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Seaham School petition hand in

July 22nd, 2014 by

On Thursday 17th July 5 members of the New School – New Pool (like for like) campaign  headed down to Downing Street to hand over their petition of 6,700 signatures to David Cameron. The five travelled by train from their small ex mining town of Seaham on the East Coast of County Durham down to the capital London.

Seaham School of Technology was due to get a new school under the old Building School’s for the Future programme by the last government however due to the change in government this scheme was abandoned and their plans were halted.  However funds from central government have now been released to build a new school however the new school fails to have the same facilities as the existing one.

Kay Temple, a 38degrees member, started the petition back in December 2013 and has had the support of the community behind her.  She found out about the new school not having the pool and thought it was unfair and unjust for the future children of Seaham to lose out on the only decent sized learning pool they have in the town.  She wanted to make people aware of what they were losing and found that lots of people were actually in the dark about the school and losing their swimming facility, this then prompted her to set up the petition.

The Seaham Community has been brought together by this petition and they are asking for the government to replace the school with like for like.

Local MP Grahame Morris has supported the campaign from the off and his office in London arranged for the team to hand over the petition to David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.

As well as the online petition, numerous paper copies of the petition had been handed around the community in places of work, community centres, libraries, and local businesses and the combined total of signatures supporting the cause came  to 6,700.

Like Kay, If there’s an issue close to your heart, then you can start a campaign on Campaigns by You.  Thousands of people are already running campaigns on a whole range of issues, from protecting our public services like busses and libraries, through to saving our NHS or even saving local beavers!

Click here to start your campaign today.

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Bees 1: Syngenta 0

July 4th, 2014 by

Wonderful news, we’ve protected our bees! Yesterday Syngenta withdrew their controversial application to allow their banned bee-killer pesticides back on UK fields.

Owen Paterson, the environment minister, sided with Syngenta. But the decision was deemed so toxic that it was brought all the way up to the Prime Minister and his cabinet to discuss.

The day before the big meeting, the huge people-powered petition signed by over 200,000 of us was delivered to the PM’s desk. [2] And on the morning of the meeting, hundreds of us swarmed on Downing St to confront the ministers as they arrived. [3]

Dressed as bee-keepers, bees and pesticides, and with a host of other campaign organisations we chanted at the top of our voices and left the ministers in no doubt that we expected them to put our bees before Syngenta’s profits. Alongside 38 Degrees members, a huge range of campaign organisations came along. Buglife, Client Earth, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association all joined the campaign.

And it worked! The government stalled and didn’t announce a decision, forcing Syngenta to back down. Syngenta had said that unless a decision was made by the beginning of July, it would be too late to use the pesticides this year.

38 Degrees members have a great history of protecting our countryside and wildlife. From campaigning for the European ban in the first place, through to stopping our forests from being sold off, we have shown we’re prepared to organise both online and in person to make change happen.

We have a small and nimble staff team which means we can move quickly to launch campaigns like this to protect our bees, and 38 Degrees is 100% funded by its members. Lots and lots of people chipping in a small amount soon adds up, and means that together we can take on goliath companies like Syngenta and win!

We still need to keep our eyes peeled. Syngenta have said they’re going to re-apply next year. And our so-called environment minister still doesn’t back the ban or believe the science. But, for this summer at least, our bees will be buzzing around our fields and gardens, safe from any new Syngenta pesticides.



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Bees: Swarm on Downing Street

July 1st, 2014 by

This morning hundreds of 38 Degrees members joined a host of campaign organisations to swarm on Downing Street to protect our bees.

David Cameron was meeting his cabinet to decide whether to allow banned bee killing pesticides to be used on fields across the UK. Unbelievably, a mega pesticide company called Syngenta has just made an emergency appeal after their product was banned across Europe last year due to the risk it poses to our bees.

Yesterday we handed in our huge people-powered petition to No.10 Downing St so that it landed on David Cameron’s desk before the big meeting.

This morning, as MPs turned up at the cabinet meeting they were greeted by hundreds of people chanting at them to do the right thing, and protect our bees. We wanted to make sure that the ministers were in no doubt that not only scientists, but the public too were demanding that they stop the bee killer pesticides.

