Blog Archive

2013

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    New mental health crisis unit opens

    This new unit will provide acute mental health care for in-patients. It has 30 ensutie bedroom and six of these are psychiatric intensive care beds.  It has been built close to the Gransha Hospital and replaces the services provided by the older facility, reports the BBC.Whilst the new unit has been in operation since November 2012, the service was only officially launched by the health minister...

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    A third of disabled people are refused DHP

    A third of disabled people applying for support from a government fund, designed to give temporary financial support to cope with the cuts to their benefits due to bedroom tax, have had their application refused. However ministers have rejected arguments that the bedroom tax discriminates against disabled people due to the availability of discretionary housing payment to vulnerable households. ...

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    Help for tenants in difficult times

    £250,000 is being invested in this new team which will launch in January. The team will provide short-term, intensive support to help deal with issues such as health, finances and unemployment with the aim to reduce the cost and distress of failed tenancies.The 17,500 home provider has said that it recognises some tenants may be dealing with various factors that could affect their capability to...

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    Stafford hospital is to be taken over and lose key services

    Stafford hospital will see its consultant-led obstetric maternity unit replaced by a midwife-led unit and los all of its acute surgical services. Its A&E unit will operate from 8am to 10pm and handling less serious cases only will be made permanent.Trust special administrators appointed to turn around Mid Staffordshire NHS trust has said that the changes were necessary because it was "financially...

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    Basic human rights are not given to the homeless

    It is believed that the UK Common Rights Project will say that the conditions of homeless people find themselves in are in contravention of the UN Declaration of Universal Rights at its launch of a country wide campaign.A film made by Open Cinema titled ‘UK Common Rights' saw some rough sleepers tell their personal stories about their daily struggle to eat, find washing and toilet facilities...

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    Food bank vouchers for struggling tenants

    Sanctuary Housing's staff are now able to issue food vouchers to struggling tenants which will enable them to redeem three days of emergency food, reports 24dash. Meghan Zinkewich-Peotti, Sanctuary's partnerships manager, said: "I am so pleased that our housing officers are now able to issue food bank vouchers. They work on the frontline with residents so are able to find out quickly if someone...

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    Domestic violence victims' addresses to be kept secret: Eve's Law

    Eve Thomas, a domestic violence victim and campaigner wants to change the law so that addresses are kept secret in unrelated court proceedings.  Ms Thomas faced prison due to her refusal to reveal her hideaway address in August. Damian Green, the Justice Minister has said that he would "happily consider" these proposals, reports the BBC.Ms Thomas suffered over 20 years of abuse from her husband...

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    Extra NHS money to help ill health in the poorest areas

    The poorest areas in England will receive extra money aimed to tackle ill health after NHS bosses rejected plans to divert the resources from there to wealthy areas. This decision means that numerous GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups in deprived areas will stop seeing their budgets cut from April. The board has defied the Department of Health by rejecting plans of making the age of the local...

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    Welfare reforms cost housing association £10m a year

    The report comes from Wakefield and District Housing which shows their story of the first 200 days of the under-occupation penalty. It shows that over 500 of their tenants who were not in debt before the introduction of the bedroom tax now owe rent.The reports highlights how rent arrears and the number of people facing financial hardship and potential eviction has increased. This has meant the...

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    Over the past two years rough sleeping in London has risen by 60%

    A study by homelessness charity Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation how shown that there was a 13% rise in the number of rough sleepers in 2012/13 in London, and a two year increase of over 60%. Across the whole of England the number grew by 6% in 2012. The report says ‘Frontline services available to homeless people continue to be reduced, with the prospect of more significant cuts to...

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    Local councils should invest in food banks: Lord Freud

    Lord Freud is being accused of "rowing away from the principle of welfare" due to his suggestion that local authorities invest money in food banks as he believes they are "absolutely appropriate" that free food parcels are provided to people who cannot afford groceries.These comments have derived from a conference on welfare reform and Lord Freud says that society has had a "terrible economic...

