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A number of community/voluntary organisations have voiced their concerns about the effects of austerity in Northern Ireland to the UN rapporteur Philip Alston during his recent visit to Belfast as part of his fact-finding mission into the levels of poverty in the UK. Mary McManus, manager of the East Belfast Independent Advice Centre, said: “We refer people on a daily basis to food banks. We have families coming in to us who have no food and no heat.” Kevin Higgins from Advice NI appealed to the UN rapporteur to include in his report that the welfare mitigations package in Northern…

Above in featured image: Peter Osborne, left, Community Relations Council, at the launch of the 49th issue of VIEW at the Crescent Arts Centre, with Bill Osborne, Brian Pelan, Mary McManus, East Belfast Independent Advice Centre; Nigel McKinney, Lucy Gollogly and Amanda Doherty from Big Lottery Fund and Dr Brendan Murtagh By VIEW editor Brian Pelan The 49th issue of VIEW (print version) was recently launched at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. This edition of VIEW looked at the impact of the Building Change Trust as it comes to the end of its 10-year existence in the community/voluntary/social enterprise…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan Northern Ireland Green Party MLA Clare Bailey said she is “appalled” after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that around £10.1m, which is available to Northern Ireland under the Dormant Bank and Building Societies Act 2008, is still unspent. The FOI was sent to the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland by Neil Irwin, founder of consultancy organisation niFundraising (www.nifundraising.org) which helps charities to raise money. It was also revealed that a distribution of a further £9m for Northern Ireland is anticipated over the period to 2020. A Department of Finance (DoF) spokesperson said:…

) By VIEW editor Brian Pelan The recent news report that 440 homeless people have died on streets or in temporary accommodation in the UK in the past year is truly shocking. The Detail news site in Northern Ireland have also reported that over an 11-month period 148 registered homeless people in Northern Ireland had their applications for social housing closed because they died. We have covered the issue of homelessness (https://bit.ly/2E6Pcxr) and (https://bit.ly/2El7UBJ) in Northern Ireland on two separate occasions in VIEW magazine over the last few years. It is very depressing that the situation for those without a home in…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan The link between suicide and social deprivation in Northern Ireland was highlighted last night in a wide-ranging talk given by University of Glasgow professor Rory O’Connor at St Louise’s Comprehensive College in west Belfast. The event was organised by the British Psychological Society. Prof O’Connor pointed out to a packed audience in the college’s assembly hall that a high proportion of those who died by suicide in Northern Ireland lived in deprived areas. Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK. Prof O’Connor said: “We need to challenge the social inequalities in Northern…

An event titled: ‘Can we believe the media? The role of journalism in the digital age’ was held last night at the Ulster University, Belfast campus. It was organised by the new UK press regulatory body Impress, Ulster University and MeCCSA (Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association) A number of speakers were at the event including, Dr Phil Ramsey (Ulster University); BBC NI business reporter Clodagh Rice, Impress chief executive Jonathan Heawood,; Peter Feeney (Press Ombudsman for the Press Council of Ireland);, VIEW editor Brian Pelan; BBC journalist/broadcaster Yvette Shapiro; Milne Rowntree (Ulster University) and Irish News digital deputy editor Maeve…

Employers For Childcare says working parents and businesses are being let down as the Government goes ahead with its decision to close the Childcare Voucher Scheme to new entrants tomorrow (4 October 2018). This is despite clear evidence showing that thousands of families will be left worse off as a result. Over the last 12 months Employers For Childcare has campaigned to keep the scheme open to new entrants providing robust evidence to HM Treasury and MPs that working parents are set to lose out. Chief Executive Marie Marin said “Working parents are being let down. Hundreds of thousands of people from…

By Nick Acheson, a visiting research fellow at the Centre for Social Innovation at Trinity College Dublin The Building Change Trust was created ten years ago at a time of perceived crisis in the identity and purpose of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland. Worries about the ways that the sector was being reshaped by a dramatic shift in government support from grants to contracts were compounded by uncertainty about the immediate future in the face of the financial and economic crisis. I was one of a number of people commissioned to write “think pieces” for the Trust to…

By guest editor Dr Brendan Murtagh, Urban Planning, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University The suspension of the Assembly has left many businesses, state agencies and the wider public feeling frustrated and disillusioned. The community sector knows the feeling. We have no asset transfer or social value legislation, no dedicated funding for social enterprises and no overarching strategy for the development of the social economy. This has not stopped the finger-wagging. Third sector organisations need to get their act together, stop relying on grants and become more business-like and sustainable. What is fascinating about Building Change Trust is its…

By VIEWdigital deputy editor Kathryn Johnston The head of a UK foundation with a budget of £70 million has urged charities in Northern Ireland to apply to it for grants. “We gave away our £1billionth pound this year – and to cap it all, that came in our 60th anniversary year,” said Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation who was talking to VIEWdigital in the Ulster Museum at the recent launch of Dippy on Tour:  A Natural History Adventure exhibition which opened in Belfast. Ms Charles said: “It went to Ourside Youth Association in Evesham. We feel it is important to…

https://issuu.com/brianpelanone/docs/view_49_issuu By VIEW editor Brian Pelan Welcome to the 49th issue of VIEW in which we look at the impact of the Building Change Trust on the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector in Northern Ireland as the Trust comes to the end of its 10-year period of existence. In this issue we interview a number of participants in its work and seek the views of a range of academics and others who work in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector. We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to carry out this work and would like to thank…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan A recent housing conference in Dundalk opened against a backdrop of a growing homelessness problem in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Chartered Institute of Housing, who organised the Homes and Communities conference , invited a number of speakers from both north and south of the border and Britain, to address a range of issues, including homelessness, provision of social housing, regeneration, domestic abuse and the economy. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is a UK-wide body with members in Northern Ireland, Scotland Wales, and England One of the events, (which I chaired)…

VIEWdigital is hosting a half-day masterclass in Podcasting led by Davy Sims at Ormeau Baths, Belfast. This workshop will be limited to six people. If you want to understand production on a professional level, create podcasts for fun or simply add something useful to your CV, this practical, hands-on training will show you how. You may want to learn how to produce a solo podcast or come with a group of colleagues who want to record a regular Podcast on behalf of their organisation. Book tickets at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/podcasting-workshop-tickets-50403772039 The workshop will cover: • Writing and Preparing Scripts • Recording • Interview Techniques &…

By Kelly McAllister, reporting for VIEWdigital Over 5,500 emergency meals were given out by a foodbank in north Belfast last year it was revealed at the launch of VIEW’s latest edition held at the Wolfhill Centre in Ligoniel yesterday. Among those in attendance were VIEW editor Brian Pelan, Bob Stronge, Chief Executive of Advice NI, Alliance Party councillor Peter McReynolds and Mary McManus, manager of East Belfast Independent Advice Centre and guest editor of the latest issue of VIEW magazine that looked at the impact of austerity. https://youtu.be/h5O__MU95VI Ms McManus said: “The policy of austerity is not about saving money.…

By Una Murphy, VIEWdigital Advice workers in Ligoniel, north Belfast, will highlight what goes into an emergency food parcel at the launch of the latest edition of VIEW magazine tomorrow. Printed copies of VIEW magazine ‘Stories from the Frontline’ will be available at the event at Wolfhill Centre (starting at 11am), which comes as leading charity Advice NI calls on United Nations rapporteur Philip Alston to recommend changes to the controversial welfare benefit Universal Credit. Universal Credit is currently being rolled out in Northern Ireland and advice workers say that many people are now reliant on food banks due to…

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