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20 Nov

Charities risk becoming irrelevant, warns new report

Health Connections Mendip (HCM) never set out to be a model for anything. However, this deceptively simple project in the small Somerset town of Frome is being talked about, not just as a blueprint for community revitalisation, but as a road to renewal for a UK charity sector struggling to maintain its relevance and public confidence in an age of great social upheaval and public distrust.

The work of HCM, based in a GP practice, has attracted attention mainly because of a startling research study which suggests that when people with health conditions are supported by community groups and volunteers, both they and the NHS benefit. The findings are provisional, but they show that over the three years of the study, while emergency hospital admissions in Somerset rose by 29%, in Frome they fell by 17%.

16 Nov

Pound steadies after biggest fall since 2016

Sterling edged up against the dollar to $1.2816 in the absence of any more resignations caused by the prime minister’s proposal.

The pound suffered its biggest fall for two years on Thursday, while UK-focused shares also saw steep declines.

Shares in housebuilders and banks continued to languish on Friday.

16 Nov

Grenfell Tower management company chief sent warning memo during fire

The chief executive of the company that managed Grenfell Tower warned colleagues they needed to find answers to questions about the cladding and the specification of the refurbishment even as it burned in front of him, it has emerged.

At 6am – just over five hours after the fire started – Robert Black emailed senior officials at the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), saying there were “questions about the cladding and spec. Questions about how [the fire] spread”.

16 Nov

Exclusive: universal credit linked to suicide risk, says study

Universal credit has become a serious threat to public health, doctors have said, after a study revealed that the stress of coping with the new benefits system had so profoundly affected claimants’ mental health that some considered suicide.

Public health researchers found overwhelmingly negative experiences among vulnerable claimants, including high levels of anxiety and depression, as well as physical problems and social isolation exacerbated by hunger and destitution.


12 Nov

‘Devastating’ cuts hit special educational needs

A crisis in funding for children with special educational needs is plunging councils across the country deeper into the red and forcing parents into lengthy legal battles to secure support, according to an Observerinvestigation that reveals a system at breaking point.

Council overspending on children’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has trebled in just three years and is continuing to increase, with councils having to raid hundreds of millions from their overall schools budget to cope. The Observer has identified 40 councils that have either cut special needs funding this year, are considering making cuts or are raiding other education budgets to cope next year.

Data from freedom of information requests and council reports shows that the combined overspend on “high needs” education budgets among councils in England soared from £61m in 2015-16 to £195m in 2017-18. It is already expected to hit £200m this year. The figures cover 117 of England’s 152 councils, meaning the true figures will be higher.

It comes with legal action being threatened across England against councils considering cuts to SEND funding, which supports children with conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and physical disabilities. Cases have already been launched in London and Surrey after a successful challenge to proposed cuts in Bristol. Campaigns are also being planned in Portsmouth and Yorkshire, while a case is being drawn up against central government for failing to properly fund the system.

12 Nov

Universal credit will cost more than system it replaces, study shows

Universal credit, the government’s flagship welfare policy, will be more expensive than the system it replaces, according to a new report.

The rollout of the reformed system, which brings six benefits into one, has been hampered by delays amid widespread concern that the changes could force people into poverty, while there have also been reports that universal credit, which has undergone phased introductions across the UK, has increased reliance on food banks.

12 Nov

Half of young people facing homelessness denied help – report

More than half of young people facing homelessness who approached their local council for help last year received no meaningful support, potentially putting them at risk of sleeping rough, violence or abuse, according to a report.

More than 100,000 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK turned to their local authority for assistance in 2017-18 because they had either nowhere to live or because they were under threat of homelessness, research by Centrepoint found.

12 Nov

Police in talks to scrap ‘reasonable grounds’ condition for stop and search

Police chiefs want to trigger an expansion of stop and search by lowering the level of suspicion an officer needs against a suspect to use the power, the Guardian has learned.

They want to scrap the requirement that “reasonable grounds” are needed before a person can be subjected to a search, amid mounting concern over knife attacks.

9 Nov

Parole Board has no black people among 240 members

The body responsible for deciding whether prisoners can be released into the community has no black members, it has been revealed.

Caroline Corby, the chair of the Parole Board, has said she fears unconscious bias could be behind the absence of black members and the low number of minority ethnic people.

9 Nov

One in 10 rental homes advertised as excluding benefits claimants

At least one in 10 rental properties in England could be being unlawfully advertised by explicitly discriminating against people on housing benefit, housing charities have said.

Analysis of around 86,000 letting agents’ adverts on the property website Zoopla by the homeless charity Shelter and the National Housing Federation (a trade association for social housing providers) in England found 8,710 posts that ruled out tenants on housing benefit.

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Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN
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020 7708 4497

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Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45