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    Brighton's homeless to live in shipping containers

    At the start of this month it was announced that homelessness in Brighton and Hove has risen by a shocking 35% in the past two years. Council chiefs believe the issue is partly to do with the economic climate, but also fear that a steep rise in private rent could be to blame.Brighton Housing Trust works, on the whole, in Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings, with some additional services in...

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    Housing association to fund numerous community projects

    Salix Homes is now inviting applicants for its annual ‘Your Salix, Your Say' fund. This is the fourth year the housing provider will be running the fund and it enables community groups and organisations the chance to bid for financial help to finance projects that will help improve the area where they live.Salix Homes provides 8,500 homes and has their fund has help 44 local projects and...

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    Funding cut for mental health trusts

    The BBC has received data from 43 mental health trusts through a Freedom of Information request. Data separate from this has also revealed that referrals to crisis and community mental health teams have risen by 16% in the same time period. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning that mental health services are near breaking point.Care & Support Minister, Norman Lamb said: "It is completely...

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    ‘Economic recovery' placing many onto housing benefit

    A report by the National Housing Federation's  named ‘Home Truths' has found that around 310 people a day are having to go on housing benefit due to unemployment or low wages. The NHF says that taxpayers have picked up a tab of £12.1 billion spent on housing benefit for working people since 2009 due to the lack of homes in areas of growth over many successive years, reports 24dash.The NHF...

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    Rent arrears: The fastest growing problem in the UK

    Within the first nine months of this year the charities helping had received almost 20,000 calls from people who found themselves behind with their rent. The charity says that this is a 37% increase compared to the 2011 figure.It has also been revealed that over half the calls made to the National Debtline are now from people renting their home, reports the BBC.  A recent survey by LSL property...

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    Choir singing can boost your mental health

    375 people took part in an online survey and results revealed that people out of people who sang in a choir, sang alone or played team sports; singing in a choir had the highest impact on positive mental health. Choral singers said that they viewed their choirs as "meaningful" reports the Telegraph.Nick Stewart, from Oxford Brookes University, who led the study, said: "Research has already...

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    Calls for an increase on dementia funding

    Director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society, Dr Doug Brown, has said that dementia should be on a similar footing to cancer when it comes to global investment.  The combined UK spending on cancer research by charities and the government is at £590m however only £50m is spent on dementia. The Alzheimer's Society hope to gain more funding from the G8 summit in London.  The...

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    An app to help people who are found sleeping rough

    With the winter months upon us homeless charities are asking people to be extra vigilant and look for people who may be rough sleeping. A new app developed by homelessness charities Broadway and Homeless Link, called StreetLink has already successfully helped 4,000 people, but the charities want to help more.It is estimated that around 2,300 people sleep rough every night in England and that many...

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    2.5 million people borrowing money to heat their homes

    A survey by ComRes, commissioned by Circle Housing, has revealed that around seven million pople will take out a loan over Christmas, and 35% of these would use the loan only to pay their energy bills. Whilst one in twenty borrowers said that they would go to a payday loan company however 150,000 said they would go to an unofficial lender or loan shark, reports Inside housing.One in six people...

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    Almost 1,000 Scottish households have had their benefits capped

    The Department for Work and Pensions has said that the measures have been applied to 977 Scottish Households between April and October this year. However many say that the cap leaves underlying issues for claimants unaddressed, reports the BBC. The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith said: "These figures highlight our commitment to support those who want to work hard and get on and to...

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    Housing staff help hungry families

    Cobalt Housing's staff has collected over 200 items for the T Good Shepherd Church in Croxeth which is one of the food bank's eight distribution centres in the city. The items ranged from baby goods to breakfast cereals. Victoria Ponsonby-Martin, north Liverpool food bank co-ordinator, said: "The number of people we have fed has doubled to 3,400 in the space of a year, but demand for our help far...

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    Welfare cap helping to end ‘benefit dependency' - Iain Duncan Smith

    The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has said that his welfare cap was helping to end "benefit dependency", however official figures have shown that the number of families affected so far is much smaller than expected. In a statement issued by the DWP, Duncan Smith said that 19,000 people potentially affected by the cap had been helped into work which shows "our commitment to...

