Browsing: VIEWdigital news

By Kelly McAllister – reporting for VIEWdigital BELFAST’S young people are being encouraged to ‘talk back’ and address the pressing issues that affect their lives in a panel discussion at Féile an Phobail. The annual ‘Youth Talks Back’ event at Colin Youth Development Centre in Poleglass, west Belfast gives young people the opportunity to engage with a panel of five influential figures. Members of the youth committee of the Active Communities Network – a charity which encourages young people to use sport to get into education, training and employment – has taken over organising this year’s event. From April these…

Joe Kenny, who lost his sight at the age of five, is not amused by the ‘ridiculous test’ that people with disabilities go through as part of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment So, if you’re really blind, how many fingers am I holding up?” An echo of a question that rings in my ears from when I was a child. Kids would lead off with this question to test whether I was telling the truth about being blind. Sometimes it was just innocent inquisitive childs’ play and sometimes it wasn’t. Why am I recalling this echo from my past?…

Sean Fitzsimons, Employment Advocacy Officer with Disability Action, takes aim at austerity policies in the United Kingdom and the devastating impact they have had on the lives of thousands of people with disabilities I’m proud to be a malcontent of austerity. In tackling the politics of austerity, it is critical we frame the conversation not only in terms of fiscal policy, but of the very real human cost. Austerity has been pursued relentlessly for close to a decade now and it has many faces; including political heavyweights, neo-liberal think tanks and the less visible back office Government policy teams. It’s…

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, describes policy, which has a rape clause element, as ‘wicked’ and vows to do all in her power to oppose it It shouldn’t be a radical statement that society should look after its children, and that each child should be valued. What the UK Government has begun, with the two child limit on Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit, is an undermining of that principle. It breaks the notion that we should allocate resources on the basis of need. From April 6, 2017, there would be no entitlement for a third or subsequent child…

By Kelly McAllister, reporting for VIEWdigital Thousands of children in Northern Ireland are waiting for a home to call their own, housing campaigners have found. The children and their families have worked with Homes Now and Equality Can’t Wait campaigners on a new documentary ‘Waiting for a Childhood’. A Freedom of Information request to the Housing Executive has revealed that a total of 36,198 households across the north of Ireland are on the social housing waiting list. This includes 20,950 children who are without a home. Around 13,000 of these young people are in emergency housing as they wait for…

By Kelly McAllister, reporting for VIEWdigital ACTOR Jamie Dornan who lost his mother Lorna to pancreatic cancer is patron of a new group set up to support sufferers of the disease in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland star, who appeared in the BBC drama series The Fall, attended the launch of NIPanC at the Mater Hospital, Belfast, yesterday, with his father Professor James Dornan and sister Jess. Jamie was a teenager when his mother died of pancreatic cancer 20 years ago. NIPanC is made up of local people with direct experience of pancreatic cancer. The new group will work in…

Bob Stronge, chief executive of Advice NI, warns that the clock is ticking on the expiry of the welfare mitigations package in 2020 and the savage cuts this will unleash on thousands of unsuspecting low income households. It is easy to forget that not so long ago the issue of welfare reform and concerns about how it would impact on the most vulnerable people almost brought the Northern Ireland Assembly to the brink. In 2015 a consensus was reached that whilst welfare reform would be implemented, the most savage cuts to household incomes would be mitigated by implementing recommendations of…

Playwright Fionnuala Kennedy writes how she was left dumbfounded after going with her daughter’s father – a man with severe mental health issues – to a Personal Independence Payment assessment Last year I attended a PIP assessment with my daughter’s father. He had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after a breakdown, an illness that combines schizophrenia and bipolar. It is an ongoing battle that he lives with every day. When his PIP assessment came up, he was advised not to make eye contact; not to wash for days before going; be smelly, unshaven, unkempt; be an unsightly, wretched Dickensian figure…

People are visiting the East Belfast Independent Advice Centre in growing numbers as cases of hardship are on the increase. VIEW editor Brian Pelan talks to two of its advice workers, Gerard and Peter, about what they are witnessing on the ground On a daily basis the East Belfast Independent Advice Centre (EBIAC) on Templemore Avenue deals with the stark reality of austerity and cuts in people’s welfare benefits. The staff inside the building are the unsung heroes who, somewhat similar to a surgeon, try to stem the hardship inflicted on working class citizens who attend the drop-in clinics in…

By Mary MacManus, manager of the East Belfast Independent Advice Centre My career in advice services began as a volunteer in 1997. Not much changed in the initial years but since the economic crash in 2008 and the subsequent austerity policy, the number of people requiring advice began to grow and people’s circumstances began to deteriorate. We made our first referrals for help with food to a church in 2008. There are now at least three dedicated food banks in east Belfast. Food Banks were not always here, they are a new phenomenon. There has been cut after cut to…

Journalists at VIEWdigital and tech experts from Avata Industries have been awarded 50,000 euro from tech giant Google. The funding from the Google Digital News Innovation Fund will be used to develop ‘The Data Times’, a prototype tool for community journalists to do more data-driven journalism. VIEWdigital co founder and editor Brian Pelan said: “We’re delighted with this funding from Google. It will help to put data tools into the hands of community journalists.” Phil Weir of Flax & Teal, Avata Industries said: “We are excited to embark on this project with VIEWdigital, strengthening data-grounded research at the community level.…

Marie Curie has expressed disappointment at the news that the Department for Communities has no plans to review the six month life expectancy criteria used to determine eligibility for the Special Rules for Terminal Illness under Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in Northern Ireland. In June representatives of all local political parties signed a joint letter asking the Department to establish a working group to review the rules and begin preparatory work for the creationof a new system once the Assembly returns. Joan McEwan, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for Marie Curie Northern Ireland, said: “We are incredibly disappointed by…

On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) Northern Ireland has voiced its opposition to suggestions that social care services should be funded via contributions made by service users. A statement made yesterday by the Department of Health draws upon the recommendation of an Expert Advisory Panel report, Power to People, published in December 2017, which proposes the introduction of charging arrangements for social care services based on the principle that where a person can afford to contribute to the cost of a service they should do so. Speaking in response the Department’s statement, Carolyn…

A public petition calling on the Department of Health to save the local community pharmacy network in Northern Ireland has now reached 75,000 signatures. The petition which is displayed in every community pharmacy in Northern Ireland, has been signed by more than 70,500 patients and customers in person with 4,500 adding their support online. The petition was launched in reaction to the crisis in community pharmacy in Northern Ireland which is under sustained attack due to Government cuts and consistent underfunding. Currently there is a deficit of at least £20m in funding provided to community pharmacy meaning that community pharmacists…

https://youtu.be/nRdt0GaLDL0 Hundreds of trade unionists took to the streets of Belfast at the weekend to protest against cuts to the health service. Protesters marched from Writers’ Square, the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Mater Hospital  to Belfast City Hall with signs and banners. The event comes ahead of the 70th anniversary of the birth of the NHS on Thursday. Among the marchers on Saturday were doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

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