New Pendle poverty campaign named in honour of suffragist

The launch
The launch

A new charitable campaign to tackle poverty in Pendle has been set up and named in honour of a local suffragist.

“Selina’s Gift” a new period poverty campaign for Pendle had its official launch at Unity Hall in Nelson.

Named in honour of Pendle suffragist and social campaigner Selina Cooper, who did much to ease the burden of Lancashire mill workers in the early years of the 20th Century, the project is the brainchild of community group Pendle Momentum.

The launch took the form of a community Christmas dinner and party with families from across the borough in the aptly named “Selina Cooper Room” at Unity Hall, Nelson.

As well as a traditional Christmas roast, the families had a visit from Father Christmas with adults and children receiving gifts, before playing traditional games such as pass the parcel. Volunteers helped to serve the food as well as organise the activities.

The event was made possible with support from Homestart, Pendle Labour Party, local businesses, including Morrison’s (Nelson) and Towneley Garden Centre (who provided a 7ft Christmas tree), as well as financial donations from Unite the Union branches across the north west.

Pendle Momentum chairman Margaret Mackenzie said: “I’m blown away by the amount of support we have been given, not only for the launch but for the ongoing Selina’s Gift project.

"Selina Cooper did so much for the Pendle community and particularly the mill girls, by campaigning for improved hygiene conditions. We are proud to be continuing her work, although, in this day and age it is a shame that we have to. In the new year we will be rolling out the project across the borough, working with agencies such as Homestart as well as schools and colleges.”

Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Pendle, County Coun. Azhar Ali, who also volunteered on the event, said: “It just shows what can be achieved when everybody pulls together. It was a fantastic afternoon; all of the volunteers had worked so hard to get it off the ground and made an amazing job of it.

"The room looked beautiful and the food was great. The smiles on the faces of the children made it all worthwhile and that is what Christmas should be about.”