Browsing: VIEWdigital news

The British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland (BASW NI) said it was deeply concerned at the findings of a highly critical report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. The report, drafted by Professor Philip Alston, highlights the UK Government’s unwillingness to acknowledge the scope and impacts of poverty, and underlines its ideologically motivated drive to strip the social security system.  BASW NI Chair, Colin Reid said: “Poverty in Northern Ireland, as throughout the UK, is widespread and deeply damaging to the life opportunities of millions of people across society. The extent of the…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan The first ever Citizens’ Assembly in Northern Ireland has called for an end to compulsory zero hour contracts in the social care system. The call for an end to zero hours contracts was one of 27 recommendations agreed by those who took part in the event which was held over two separate weekends in the Europa Hotel, Belfast. Those who took part discussed the adult social care system in Northern Ireland. The Citizens’ Assembly consisted of approximately 75 citizens selected at random to represent the Northern Ireland population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, regional spread,…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan The UN rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights today said he could not disagree with people who said the benefits system in the United kingdom was “inhuman and cruel”. Philip Alston was speaking at a press conference in London where he announced his preliminary findings on the impact of austerity, Universal Credit and food banks in the UK after his 12-day visit to a number of cities and towns, including Belfast. Mr Alston said: “A fifth of the population (14 million people) in the fifth largest economy are living in poverty. “Four million of…

A woman suffering from glaucoma and chronic eye difficulties has been awarded £11,852 after being unfairly dismissed from her job. An Industrial Tribunal awarded the compensation to Celia Luisa Pereira da Costa, who was dismissed by her employer, Summer Garden Salads in Dungannon. The Tribunal ruled that the company had unlawfully discriminated against her by failing to make reasonable adjustments as required by the Disability Discrimination Act and had unfairly dismissed her. Ms. Da Costa was supported by the Equality Commission in taking her case before the Tribunal. Her employer was aware of her disability. Ms. Da Costa was employed…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan A scheme to transfer around 2,000 homes from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to housing associations has been halted after the plans were rejected by tenants. The stock transfer programme was announced in 2013 by the former Social Development DUP minister Nelson McCausland. It was described as an opportunity to provide funding for major improvement works to the homes. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), which owns around 86,500 homes, is in the grip of a severe funding shortage and has recently warned that it may have to stop investing in its stock after 2020…

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…

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…

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)…

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