Anti workfare demonstrators have won a victory in Edinburgh as the Hospices of Hope charity shop in Stockbridge has withdrawn from workfare. Protestors converged on the shop in Deanhaugh Street on the morning of 29th June, following reports of the charity's involvement in the Community Work Placements scheme.

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty protestors explained to the shop manager how claimants were forced to work for nothing under threat of sanctions, and urged Hospices of Hope to join the near 600 charities who have signed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement to boycott workfare.

After a short discussion the manager agreed to withdraw from the schemes, and end all placements immediately. She promised to tell workfare provider Learndirect that the shop would take no more placements.

Now ECAP have approached the other Hospices of Hope shops in Edinburgh, at Tollcross and Gorgie, and urged their managers to take the same principled stand. We are also contacting Hospices of Hope head office to ask the charity as a whole to sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.

Buoyed by this success on 29th June, demonstrators next moved a few doors down Deanhaugh Street and visited notorious workfare users DEBRA. The manager here explained that the decision to use workfare came from higher up the charity. A phone call to the DEBRA area manager confirmed their continued use of the exploiting schemes, and as ECAP protestors took up position at the door of the DEBRA charity shop, the manager closed the shop for the duration of the one and a half hour protest.

DEBRA write: " For any concerns or compliments regarding our charity shops please contact"

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EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY is based at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), an open campaign space & infoshop providing resources and solidarity. Resources available include free computer/internet access, cheap copying, free leaflets, books, pamphlets and mags for sale, and a library. Every Tuesday from 12 to 3pm support and solidarity is available for benefits, debt hassles, housing and other problems. Please contact us at Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA, 0131 557 6242 or We invite you to join our solidarity phone tree and get involved. ACE is also open at other times for particular events (but the support and solidarity sessions are only on Tuesday).