Monday, 18 March 2013


 Last year the British Heart Foundation boasted about their involvement in Government Workfare Schemes in all their shops, “Around 1,000 of (the people working in their shops] are on placements with us through Work Programme schemes and 600 [people working in their shops] are placements on Mandatory Work Activity.”

More and more volunteers, customers and members of the public have been speaking out against their exploitation of the unemployed on these forced unpaid labour schemes. Many veteran volunteers have left BHF in disgust as charity shops are swamped with unwilling conscripts. Workfare contradicts the voluntary ethos charities are supposed to uphold.

Pickets, occupations and an online campaign forced BHF to finally withdraw from the Workfare Scheme, Mandatory Work Activity, but they are still involved with another Workfare Scheme, the Work Programme. BHF are trying to pretend that the Work Programme is voluntary, but they have been told that the unemployed face losing benefits if they do not comply with the Work Programme. BHF have to sign a contract stating that they will inform the Department for Work and Pensions if a benefits claimant does not comply. The Work Programme gives Workfare Provider Companies the power to mandate the unemployed, including sick and disabled benefit claimants, to undertake compulsory work placements.

BHF said they recently established an important partnership with Job Centre Plus to actively promote volunteering as an option for anyone who is unemployed and wants to gain work experience. Because JCP is involved the 'work experience' is not voluntary. Again the unemployed will have their benfits cut if they do not comply. Workfare does not help the unemployed. Only a tiny percentage of people on Workfare go on to get paid employment. Please keep up the pressure and help make sure this charity which has profited from exploiting 100s of unemployed people pulls out of Workfare entirely.

BHF welcome their supporters contacting them directly if they have any questions about their participation in the Work Programme. Please email You can complain about the British Heart Foundation's involvement with Workfare via the contact page on their website. Ask them to make a clear public statement that they will immediately withdraw from all Government Workfare Schemes. You can also contact them on Facebook and by faxing or phoning -
Sarah Davies, Customer Services Manager, BHF - Retail Division
Fax - 01372 477509 (send free faxes from
Tel - 01372 477373

This picket is part of a 'Boycott Workfare' National Week Of Action. They have information on other charities that use Workfare on their website:

Thanks to Boycott Workfare campaigns the PDSA and Sense withdrew from Workfare last month. Cancer Research UK, Age UK and Scope withdrew at the end of last year.

A guide to all Workfare Schemes and advice on how to avoid them can be found here:

Organised by the Crutch Collective -
Claimants Resisting Unfair Treatment, Cuts and Harassment –

& the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network - c/o

Backed by
Clydeside Industrial Workers Of The World –!/pages/Clydeside-IWW/216550781713688

Glasgow Right to Work Campaign -

Unite the Union Community Branch – c/o Jack Ferguson, Unite Scotland Community Coordinator 07711 376562.

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