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The second year of the Live Here Love Here Small Grants Scheme will help communities, schools and groups to take practical action to improve their local environment and support the growth of civic pride throughout Northern Ireland. The environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful will be working with the Department of the Environment, Tourism Northern Ireland and local Councils to launch the Live Here Love Here Small Grants Scheme, which is designed to tackle issues such as poor environmental quality, littering and dilapidation by encouraging volunteers to take practical action in their local communities. Interested groups can visit www.liveherelovehere.org for…

The average kilometre of beach in Northern Ireland has more than 5,000 pieces of litter on it. This stark assessment has been issued by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, following a three-year survey. The charity has been counting the litter on beaches from Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough for the past three years, and the 2015 results are the worst yet. On the 14 reference beaches, an average of 1,500 bits of plastic, 425 plastic drinks bottles and 180 cotton buds per kilometre were observed. At least 80 percent of the litter was made of plastic and likely to…

By Steven Agnew, MLA and leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland On election as an MLA, I became acutely aware that there was wide criticism from within the children’s sector of the failure of government to deliver on outcomes outlined in the OFMDFM Ten Year Strategy for Children and Young People. All children should receive the services they need to reach their full potential. We must ensure that their basic needs are met and their rights protected. To put it in context, Northern Ireland has some of the highest levels of child poverty in the UK, with 21 percent…

By Claire Savage As a former Department of Work and Pensions employee who previously toured Iraq, Colette Ansell has experienced both sides of the poverty divide. The young single mother, who lives in Portstewart with her four-year-old son Kurtis, is now firmly on the road to financial recovery however, thanks to some timely community support. A report from Save the Children in 2014 claimed that by 2020, almost one-in-four children will be living in poverty in Northern Ireland. Colette’s story shows how easily this can happen. She is upfront about her financial situation, which rapidly worsened after she left the…

By Marion Mcleod is Policy Manager for Children in Scotland Children in the poorest families are far more likely to suffer adversity in childhood than their better-off counterparts. We also know that the effects of this early adversity are profound and enduring. The poorest children are many times more likely than those in the richest to have fallen measurably behind in their cognitive development by the age of two. On their journey to adulthood, our poorest children are far more likely to experience instability in their families, insecurity in housing, bereavement and poor educational attainment; in adult life they are…

By Jane Craven, founder and chairperson of the Whiterock Children’s Centre, Belfast Whiterock is number one on the indices of multiple deprivations, we have a post-conflict legacy leading to many physical and mental health issues, we have traditional inter-generational unemployment. All and any of the other short-term projects, inadequately measured, have not addressed these major issues. I say give us a chance. Child poverty will not disappear without a significant change in axis. Has any part of Government the courage to really tackle this? Has any part of Government the courage to use those community activists and providers, those on…

By Kerry Melville, Coordinator, Belfast Food Network Nearly 9000 people have received food parcels from independent and Trussel Trust food banks over the past two years in Belfast, as they could not afford to feed themselves or their families. This is a serious issue that has been rapidly increasing over the past decade, yet there is little political recognition of the problem. Many households have difficulty in accessing an adequate diet, with parents increasingly skipping meals in order to feed their children. The Belfast Food Network recently commissioned the ‘Enough is Enough’ scoping survey to find out the scale of…

By Paddy Hillyard, Professor of Sociology at Queen’s University Under the Child Poverty Act 2010 (CPA), the Northern Ireland Executive has a legal obligation to assist the United Kingdom in meeting four key measures to reduce child poverty by 2020. Over the decade, the Executive has developed a number of ineffective programmes packaged under changing and confusing titles. There is still no comprehensive, coherent, integrated, evidence-based and costed strategy to end child poverty in Northern Ireland. Moreover, the annual reports required under the CPA to report on progress have been vacuous and have mainly consisted of a list of departmental…

By Jacqueline O’Loughlin, Chief Executive of Playboard, www.playboard.org Poverty is the greatest threat to the well-being of children and families across the UK impacting on every area of a child’s health, development and reducing expectations and aspirations for their future. All too often poverty is viewed in almost exclusively financial or material terms. Whilst income remains the biggest single cause of child poverty it is important to recognise that for children poverty of experience can be as debilitating. From PlayBoard’s perspective, play is the single most critical activity that children engage in. It provides a mechanism from birth to develop…

Image:  Parents and children let go of balloons to celebrate 25 years of community and Irish language services at Ionad Uíbh Eachach in west Belfast and the launch of  the organisation as a social enterprise A west Belfast organisation, celebrating its 25th anniversary, officially launched its Irish language child care centre as a social enterprise today (June 24). Ionad Uibh Eachach, a community and family centre located off the Falls Road, was launched Gaelchúram with the help of Junior Minister Jennifer McCann and Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma. “Our organisation has accomplished so much in the past 25 years – we…

Image: Dorcas Crawford at today’s event in the Mac, Belfast Charities and social enterprises could make much needed financial savings by engaging in mediation instead of costly legal action – that was the message today as Belfast based law-firm Edwards & Co launched ‘The Better Way’, a dedicated mediation service for third sector organisations in Northern Ireland. The Better Way aims to revolutionise how charities and social enterprises prevent and solve conflict within their organisations. The mediation service aims to prevent, diagnose and resolve disputes at both board and staff level. The complex nature of third sector organisations – including funding…

A Belfast social enterprise that uses its profits to support people with barriers to employment and learning into the workforce has redeveloped a burnt-out bar in west Belfast into a café and bakery, creating 10 jobs and up to 100 training placements for catering trainees with learning difficulties. Loaf, which runs an outside catering and café business in the greater Belfast area, officially opens its new outlet tomorrow (June 17) on the former site of the Oak Bar directly across from the entrance to the Royal Victoria Hospital on West Belfast’s Grosvenor Road. Loaf’s profits are reinvested back into the…

Delete Blood Cancer UK, the charity that recruits potential blood stem cell donors, is alarmed at the gender imbalance among those registering to donate. Of the 100,000 people who have registered as potential blood stem cell donors since they launched in 2013, sixty-five percent are female. This imbalance is reflected in the 4,273 people from Belfast who have registered with it. The charity is now launching a nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more young men to register with the question ‘Are you going to show?’. Delete Blood Cancer UK says that the campaign has to challenge men as it can…

By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor On June 22, we will launch the print version of our themed VIEW edition on child poverty in Northern Ireland and further afield at Stormont. We have invited a number of contributors to the issue to the Stormont event, including Jane Craven, founder and chairperson of the Whiterock Children’s Centre, Belfast; Paddy Hillyard, Professor of Sociology, Queen’s University; Marion Mcleod, Policy Manager for Children in Scotland; Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland; Jacqueline O’Loughlin, Chief Executive of Playboard; Geraldine Wilkins, Fighting Words Belfast programme and Kerry Melville, Co-Ordinator, Belfast Food Network.…

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