We all arrived at 8am, bright and early in the morning, ready to catch the ministers as they walked into the meeting.  Alongside 38 Degrees a huge range of campaign organisations came along, Buglife, Client Earth, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association all joined the campaign.  We even had Barry Gardiner MP (The Shadow Environment minister) join us and chant along.

Armed with spotter cards we kept our eyes peeled for the ministers as they walked into the cabinet meeting.  Each one was greeted with chants to save our bees and stop the Syngenta pesticides from being used on our fields.

“David Cameron, just say no – Tell Syngenta where to go!”

“What do we want? Bees! When do we want them? Forever!”

“All we are saying, is give bees a chance!”

We managed to spot lots of the politicians walking in through the front entrance of Downing Street.  David Cameron, Vince Cable, Grant Shapps, William Hague and many more.  Unfortunately we think Owen Paterson (the environment minister) snuck in through a back door.  As David Cameron walked up and waved, the crowd literally swarmed on Downing Street chanting “save our bees!” and chased him into the meeting with a rousing chorus of chants.

Watch this space to see what happens next.

David Cameron and his cabinet should be in no doubt as to what the world expects of them.

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David Cameron: Save our bees

June 26th, 2014 by

Our bees are in danger again! On Tuesday, David Cameron and his cabinet are going to decide whether to allow banned bee killing pesticides to be used on fields across the UK. Unbelievably, a mega pesticide company called Syngenta has just made an emergency appeal after their product was banned across Europe last year due to the risk it poses to our bees.

We’ve not got long to act. But if enough of us make a huge fuss right now, we could persuade David Cameron to throw out Syngenta’s request and uphold the ban.

Can you sign a petition to David Cameron right now demanding that he protects our bees?

The powerful pesticides that Europe banned last year are called neonicotinoids – and they pose a huge risk to bees.  Even though there is a Europe-wide ban on these pesticides, David Cameron could override it – but only in emergency circumstances.

Bees pollinate apples, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and many many more of our fruit and veg.  Without bees, we wouldn’t last very long!

Now Syngenta are trying to wriggle out of the ban, even though yesterday, scientists from across the world said there’s ‘conclusive’ evidence that Syngenta’s products are killing our bees.  And just last week, Barack Obama called for a wholesale review of the pesticides.

Matt Shardlow, chief executive of bee-friendly charity Buglife said: “If the government approves Syngenta’s kneejerk and cynical application then the public are bound to question whether ministers are too close to the agrochemical companies and too distant from the ecology that feeds us.”

Please can you demand that David Cameron puts our bees before Syngenta’s profits?

Our bees don’t have a voice, but previously hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees members have fought for them. We’ve marched on Parliament Square, we’ve signed petitions, we’ve sent thousands of emails and we’ve challenged the environment minister Owen Paterson in person. And we’ve worked alongside campaigners from across Europe to get these killer pesticides banned.

Now, before Tuesday, we need to pull out all the stops – again – to stop Syngenta sneaking through the back door and breaking the European ban.

Click here to sign the petition and put David Cameron under pressure to uphold the law

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Water cannon petition hand-in

June 24th, 2014 by


On Thursday 38 Degrees members handed in our 23,000 person strong water cannon petition to Theresa May at the Home Office.

The Police have made an application to Theresa May for grant them permission to use water cannon on the streets of England & Wales. The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) says that the need to control continued protests “from ongoing and potential future austerity measures” justifies the introduction of water cannon in Britain for the first time.

But 38 Degrees member Neal started a petition calling on Theresa May to reject the application.

Neal says:

“I started this petition back in January for several reasons: partly it was because the case put forward by the police was contradictory and inconsistent, partly because I fear the weaponisation of the police force, but largely because I believe the British public would never support this if asked. And having collected over 23,000 signatures already I think we’ve shown that the British public do not want water cannon on our streets. The messages from those who signed, the support of the majority of the London Assembly, and the public rejection of these weapons by members of the police force has given me great hope that Theresa May will see sense and reject the request from ACPO.

