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ACORN turns 10!

What started as a group of friends knocking doors in Bristol with a dream of building power in their community has grown into a union with almost 30 groups and branches in towns and cities across England and Wales - with more set to be launched in the near future.

A union that organises, fights, and wins on a wide range of issues that impacts our communities - from housing and public transport, to the cost of living crisis and workplace member defence. We’ve won hundreds of millions of pounds for our communities and impacted hundreds of thousands of lives for the better.

Our members regularly represent our union in Westminster and the Senedd because politicians know they can no longer ignore us!

ACORN is a union that fights and wins in the immediate and short term, but is equipped and has the strategies to continue building power and face the challenges of the future. Here’s a quick history of SOME key ACORN moments, campaigns, and victories over the years...

  • After launching in 2014 we had our FIRST action against a letting agent and followed that up with a Halloween Housing Horror protest, demanding letting agents sign up to an ethical housing charter. This was a huge success, and was even adopted by Bristol City Council!
  • In 2015 we took our first steps into other cities, organising in London and Birmingham.
  • In 2016 we organised against the mass sell off of council housing in Bristol, ensuring that all the money from sales that were too late to stop went back into social housing in the area, and forcing an immediate half to the future auction of council housing!
  • In 2017 our first full branches were formed, we stopped the proposed scrapping of the Council Tax Reduction scheme in Bristol, keeping tens of millions of pounds in the pockets of low income Bristolians, and organised a huge eviction resistance in Sheffield!
  • In 2018 ACORN members took on the banks! NatWest and TSB both had clauses in their mortgage contracts that encouraged landlords not to rent to tenants on benefits. After taking over branches of both banks across the country, this policy was scrapped!

  • In 2019 after campaigning from ACORN and other organisation in the tenant movement, letting fees were banned. A massive victory! But we knew landlords would try anything they could to get around it, so we organised actions across the country to let landlords and letting agents know we’d be there to ensure they didn’t!
  • In 2020, after Covid first took hold, we knew that the authorities couldn’t be relied on to ensure that people isolating were looked after. So we build networks in cities and towns across the country to make sure that people who couldn’t make it to the shops had what they needed. We also fought for, and won, an eviction ban during Covid!
  • In 2021 residents from a sheltered housing scheme in Swindon approached ACORN, concerned for their safety due to wardens being cut down. After a 9 month campaign, ACORN was able to fight back against these changes and win the security and safety that residents deserved!
  • In 2022 after a deadly fire in a Bristol City Council tower block, residents joined ACORN in order to fight back against the council and ensure their own safety. This campaign won over £100 million in fire safety measures!
  • In 2023, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, ACORN members took action across England to shut down arms factories based on British soil that were complicit in Israel’s destruction of Gaza. We shut down factories in Bristol, Birmingham, and Leeds!
  • In 2024, after a long fought campaign, ACORN was successful in ending the use of private bailiffs to collect council tax debt in Manchester. And this fight is now gathering pace in other countries!

This isn’t the full story of ACORN, and these aren’t all our victories, but they all tell a story of working class power and organisation bringing positive change to people’s lives. And we’re still just getting started! Join the union and help shape what's next!

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