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Image: The panel at the Question Time event at the Mac in Belfast. By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor, Those who attended the ‘Question Time’ event at the Mac theatre in Belfast last night, who were looking for an answer to the question; Is there a future for the arts in Northern Ireland?, probably left none the wiser. Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown, DUP MLA Nelson McCausland, SDLP councillor Claire Hanna, Sinn Fein councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile and Ulster Unionist Party election candidate Rodney McCune were on the panel alongside the chair, journalist and broadcaster Wendy Austin. The evening started with…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan The debate over the welfare reform stalemate in Northern Ireland had not figured highly in the General Election debate until VIEW asked Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey a question about it at a conference on homelessness in Belfast last week. In response to my question: Did Sinn Fein believe there would be a deal on welfare reform before the General Election or after it was over? Mr Maskey said: “It is quite unrealistic to think we will get a deal on welfare reform before May 7. “At this present time, I couldn’t give great hope…

Kenny Flood, who spoke at today’s Homeless Action Conference in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, was featured on the front cover of VIEW’s 21st themed issue on homelessness. He joined a host of other speakers at the event, including DSD chairman Alex Maskey, Mags Lightbody, Acting Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Jon Sparkes, chief executive of the Crisis organisation in England. The event was supported by the Participation and Practice of Rights organisation (PPR) and the Simon Community. Below are a number of images from the conference

By Brian Pelan, editor, VIEW Many people who work in the community/voluntary sector in Northern Ireland are facing an uncertain future. Will my job be the next to go? they are now asking as the cuts start to hit hard. We recently witnessed how a number of arts groups lost their entire funding or had it significantly reduced after the Arts Council of Northern Ireland implemented the 11.2 per cent cut to funding passed on to it as part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s 2015/16 budget.  A number of high profile environment organisation have also been badly affected. In…

Image: Eamonn Deane, Chairperson of Holywell Trust and Helen Quigley, CEO of Inner City Trust Northern Ireland will host a major peace-building conference in Derry this month with a line-up of international speakers. The aim of the conference is to enable groups and policy makers from across Northern Ireland and beyond to engage with a range of inspirational people who will bring their global perspectives on peace building. The ‘Hope Beyond Hurt’ conference is organized as part of a project which has included the lighting of the City gates, a range of peace-building programmes, events and exhibitions, and will culminate this summer with the…

By Brian Pelan, editor, VIEW Writer Newton Emeron’s assertion in his recent column for the Irish News (Saturday, March 28) that: “There is no evidence that ‘fuel poverty’ ever kills anyone in Northern Ireland” took me by surprise. The piece was under 130 words. This also surprised me given the complex nature of the subject. The article was in response to a claim by Age Sector Platform that fuel poverty kills thousands of people each winter. It’s clear from the research into this issue, including a term known as Excess Winter Mortality (EWM), that the relationship between temperature, influenza and…

By Brian Pelan Children and adults alike today discovered that food is not just about taste but also about using all your other senses at the Slow Food Kids’ Taste Adventure at the Ulster Museum. Organised by the Belfast Food Network, free interactive activities will feature good food, crafts, discussions with local producers and much more. Kerry Melville, Coordinator, Belfast Food Network said: “The Belfast Food Network was delighted to be host the Taste Adventure with the new Slow Food group.  “Families travelled through the seeing, touchy, smelly, tasty and hearing zones to complete their culinary adventure with local producers.” A selection…

Image: Towards A Better Future conference took place at the Skainos centre in east Belfast By Una Murphy There’s a hate chart in Northern Ireland and here is the countdown. Number one Sectarianism, Number two Racism, Number three Homophobia. It you or your friends or relatives could be picked on for any of these ‘top three’ hates you would be looking to the powers-that-be to sort it out. The Towards A Better Future conference organised by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building took place at the Skainos centre in east Belfast to consider the way forward Thought provoking presentations from documentary…

VIEWdigital attended the Digital South – Digital Youth event organised by the South Belfast Parnership Board at the Ulster Museum recently.  Co founder Una Murphy showed VIEW magazine in print, on tablet and laptop to pupils from Malone College. Digital South provides a platform to create, develop and support digital technologies.  The aim is to enable community groups, businesses and citizens to get the most out of the digital economy. We were also delighted to receive a letter (below) from the South Belfast Partnership to thank us for our participation.

By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor As Sinn Fein attempt to resolve the welfare logjam, they face one huge problem. There are further huge welfare cuts in the pipeline. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, yesterday said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme that a further cut of £12 billion must be made in welfare spending. This is on top of another planned £13 billion cut in the public sector. Whatever deal the Stormont parties make on welfare reform, we now know that further cuts in welfare spending lie ahead. The idea that all present and future welfare claimants in…

A conference, ‘Our Children, Our Future’, will be held at the St Mary’s College on the Falls Road in west Belfast on Friday, March 20. The Whiterock Children’s Centre, who have been working with children and families since 1988, will launch its strategic plan for 2015 – 2018 at the conference. The event will also be used to highlight issues around child poverty, childcare and family support. The conference will start at 9.30am and finish at 1.30pm. A spokesperson for the Whiterock Children’s Centre said: “There has been a growing demand for our Family Support services. We have witnessed and responded to…

Image: Conor Largey at the youth club in Ardoyne, north Belfast By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor I stepped out of my house this morning to be greeted by a howling wind and lashing rain. A few yards later my bargain basement umbrella give up its vain struggle to shelter me from the elements and collapsed in a heap. This was not a perfect start to a day. About an hour later my equilibrium had been restored somewhat by the assistance of a strong cup of black coffee and a first-rate bacon bap. I was in The Hive (above), a former vacant…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan I had a great time at the CO3 conference in Newcastle, Down. Thanks to all those who visited the VIEW stand and helped out and give support, including Angelina Fusco, Fran, Jenny Ebbage and Dorcas Crawford. Now to follow up on all the possible stories for VIEW magazine

Read the latest edition of VIEW at http://issuu.com/brianpelanone/docs/view_30_with_links. This edition, our 30th publication, is exclusively devoted to disability issues. If you enjoy reading it, please subscribe for future FREE magazines at http://bit.ly/1wAeiYf A big thanks to all those who made it possible, including Public Affairs consultant Harry Reid, Rosaleen Dempsey from the RNIB, Chris Ledger from Arts and Disability Forum, my partner Una Murphy, Action on Hearling Loss and many other individuals and organisations.

Caption: Children enjoying art at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast          Image: Deirdre McKenna By Una Murphy Hidden disability is the theme of performance artist Sinéad O’Donnell’s work. A Dubliner who now lives is Belfast she always knew she had learning difficulties but didn’t find out she was dyslexic until her 20s. “It was then I started to bring hidden disability into my practice and received a commission to coincide with the London 2012 Olympiad”, she said We are sitting in the Golden Thread gallery in Belfast while under fives – some with disabilities and some without…

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