But I think it’s important that we remember Thursday’s hand-in was not the end of this process, in many ways it’s the start. We need to keep the pressure on, keep the noise up, if we want Theresa May to hear what we have to say. She’s heard from 23,000 of us collectively, but individual messages from the public through email, phone calls, or even face to face from her constituents in Maidenhead could have a profound affect on her decision. Please keep letting Theresa May know that we do not want water cannon on our streets.”

Several 38 Degrees members turned up at the home office to hand in the petition along with Caroline Pidgeon AM who has already spoken out against the London Mayor in his attempts to bring water cannon to the streets of London.

A representative from Theresa’s office came down to officially accept the petition and ensure that it lands straight on her desk.  Watch this space to see how the campaign develops and please share the petition with your friends and family.

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Campaigning works!

June 11th, 2014 by

This morning the postman delivered this letter from Jenny Willott MP to the 38 Degrees office.

It’s from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills and is in response to the petition that CAMRA & 38 Degrees members handed in asking for the government to introduce a pubs watchdog to protect our valued pubs.

Here’s everyone at Parliament just before we handed in the petition:

And here’s a link to the petition itself, to read more about the issue.

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Campaign Win! End the Pubco Scandal

June 4th, 2014 by

Great News! After a long campaign and nearly 45,000 people signed a petition, the government have today announced plans for a Pubs Watchdog to protect our pubs from unfair business practices in the pub industry.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, used the 38 Degrees website Campaigns By You to launch a nation-wide petition – “Let’s call time on the great British pub scandal”. The petition called on Vince Cable to stick to his promise to introduce a Pubs Watchdog. Today in the Queens Speech, the government unveiled their plans to create a Pubs Adjudicator and Statutory Code.

Last month CAMRA representatives, pub campaigners and 38 Degrees members met outside Parliament to hand in their 44,662-strong petition to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

CAMRA said “Over the last decade many thousands of pubs have been lost as big pub companies have squeezed them out of existence with sky-high rents and beer prices. With 28 pubs closing a week it is vital that publicans, who are on the frontline of keeping our valued community pubs open, are given protection from heavy handed business practices from the big pubcos. The Government’s introduction of a Pubs Adjudicator is another line of defence in protecting the nation’s pubs.

The Adjudicator will ensure that publicans are treated fairly and will crack down on cases of inflated rents and excessive beer prices charged to publicans. There will be more power to the licensee to ensure they are no worse off than their free-of-tie counterparts.”

Read more about the 10 year long campaign that CAMRA have been running.

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Privatising child protection services

May 28th, 2014 by

Would you trust private companies like G4S, Atos or Serco to look after vulnerable children? Or to influence decisions about taking children into care? Protecting children is one of the most difficult and sensitive roles for a government to perform. But education secretary Michael Gove is consulting on whether to outsource this role to profit making companies.

If we want to stop this, we don’t have long – the consultation closes this Friday. So far, the issue’s had very little media coverage, and the consultation has barely been publicised. If thousands of us write in today, we can show Michael Gove that we’re watching – and make sure he drops these plans.

Please can you write to the consultation today

Decisions by child protection professionals affect lives and can break up families, these decisions should be kept miles away from any hint of a profit motive. Adoption services have already been protected from privatisation. And there’s no evidence to suggest that outsourcing services is a good idea anyway.

The government’s proposal argues that letting private companies provide children’s services will encourage innovation. But we all saw the mess that G4S made of providing security at the Olympics, would we really want them to care for vulnerable children’s lives?

Experts have already voiced outrage at the plans, now we need to hammer the message home with people power.  Previously when 38 Degrees members have responded to Michael Gove’s consultations, our voices have been heard loud and clear. Last year, he dropped his plans to remove climate change from school curriculums after we wrote in our thousands to oppose them.

Can you write into the consultation and help stop these plans today


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May 15th, 2014 by

Click on image to enlarge

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVERYONE! Exactly 5 years ago today 38 Degrees sent its first ever email!

Since then we’ve grown into a movement of 2.5 million people. A movement which exists to promote positive social change, to protect the environment and to challenge injustice.

