New Unite scheme aimed at offering those out of work a voice.

ILFRACOMBE has become the first in North Devon and only the second in the county to set up a Unite community union branch which organisers hope will give a voice to those who can't be heard.

More than 60 people went along to the Candar to find out more and have their say on the issues that mattered to them.

"Because so many are out of work now, Unite has started organising community branches for unpaid workers, volunteers, retired or unemployed, so they can come together and have a voice," explained Wendy Butler, who help co-ordinate the launch along with volunteers Sara Parkin, Rob Garrett, Keith Rickwood and Brett Sparkes.

"As benefits are reduced, with cuts such as the 'bedroom tax', fuel and housing costs continue to rise and real jobs are hard to find, our people are being penalised, stigmatised and driven into debt and despair. We need to fight back, but we can only do so if we stand united."

The community branch of the trade union is also open to students and anyone who is not in work.

Town Councillor Frank Pearson added: "The formation of the Unite Ilfracombe community union shows again this town can lead in developing organisations which will support the real needs of people."

To find out more about joining the community union branch, pick up a form at Transform for Work in the Ilfracombe Centre, or call 0333 240 9798.