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North Dorset may have a ‘veneer of affluence’ but underneath many ordinary people are struggling, a meeting to set up a Momentum group for the area was told last month.

Francesca Cupido from Gillingham, who is one of the people behind the planned North Dorset Momentum group, told a meeting at Gillingham’s town hall that people were facing serious issues ‘right under our noses’, citing the introduction of Universal Credit benefit and the growing need for Foodbanks as two examples.

She also said that the new group would need people to educate and inform young people in schools and colleges ‘because a lot of young people in this area are already very interested in Momentum’.

The meeting was addressed by Pat Osborne, the chair of North Dorset Labour Party and the party’s candidate at the last general election. He said an issue which had always been present in the area but which had got worse over the last ten years was the combination of low wages and high cost of housing, which forced many young people to quit North Dorset.

‘It’s a reality for most grandparents and parents that the children move away … to have fulfilling, good jobs with good pay.’ For many parents and grandparents this meant following their children around or accepting that they would grow up in a different part of the country.

‘That’s not a sustainable community,’ Pat Osborne said, saying that for him a key part of the Labour movement was rooted in protecting communities and helping them flourish. ‘I don’t see that in North Dorset at the moment the way the economy is geared in terms of housing and low pay,’ he added.

The next Momentum meeting is a Gillingham Town Hall in School Road, on 12 December from 8pm to 9.30pm. For more details contact Francesca Cupido at francesca.cupido@hotmail.com or go to https://peoplesmomentum.com/about.

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