Over the last two weeks, our local groups across England, Scotland and Wales have braved the January weather to spread the word about our movement, our mission, and recruit more people – with street stalls, leafleting and more.
Here at EMUK local groups are the beating heart of the organisation, they are the face of EMUK across the country and help spread awareness around the negative implications of Brexit and the important work the European Movement is doing. We want to personally thank all the local groups that got involved with the January membership drive and would love to share some of the great stories and discussions that took place across the two action-day weekends.
According to Richard Newcombe, Chair of Waltham Forest it was “a very cold but very productive morning in Wanstead High Street London E11. Almost everyone who stopped to engage with us was pro-EU and very dissatisfied with the current situation.”
“We had a Brexitometer which was very successful in attracting people to engage and discuss how much had been lost because of Brexit. It also showed the overall attitude towards the failures of Brexit. We gave out several hundred leaflets encouraging people to join the European Movement.”
Beverley Haigh-Jones and her group down in Cornwall had some important conversations relating to Erasmus+, lost opportunities and freedom of movement.
“We spoke with a nice lady who was very keen to talk and put her dots on our Brexitometer and was particularly keen on our support for Erasmus+. Her daughter had wanted to study in Spain, had filled out all the forms relevant to the Turin scheme, but was refused. From what they have gathered from other people who have had the same experience, they believe that there is just too much hassle for Spain in trying to get the support funding from the UK government and they are only accepting UK students if they are self-funding”.
We spoke with another man who has a property in France which he was hoping to retire to, but has now decided to sell, as the 90 days in 180 restriction would make his plan untenable. (We heard this over and over throughout the day).
“Finally, we had another encounter with two young men who have training which would have provided opportunities for them to work in Europe but have now lost that option. One is now heading to Australia to take advantage of their new free movement policy and the other has just managed to acquire an Irish passport courtesy of an ancestor”.
According to Heather Glass, Lambeth for Europe had “a very successful Lambeth for Europe action day, with 10 volunteers distributing 3,000 postcards across Streatham Hill West & Thornton ward. While we were setting up at Hyde Farm cafe (excellent Italian coffee and snacks) we had several enquiries from passersby who'd spotted our postcards and were keen to know more about EM.”
“It's great to see EM membership rocketing during January and we're pleased to have played our part in that!”
Rhiannon Barrar reported back on the success of Swansea for Europe. And even recorded this inviting video encouraging people to get involved on the actual action day.
“We were delighted that ten volunteers turned out for the Day of Action. This included three who haven’t been active for a while. Activities started at 11.00am with a street stall in the pretty Victorian seaside village of Mumbles, Swansea. Luckily storm Isha obliged us by arriving on the following day and the weather was mostly dry. Usually bustling on a Saturday morning, it was rather quiet but the majority of those we spoke to were for a close EU/UK relationship and anger at the UK’s government’s handling of trade deals particularly the problems with getting medicines into the UK after Brexit.”
“Some people however showed a lack of awareness of how Brexit has discouraged business investment in the UK. One person thought that the entrepreneurs in Dragon’s Den were providing plenty of investment! We in the European Movement must fill this knowledge gap! After a quick lunch in the iconic Davies of Mumbles Café, we leafleted streets in central Mumbles distributing 500 leaflets in all.”
Thank you again to all the groups, volunteers, and local activists who took part in the 2024 Membership Action Day. Thanks to your hard work and determination, public opinion is shifting, and we are growing our movement at a faster rate than ever before.