GMWRAG is very sad indeed to report that Steve Ogden, formerly of Tameside Welfare Rights Service, passed away on the 18th of May 2018.
Starting his working life as an electrician, Steve had to change his occupation following a serious motor bike accident in which his left arm was paralysed. He became a welfare rights officer and advocate in employment tribunals, managing for some years the independent Welfare Rights Unit in Hyde, Tameside. He later moved to a welfare rights officer role at Tameside Council, where he was a member of the Unite union.
As well as a working life dedicated to supporting others, he did voluntary work with the innovative Manchester homelessness charity, Lifeshare, and later in a service supporting victims of child abuse.
Steve has served as Treasurer, Membership Secretary and Vice-Chair of Left Unity in Stockport. He also took roles at national level as a member of the Party’s Disputes Committee and its Trade Union Commission.
Steve developing ideas for a Solidarity drop-in in Stockport. From his work as a welfare rights officer specialising in mental health, Steve had identified a need for support for claimants of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with the forms that have to be completed.
In the two and a half years since, Solidarity Drop-in (every Monday in Disability Stockport on High Street) has gone from strength to strength and has helped nearly 500 people navigate the PIP/ESA assessment treadmill. An enormous amount of the credit for this success goes to Steve.
We send our sincerest and deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to all of his many friends and comrades.
Steve helped set up the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group nearly 20 years ago and has been one of the main organisers ever since. He continued to attend, and bring new people with him, even after he took early retirement.
Steve was a committed campaigner for social justice – both in his work and outside of it. He volunteered with Tameside, Oldham and Glossop MIND. He joined the campaign against cuts to mental health services in Stockport which was successful. He helped to set up Stockport United Against Austerity which campaigns against welfare reform and all cuts to public services. As a lifelong Manchester United fan, Steve was very pleased with the title of that group.
Outside of work he loved to play badminton and squash. He loved hiking and he was an avid Manchester United fan. As a result of his accident he could not drink due to medication, but whenever he met someone new and the conversation turned to alcohol he would state (with a mischievous half smile) “I don’t drink since I found god” and would start to sing “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam”. It would take about 2 minutes to realise he was joking.
Steve will be greatly missed. Colleagues wishing to pay their respects should be aware that his funeral takes place on Tuesday the 5th of June 2018 at 12.45pm at Cyprus Chapel, Stockport Crematorium Buxton Road SK2 6LS. Burial takes place at 13.45 followed by a wake at 14.15 at the Waterside Hotel and Leisure Club, Wilmslow Road Didsbury M20 5WZ.
GMWRAG would like to thank Helen Rogers of Stockport Advice and Stephen Adams-Corbett of Tameside Welfare Rights Service for their kind permission to use their words to pay tribute to Steve. We are bitterly disappointed to be unable to use one of the many great photos of Steve which people have gathered over the years.