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    50% of people seeking homeless help from councils are turned away

    The number of households in temporary accommodation has had a rise of 8% and over a quarter of households are placed outside their local area, reports 24dash. Commenting on the figures, Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said: "Whilst it is encouraging that the number of people seeking help with homelessness from councils has not risen further, it is concerning that so many people...

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    Ambulances face long waiting times at A&E

    Data collected for NHS hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales, which has been obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, found that Wales had the longest wait time, but an ambulance in eastern England had to wait for more than five hours. The Welsh government said that the figures were unacceptable but most people waited less than half an hour.Patients have to wait in ambulances...

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    ‘Social supermarket' opens to help fight poverty

    The shop opens today and offers shoppers who are on the verge of food poverty the chance to buy food and drink for up to 70% less than normal high-street prices.Whilst the Community Shop is currently only in Goldthorpe, south Yorkshire, if successful others may begin to become open over the country.  Community Shop comes from the Company Shop which is Britain's largest commercial re-distributor...

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    Universal Credit programme will not hit 2017 deadline

    Following on from the Chancellor's delivery of the Autumn Statement, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced that the Universal Credit programme may not be complete by 2017 as planned.It was only September when Iain Duncan Smith told the Commons that the 2017 plan remained in place.  He has now said some people receiving Employment Support Allowance may not be transferred in...

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    80% of people in housing association homes are working

    A report by the g15 group of London's 15 larges housing associations has found that just under 80% of Londoner who live in housing association homes go to work and only 21% are unemployed. They also found that due to low income 60% of working households require housing benefit to pay all or part of their rent.The report also found that 25% of households find that keeping up with bills is a...

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    New homes and jobs from regeneration project

    Housing provider Sanctuary Group has worked closely with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to develop a project in Slater Street which will become a wide regeneration for the city. The development will see much-needed extra care accommodation and family homes as well as a range of employment and training opportunities within the local community. There will be a mix of 80 one and two bedroom extra care...

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    By 2050 dementia cases are ‘set to treble worldwide'

    In the UK dementia research only receives one eight of the amount of funding spent on cancer, which charities say is insufficient. Therefore they have released the figures prior to the G8 dementia summit which will take place in London next week.Due to increasing life expectancies Alzheimer's Disease International expects a surge in the number of cases in poor and middle-income countries,...

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    Regular exercise could slow dementia progression

    The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed eight exercise trials that involved over 300 patients living either at home or in care. Whilst the exercise did little for the patients' mood, it did help them carry out daily activities and boosted their cognitive skills, reports the BBC. Findings suggest that that regular exercise can bring some relief to the symptoms of dementia.  "There is promising...

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    Cuts to benefits are hitting disabled people the hardest

    Habinteg, a housing association, has produced a study called ‘What price independent lives?' and has found that two thirds of its tenants affected by the bedroom tax are disabled. Habinteg analysed six months of its tenancy data since the introduction of benefit cuts and found that:•         Only a third of its disabled tenants affected by the bedroom tax had been exempted from paying...

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    Food poverty becoming a ‘health emergency'

    Through a letter in the British Medical Journal, six leading public health figures have warned that poor nutrition could lead to many different health problems. It has come after the UK Red Cross has started asking for food donations for the first time since World War Two.In October the Trussell Trust said that the number of people it was had tripled to 350,000 in the past year, reports the...

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    Suicide prevention plan

    Choose Life, the previous strategy, was created in 2002 and has seen an 18% reduction in Scotland's suicide rate. The new plan aims to continue this reduction through a focus on how services can support people at risk of suicide whilst also delivering support to families and carers. Minister for public health Michael Matheson said: "Scotland has made real progress in suicide prevention. But we...

