The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) was set up in September 1984 and the premises were open in 1985.
The early 1980s is remembered largely for an economic recession coupled with the election of a Tory Government led by Margaret Thatcher.
It was also marked as the beginning of the global influence of neo-liberalism which was the rational for Thatcherism as it is now known.
Subsequently the prevailing economic strategy led to a focus on services, privatisation and deregulation of public assets and services.
This strategy had a devastating impact on mining, shipbuilding and manufacturing sectors in the UK.
Northern Ireland was one of the areas that suffered disproportionately due to its reliance on engineering, shipbuilding, textiles and light manufacturing.
The net result was decline and closure of most of the above sectors with corresponding rise in unemployment and poverty throughout Northern Ireland.
In 1984 the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions examined a range of initiatives, which might be taken to highlight the plight of the unemployed and to provide them with community support. Accordingly, in association with the Workers’ Educational Association and the Belfast Law Centre, it established the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, which was formally opened by John Hewitt, (Poet). (Hence the name of the John Hewitt Bar).
-Provide a Centre which will promote the interests and benefits of the unemployed and other social and economically disadvantaged groups without prejudice of age, gender, sexual orientation or religious opinions.
-Provide education, training, advice, representation and counselling to the unemployed, the citizens of Belfast and Northern Ireland.
-Provide information and campaign on the issues, problems and social benefits affecting the unemployed.
-Promote and conduct research into the causes of unemployment.
-To campaign against and expose the broader issue of poverty.