BIG Weekend 2023: bigger and better than ever before

The BIG Weekend 2023 celebrated UNISON’s 30th birthday, as well as delivering some excellent training and strategising for the future!

The region held its second ever BIG Weekend from 30 June – 2 July 2023 at the VOVO Oxford Spires hotel in Oxford.

Over 160 delegates attended the awards dinner on Friday evening where we celebrated UNISON’s 30th birthday, as well as recognising the incredible work of our branches and activists over the past year.

Birthday cake

Congratulations to all our award winners this year!

  • Branch campaign of the year (part 1): Brighton and Hove Unitary (equal pay success)
  • Branch campaign of the year (part 2): University of Surrey (fighting outsourcing)
  • Best recruiting small/medium branch: Reigate and Banstead local government
  • Best recruiting large branch: South Central Ambulance Service
  • Outstanding contribution to the cause of equality: Bill Acharjee (University of Brighton)

Equality award presentation

Pictured (left to right): Regional Secretary Steve Torrance, Equality award recipient Bill Acharjee, and Regional Convenor Rosita Ellis.

During the evening we heard from councillor Susan Brown – leader of Oxford City Council – who welcomed delegates to the great university city, and from Gloria Mills – UNISON national secretary for equality – who spoke about her varied career campaigning for social justice.

After dinner, delegates danced the night away with our resident DJ.

Group at workshop

Pictured: delegates attending one of the strategy workshops.

From Saturday morning, the serious business of training our newly elected branch officers for their important roles began. Alongside this, more experienced activists attended a series of skills workshops, including on organising around the cost of living, 2023 year of Black Workers, digital campaign skills, and organising to win.

Year of black workers workshop participants

Pictured: workshop delegates showing their support for 2023 Year of Black Worker.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this an even BIGGER and BETTER event than in 2022. We hope to see you all again at the BIG Weekend III next year!