date: 17 March 2011
embargo: 00.01hrs Saturday 19 March 2011
The TUC is publishing guidance today (Saturday) for first-time marchers one week before the TUC's March for the Alternative in London on Saturday 26 March.
With this expected to be the largest TUC event for many decades and the first national mobilisation against spending cuts viewed as unfair, too deep and too quick by a majority of voters, the TUC says that it is important to be prepared so the day is as successful and enjoyable as possible for everyone taking part.
The TUC's top ten tips for first-time marchers - which old hands may also find useful - are:
Tell everyone about it! Bring along your family, friends and colleagues to share the day. Having good company along always makes for a fun day out, and spreading the word will really boost the size of the march. How many people can you bring with you?
Wear comfortable shoes. The march route from Embankment to Hyde Park is nearly three miles long - and if it's been raining, Hyde Park can get very muddy - so wear flat shoes, trainers or boots.
Be prepared for the weather. It will be quite a long day and March weather can be unpredictable. You might need a coat, jumper, hat, gloves, umbrella - or even sunscreen and sunglasses! If you are a public servant and normally wear a uniform wear that on the day, unless that will get you into trouble!
Keep hydrated. You might not always be near a shop or newsagents, so bring a bottle of water and other soft drinks to keep you refreshed. Cafes and kiosks in Hyde Park will be open as usual but with thousands expected to attend, it may be some time before you see the Park gates.
Don't go hungry. Bring a packed lunch and snacks as the march and rally take place over lunch time - and if you're marching near towards the back, it may be nearer tea time before you get to the rally.
Bring a rucksack. A rucksack or a bag you can wear across your body are useful for carrying things easily - and leave your hands free for flags! Don't forget to pack any inhalers or medicine you usually take.
Enjoy the sights.The march route will take you from the Embankment, up Whitehall and past Trafalgar Square, along Piccadilly and into Hyde Park. It's an opportunity to see London in a different way without the traffic. Don't worry about getting lost if you don't know London. It'll be very obvious where the march is going, and there will be stewards every few hundred metres to help out.
Look after other people. Treat everyone with respect and look out for anyone who needs help or assistance on the way round. If you want to help others even more, why not volunteer to be a steward?
Arrive on time and know your way home. Be patient - with more than 100,000 marchers the march will be leaving the assembly point from 12noon to well after 2 pm and possibly later. If you're coming by public transport think about coming later rather than early, and try to join the march from the rear - think of tube stations like Mansion House and Southwark. If you're coming on a coach make sure you know where the pick-up point is and what time the coach will be leaving. Check your route back to underground and overground train stations from Hyde Park. Ask the police or march stewards if you're unsure.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Thousands of people across the UK are already being affected by the cuts, and many more will lose their jobs or vital public services like libraries or SureStart centres for their children in coming months.
'The march is a chance for all of those who've been hit by the cuts - public sector workers, voluntary groups, community organisations, unions and families - to unite and show that there is an alternative to the government's deep cuts in public spending.
'We are planning the day to be safe, well-stewarded and family-friendly. We're working closely with the police and other authorities to make sure this will be well-organised, and that nothing will distract from the message of the day.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The TUC March for the Alternative is taking place in central London on Saturday 26 March. The march will form up from 11am on the Victoria Embankment between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges and proceed through central London until reaching Hyde Park, where the rally will start from around 1.30pm.
- Further info about the logistics of the march and reasons why people are marching for an alternative to the cuts is available at www.marchforthealternative.org.uk
- People wanting to find out about transport to the march in their local area should visit www.falseeconomy.org.uk/themarch
- Journalists wanting to arrange interviews with TUC leaders before the march or looking for media access to the march and rally should speak to the TUC press office.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: [email protected]
Issued: 19 March, 2011