Thank you so so much to everyone who’s joined in on this amazing journey! Here’s to the next five years!

What’s been your favourite campaign or moment? What campaigns have you been involved in? What should we do next?

Here are some of the highlights from the past 5 wonderful years:

May 2009: First ever 38 Degrees email sent
August 2009: 38 Degrees reaches 10,000 members
Nov 2009: Members quiz Ed Miliband about climate change

March 2010: 38 Degrees reaches 100,000 members
July 2010: WIN! 38 Degrees members save BBC 6 Music
July 2010: Save our forests campaign is launched

Feb 2011: WIN! 38 Degrees members stop the Forests sell off
May 2011: 38 Degrees members hand in the massive ‘Save the NHS’ petition to Nick Clegg
July 2011: WIN! We stop Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB

Jan 2012: Health and Social Care act passed, 38 Degrees members vow to continue the fight
Mar 2012: 38 Degrees reaches 1 Million members
May 2012: Thousands of us switched energy suppliers to challenge the big energy companies
July 2012: WIN! 38 Degrees members force the Olympic sponsors not to dodge their tax
July 2012: Campaigns by You is launched!
Nov 2012: 38 Degrees wins Liberty Human Rights award

Jan 2013: A petition on Campaigns By You stopped a nuclear dump in the Lake district
April 2013: 38 Degrees members join the March of the Beekeepers on Parliament Sq with a petition of 285,000
May 2013: 38 Degrees members switch away from tax dodging Npower to teach them a lesson
July 2013: The government propose the gagging law – we launch a huge campaign to stop it
August 2013: Together we donated over £50,000 to help local fights against fracking
Nov 2013: Members gave £477,143 to help the Typhoon relief effort in the Philippines

Jan 2014: The gagging law vote is down to the wire. It’s a tie, but the gagging law is now law
February 2014: WIN! Together we force NHS England to pause the Care.data scheme
April 2014 – 38 Degrees members go door to door and register thousands of new voters
May 2014 – WIN! 38 Degrees members stop the Hospital Closure Clause
May 2014: We’re now 2.5 million strong

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Frome plane tree saved!

April 11th, 2014 by

38 Degrees Member Julian from Frome heard that a landmark local tree was at risk of being chopped down by developers, so he started a petition on Campaigns by You to stop them. Last week they had some great news, the tree was saved!

Here’s Julian’s story of his campaign:

Photo courtesy Frome Times

“In February this year, a property developer applied for a planning application to fell a mature London Plane Tree in my town – Frome in Somerset. Just 6 months ago, the tree had been granted a Tree Preservation Order, but unfortunately the TPO would not save the tree from Pangmore Development’s application if approved by Mendip District Council.
One of the last trees in the town centre and certainly the last tree of note in the Kingsway precinct, the Plane is a specimen town centre tree and plays a major contribution in the character of the Conservation Area. Its felling would be a major loss to the aesthetic quality of the town.

I was concerned that the tree would be lost, so I set up a petition on the 38 degrees website ‘Save the Frome Plane Tree‘, and publicised it using social media. At first I recognised names on the petition – friends and people I knew around the town – but fairly soon it went ‘mini-viral’ at a rate of knots, and seemed to take on a life of its own. I was hoping for a few hundred signatures of support, but within a week the petition had gained 2,745 signatures – almost exclusively with Frome postcodes – and I realised the strength of feeling for Frome’s green monument.

Around 10% of the town’s population had signed up.

While the petition counted as only one objection to the planning application in the eyes of the council, it raised awareness of the trees plight and prompted 80 people to write letters of objection. I delivered the petition personally to the Council who were visible surprised at the level of support, and I knew then that it had made an impact.

On 3 April, the Council rejected the application to fell, applying a permanent Tree Preservation Order, so the Frome Plane Tree lives to fight another day.

The 38 degrees petition undoubtably went a long way to securing this outcome, it was easy to set up and manage,and I cannot recommend it highly enough as a tool for galvanising local support for campaigns that matter to local people. It works.”

If there’s an issue close to your heart you can start your own campaign here: http://you.38degrees.org.uk it takes just a couple of minutes to get started.

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