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Tuberculosis (TB) has increased in Northern Ireland in recent years. Ahead of World TB Day on 24 March, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has released the latest figures which show that in 2014 in Northern Ireland there were 97* cases of TB reported. This is a significant increase (31%) from the previous year when 74 cases were reported and highlights that TB remains an important global and local public health problem. Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is also a major public health concern worldwide, as it is more difficult to treat and can result in more serious disease with higher mortality.…

Main image: Some of the guests at the launch of Northern Ireland Philanthropy Fortnight 2015 in Clifton House, Belfast By VIEW editor Brian Pelan Northern Ireland Philanthropy Fortnight 2015 was launched today amidst the beautiful interior of Clifton House, off North Queen Street in Belfast. Among those at the launch were Peter McVerry, from the radio station U105, Eamonn Donaghy, Fund Development Manager of The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and Tracy Bell, office manager for Giving Northern Ireland. Below are a selection of images from the event. More details can be found at www.givingnorthernireland.org

Image: The Irish language group POBAL has lost all its funding By, Brian Pelan, VIEW editor The arts in Northern Ireland received a further devastating blow today. The Arts Council has released details of the organisations that face funding cuts in the next financial year. Of 115 groups that received funding last year, 27 face reductions while six of these will not receive any grants. Overall, the Arts Council is distributing almost £900,000 less than in 2014/15. It said the cuts were inevitable because its budget from the Northern Ireland Executive has been reduced by 11%. Organisations to lose all their…

The Belfast Food Network today unveiled the first ever piece of a Belfast-specific research on the devastating impact of food poverty in Belfast at the launch of the new Enough is Enough project, funded by the Public Health Agency. The launch took place at Belfast City Church (12-24 University Avenue). The study which aims to collate data on the provision of emergency food and supplement it with qualitative data on the experiences of front-line professionals who work directly with clients affected by food poverty as well as their clients’. The initial results of the study show a staggering increase in poverty levels…

Image: Equality Commissioner Murray Watt, who launched the research, with disability rights campaigner Kym Lennon Disability discrimination is persistently the most reported form of discrimination to the Equality Commission. It accounted for 39% of enquiries to the Commission last year. We challenge discrimination through advice services and legal casework and through policy work. A key part of that work is our role as part of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism for Northern Ireland (IMNI). This promotes and monitors the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). It seeks to protect the human rights, fundamental freedoms…

Public Affairs consultant Harry Reid argues that disability must not remain at bottom of public policy heap Twenty years ago, the UK Parliament passed the Disability Discrimination Act. This represented both official acknowledgement of the endemic inequality disabled people faced, and put in place an element of legal redress to challenge aspects of it when it occurred. In the Northern Ireland context, further laws followed that appeared to signal that the particular needs and circumstances of disabled people would finally be addressed. Firstly, as part of the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement, Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act…

Julie Leonard, who specialises in employment law, is a solicitor at Edwards and Co Solicitors, www.edwardsandcompany.co.uk Employers must ensure that they treat employees with disabilities the same as other workers. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has set out some special provisions in regard to how disabled employees should be treated. Under the DDA legislation it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against people with disabilities for a reason related to their disability, in all aspects of employment, unless this can be justified. The Act covers things like recruitment and selection as well as other areas including: • Job descriptions and…

Image: Students enjoying their class at the Belfast Community Circus School Brian Pelan reports on an innovative project at the Belfast Community Circus School On a cold day in February, a group of students warmed everyone up with their laughter and enthusiasm at the Belfast Community Circus School An excellent project, which started three years ago, has linked up Belfast Met students with learning disabilities and the circus. The students learn to use circus routines as a way to develop team building, self-confidence and literacy and numeracy skills. Allison Anderson, Curriculum Area Manager for the Centre for Supported Learning at…

Image: Retired teacher Mairead O’Halloran with eight-year-old Fiona Henderson By Una Murphy A former school vice principal is among a team of volunteer retired teachers who have chalked up five years bridging the gap for children with additional educational needs. “Fifteen schools, eighty volunteers and 500 children”, Mairead O’Halloran, who worked at St Louise’s Comprehensive College in west Belfast said proudly of the ‘Back On Track’ programme She signed up to the innovative scheme run by the charity Sólás after reading an appeal for retired teachers to get involved and found one of her former pupils Anne Cahill was the co-ordinator.…

In recent months it has emerged that Northern Ireland, Scotland and most probably even Wales will retain the Independent Living Fund i(ILF) in some form. However, the reprieve may only be temporary and England is still on course to close the fund in June 2015. The show, A is for Activism by Brian Hilton, reflects use of the arts as a tool to create online campaign images. Brian Hilton said: “As a disabled person with high support needs, the ILF enables me and other disabled people to live with choice and dignity in the community rather than locked away in a…

By John Coghlan, Director, Disability Aid Abroad People with disabilities in developing countries are the forgotten voice of international development aid, and they need specific targeted help. In many developing countries disability is seen as a social and cultural stigma, and that access to health services, education and employment opportunities are denied to disabled people. The United Nations estimates that there are almost 800 million people living in Africa, 50 million of who are disabled. These one in 16 Africans form the highest proportion of Africa’s disadvantaged population: only two per cent have access to any form of rehabilitation; 90…

UK Charity AbilityNet has been a leading authority on accessibility and assistive technologies for 20 years and provides a range of free services for disabled people, their family and friends, their employers and other people who care for them. They have been showcasing technology to help disabled people to MPs. The parliamentary showcase of accessible technology which organised by the Digital Accessibility Alliance, which AbilityNet supports. AbilityNet’s Head of Digital Inclusion Robin Christopherson said: “Acccessible and inclusive technology is now all around us thanks to the advent of smartphones and tablets. It’s so much easier for disabled people to customise…

Show your support for Meningitis Research Foundation and sign up for this 4km sponsored walk in the beautiful surroundings of the Stormont Estate. Your support could help to save a life. Meningitis Research Foundation is commemorating its’ 25th Anniversary during 2015. Will you help us do this and sign up for our ‘Stroll Around Stormont’ event on Sunday 1st March 2015.  The Foundation would like to encourage people to take part in this stunning walk on the Stormont Estate and help raise vital funds for the charity. This 4km circular walk will follow the ‘Long Woodland Walk’ through the picturesque grounds of the estate taking…

Solicitor Jenny Ebbage explains why it’s vital that your charity must register with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland You cannot have escaped the news recently that all charities in Northern Ireland must register with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI). We have been advising a number of charities on their registration requirements. All charities should check that they are on one of the CCNI lists and make sure that they know what action to take. There is a deadline of December 31, 2014, to notify the CCNI of the charity’s existence if the charity is not already on…

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