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    Successful empty home scheme hits milestone

    The No Use Empty initiative, launched in 2005, has returned this year with a record of 600 long-term vacant homes back in use, which is the most successful such scheme across the UK.Throughout 2013 the council has approved loans that total £2.5m which makes it a recored year for investment. The scheme has also received a total investment of £25m, a third of which comes from the council's empty...

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    Over a thousand care home residents have died of dehydration

    Figures obtained under the freedom of information laws by the Telegraph show that 1,158 care home residents suffered dehydration related deaths between 2003 and 2012. Dehydration was named as either an underlying cause of death or contributory factor. 318 residents were found to have died from starvation or where severely malnourished and 2,815 deaths were linked to bed sores. Figures only...

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    Funding gaps leave domestic violence services at breaking point

    The charity have said that one day in 2013 saw 155 women and 103 children turned away from refuges in England. They believe the government could reduce the number of women and children hurt and killed by ensuring services are adequately funded.Ministers say that they have "ring-fenced" £40m to fund "specialist local support services and national helplines", reports the BBC. Women's Aid have...

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    Shelter hangs stockings outside Scottish parliament

    The stockings are said to symbolise the amount of children who will be homeless in the country over Christmas.  They intend to hand the empty stockings out to members of the public who will then be asked to donate a gift so they are able to give it to a homeless child. Shelter also wants the Scottish Government to adopt guidelines on minimum standards of temporary accommodation whilst also...

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    £700m committed to 6,600 new homes in build-to-rent boost

    To boost build-to-rent properties Shariah investment bank Gatehouse has committed £700m to Sigma Capital Group's private rented homes development across the North West to deliver 6,600 new homes.The scheme has been welcomed by the British Property Federation as another step in ensuring the UK's housing stock is able to meet demand in the coming years, reports 24dash.Ian Fletcher, BPF's director...

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    Mental health services to be inspected and rated

    Trusts will be inspected by teams made up of service users as well as experts and will be given one of four Ofsted-style ratings ranging from outstanding to inadequate in the hopes that the changes will mirror those that made to the inspection regime for acute NHS services. If a trust is found to inadequate or its leadership found wanting the CQC will propose to the NHS regulator Monitor or the...

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    Carers need more support says Older People's Commissioner

    Sarah Rochira is concerned that too many carers in Wales are missing out on help and find their work is often undervalued. Ms Rochira believes that this can often lead to a deterioration of the carers mental and physical health, reports the BBC. Ministers say that much has been achieved in policy to support unpaid carers since devolution.Ms Rochira on Carers Rights Day said that she is worried...

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    Senior police officer calls for rape prevention work

    Martin Hewitt, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner believes that forces have been too "reactive" and should become proactive so that these crimes are prevented. He also said that when dealing with rape victims police should be "honest" about the difficulties of getting convictions. Mr Hewitt is the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead for adult sexual offences and wants police...

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    ‘Homesteading' to tackle empty English homes

    Homesteading is a process which sees vacant properties being sold at a discount to people who renovate them to create their own homes and was popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s.New independent research from the University of Sheffield in collaboration with charity Empty Homes, looks into the number of empty homes in England and how they could be reduced through the scheme.Shortage of housing in the...

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    Wheelchair controlled by body piercing

    Through the movement of a tiny magnet in tongue piercing sensors are able to detect and then convert the movements into commands which are able to control a range of devices. A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology had made the leap from body are to wheelchairs because of the suppleness of the tongue. The team said it was harnessing the tongue's "amazing" deftness.A large section of the...

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    Many people suffering with dementia aren't being formally diagnosed

    The findings have come from a government report which shows wide variations in standards of dementia care with three quarters of patients in the best arrears receiving a formal diagnosis but only a third in the worst areas are. An interactive online map is publishing the figures which Jeremy Hunt said would help raise standards by allowing patients to see which parts of the county were guilty of...

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    Many people suffering with dementia aren't being formally diagnosed

    The findings have come from a government report which shows wide variations in standards of dementia care with three quarters of patients in the best arrears receiving a formal diagnosis but only a third in the worst areas are. An interactive online map is publishing the figures which Jeremy Hunt said would help raise standards by allowing patients to see which parts of the county were guilty of...

