I have been canvassing my local area and door knocking asking people to vote REMAIN. It has been hard work but very rewarding, I listened to people's concerns and spoke of why, as an NHS worker, registered nurse, trade unionist, mother, part-time worker, a woman and as a British European, I wanted us to remain in the EU. I agreed with them that the EU needed to change, it needed to adopt policies more aligned to the social model of Europe rather than the corporate model that dominates at the moment. I said that we are better off being in on these debates, collaborating with our neighbours rather than putting up more barriers and isolating ourselves.
People were on the whole, very receptive, they listened to me and respected my view. Some said it was refreshing to hear an 'ordinary' voice and lots of women were only too happy to speak and debate this issue with another woman.
I live in a Labour heartland and I canvassed as a Labour Party member in my area. I did change and influence some of the people I spoke to and I believe if we could have had more of these conversations across Labour heartlands the result probably would have been different. My area voted to remain by a narrow margin - but it's too little and too late.
Traditional Labour areas feel let down and disenfranchised, they don't recognise the Labour Party of today. To some, this was a protest vote, many were confused, many blamed immigration. They wanted to hear Labour's position and their arguments to stay, but for many, this came too late and without any real strength behind it. I do not believe everyone who voted leave did it out of malice, in fact, some people I spoke to who'd already voted, actually apologised and asked if they could revoke or change their vote.
I'm now very concerned about our communities, about our NHS and about our fantastic overseas workforce. The British public have made their decision and we have to work with it. I worry about the EWTD and worker's rights, Agenda for Change does not cover some of these and as a UNISON member, I know my union will take whatever action is needed to get these rights adopted as part of our terms and conditions.
Working in the NHS at this time is extremely challenging but we need to look out for each other, support one another and make our overseas workforce feel valued and wanted, whether from within or without the EU.
I'll be honest, I've shed tears over this result today but now I'm over it, it's time to get organised, time to encourage our friends, family and workmates to join a trade union. But don't just join your trade union, get active, get active in your workplace and in your community. If there's one thing I've learned through all of this its not to be frightened of having the conversation, people like to be heard and like to be listened to.
We'll get through this, we have to, the alternative doesn't bear thinking of. A week ago we came together in unity to remember an truly inspirational woman, Jo Cox, MP, I was fortunate enough to have met her and she had a knack of just understanding people. Jo knew we could achieve more through working together, dismantling barriers and offering bridges. I now worry about Britain and the very real fear that we may fragment even further still, Scotland calling for another Independence referendum and others will follow.
What I am sure of is that we're entering uncharted territory with our main political parties potentially looking inward and the fear is that organisations like UKIP will make hay whilst Labour and the Tories are potentially imploding.
One thing I am sure of is that I will continue talking to people in my local area and I will be taking their voices back to our elected representatives - they have been silenced for too long.
Our NHS must remain free at the point of need, publicly owned and publicly delivered. The Brexiteers must be held to account over their promises on the NHS.
UNISON Northern Region have organised a rally at the Newcastle Monument on Saturday at 1pm to defend NHS Bursaries.
Link to event below.