaft.

A new lift close by will be built during the restoration work to Madeira Terrace, but this will not be complete until at least 2025.

A notice on the lift says:

A new survey has shown the lift shaft can no longer support the weight of the old lift and the original plan to upgrade it is no longer viable.

Since the terrace was closed in 2016, the lift has not opened at deck level and exits solely into the Concorde 2 nightclub.

A new fully accessible lift designed to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility scooters is to be installed at the Royal Crescent Steps in 2025.

It will have lighting and security to provide 24 hours a day access for all to Madeira Drive and the deck from Marine Parade.

🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • Afrori Books has found a new building and will reopen in it on the 23rd of April. More to come when we know!
  • Small Batch Coffee has closed three of its branches in Wilbury Road, Seven Dials and Norfolk Square. The ones in Camden Street, Portslade and Goldstone Villas will stay open. In a note on the Seven Dials and Wilbury Road doors, they said the closures are to focus on their coffee and roastery.
  • A quick VERA talk update: Because January's talk had to be cancelled, it has been moved to this Wednesday. This month's talk at Patcham Community Centre will be Brian Meredith talking about 'The Royan Tramway', an interesting little line in France that suffered from damage and invasion by the Germans in both World Wars. It starts at 7:30—admission is free, but they appreciate a donation towards running costs.
  • King Alfred pools are reopening this Saturday! Launching on the same day is free swimming for all those aged 18 and under in the city at King Alfred, Prince Regent Swimming Complex and St Luke's Community Swimming Pool.
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

Calls for more Homes for Ukraine hosts

What's happening? Following the first anniversary of the Homes for Ukraine scheme on March 14th, the council carried out a survey with Ukrainians who moved to Brighton under the scheme to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences and concerns, and help us plan future support.

That's good! It was designed with the Ukrainian community and translated into Ukrainian!

Nice! What did the survey reveal? Overwhelmingly, a need for more housing. An 'overwhelming' majority of participants feel very welcome in Brighton. The help of a host has in fact been identified as the most positive factor after their arrival, with the support of a community, accessible education and a safe and friendly environment appearing as reoccurring themes.

What priorities have been identified? Housing, language provision, financial resources, employment, access to health care, and integration.

What other information do we have? The majority of respondents have reported being unemployed, working in fields unrelated to their experience like hospitality and food production, or working in more junior positions. Education levels are high: almost half have a bachelor's or higher degree, and over a third have a master's or higher. One of the main obstacles in finding work is a language barrier.

How many Ukrainian refugees are in Brighton? Through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, 472.

Tell us more about the housing needs. Many people expressed the desire to find their own rental property after their stay with hosts. More than a third have contacted the council for help finding accommodation.

What can I do to help? The council is encouraging hosts to extend the accommodation where they can and appealing for more Homes for Ukraine hosts. They're looking for hosts who can commit to at least 6 months: hosts will get £350 a month as a thank you, as well as information, advice and support from the council's Ukrainian Response team.

For hosts who have housed someone for more than a year, they will get an increased payment of £500 a month.

How can I find out more? Phone 01273 293 117 and choose option 2 or send an email to [email protected]. Alternatively, the council is currently holding information, advice and support drop-ins for Ukrainian refugees, hosts and anyone considering becoming a host at Jubilee Library from 10am to 12.30pm daily.

That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!