Rhyming For Rights

The CWU Education & Training Dept were delighted to take part in the first Rhyme For Rights workshop with popular spoken word artist Potent Whisper.

The venue for our first workshop was The Winch youth centre in North Camden, and area that is extremely diverse but also suffers from significant deprivation and inequality. One in three children in the area grow up in poverty – which increases the risk of poor health, lower earnings and shorter lives.

When the Old Winchester Arms pub closed in 1969 it was squatted by a group of local community activists. Since then they have worked with thousands of children, young people and their families to improve their life chances, supporting them from childhood to career. They provide activities including, health, housing, advice and education. The CWU was delighted to work with them to deliver a free workshop to explore language, self-expression and the world of work.

“There are times when this is the best job in the world,” said Paul Dovey of the CWU Education & Training Dept. “It was a great night and we were made to feel really welcome. Everyone threw themselves into the activities and debate with great enthusiasm. They were a really switched-on bunch, asking some really sensible questions and making some sharply observed comments. The future is in good hands.”

During the course of the workshop Potent Whisper led participants through breathing techniques, principles of poetry, and how to identify and describe feelings about our lives. After Paul led a discussion around rights at work we then created a group poem around the theme of workers’ rights – and this is the result.

I just joined a union cos together we’re stronger,
My employer think they got me by the collar,
But I am the wonga – I make their dollar,
So they best treat me right so I can stay longer,

They’re trying to pay me a store wage (naaaahhh!),
But I’m not on that, I’m trying to get more pay,
Trying to get me out now, boot me through the doorway,
But I know the procedure and this ain’t on your page,

We know our rights and believe me we’ll fight,
We’ll organise first and, if we have to, we’ll strike,
There’s power in numbers, that’s why we unite,
And we’ll keep it moving until we reach those higher heights,

Up the builders, up the nurses,
Up the cleaners, up the workers!

If you would like to organise a Rhyme For Rights workshop contact pdovey@cwu.org