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    Mobile Technology And Social Media Now raises A Quarter Of Charity Funds

    The report was commissioned by Three to support its partnership with men's health charity, Movember.Three had researched the charitable behaviour of 2,000 smartphones in partnership with BrainJuicer, they reported that donations from mobile phones increased by 242 percent between 2011 and 2012.Director of corporate affairs at Three, Hugh Davies, said:"The internet and smartphones have changed...

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    Housing association tenants ‘working but claiming benefits'

    Launched this week by the g15 group of London's largest housing associations, The Real London Lives project shows that only 21% of tenants are unemployed. 60% of people need housing benefit to pay all or part of their rent, the research by Centre for Housing Policy at University of York has found, reports Inside Housing.The project will look at the effect of the welfare changes on 1,640 tenants...

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    Charities want shorter waiting times for patients suffering with their mental health

    Over one in ten people with mental health problems have to wait over a year before receiving treatment and over half have to wait longer than three months.The We Need To Talk Coalition has said that delays alongside a lack of choice create a devastating effect on people who were not getting the right treatment and others were turning to private treatment. It has said that the NHS should offer a...

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    Welfare reform sees rent collection rates drop

    Housemark have used data from over 190 landlords who collective manage 1.5 million properties to see the impact of welfare changes on income, arrears and rent collection costs. The report found that the proportion of rent collected fell from 99.5% in April to June last year to 98.9% in April to September.It is said that the figures show "a marked increase in arrears among poorer performing...

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    Charity says bedroom tax is meaning disabled people are ‘forced to cut back'

    The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) has revealed findings in a letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith which has called on the government to take immediate action to exempt disabled people their families and carers from the policy, reports 24dash. The letter states that: "Before the policy was implemented, we warned that it would hit disabled people and carers for whom...

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    Council reports majority of bedroom tax victims are in arrears

    The council has seen the amount of residents in arrears double since the April introduction of the under-occupancy policy. The cut in housing benefit means that every Salford family struck by the tax is losing at least £725 per year.‘Feeling the Pain' is the councils report which details how thousands in the city are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the government's cuts and welfare...

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    A big rise in winter deaths

    It is estimated that there were 31,100 excess winter deaths last year which is a 29% increase on the previous winter. The Office for National Statistics shows that many of the deaths included people aged over 75 and cold weather and flu were largely to blame.Last winter was milder than average in December however a prolonged period of lower than average temperatures occurred, reports the BBC.The...

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    Housing trust supporting victims of domestic abuse

    The first of the two programmes will begin in January and will consist of twelve weekly sessions which look into the effect of domestic abuse and the road to recovery. It aims to provide victims with life-long tools to enable them to enjoy health relationships in the future.There will also be a separate eight-week programme for young victims will also begin in the New Year, which will offer tools...

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    Housing association partners with a food bank to help vulnerable tenants

    They will also provide support to customers getting into work and refer those with drug or alcohol problems to specialist services. Vouchers will also be handed out to the 7,200 home providers most vulnerable customers for food parcels which can be ex-changes for three-day's worth of food from the food bank, reports 24dash. Sarah Turner, Caldmoreaccord's community housing officer, said: "We are...

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    £1million in rent arrears and 700 empty properties in Wales due to bedroom tax

    Commenting on the research, CHC chief executive Nick Bennett, said: "Just six months into this policy, we see a double whammy affecting the supply crisis. We've seen a surge in the number of ‘void' or empty properties and 78% of our members have seen an increase in rent arrears, with over £1 million attributed to the ‘bedroom tax'."The research highlights 51% of tenants are paying the...

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    NHS to close ‘mortality gap' for mental illness

    NHS leaders are calling on those who are commissioning services to help close the "shocking mortality gap" which sees people with a mental illness have life expectancies ten years shorter than the population as a whole.A blunt message from NHS England has said that targeted cancer screening, regular checks for cardiovascular and physical health and smoking cessation programmes should all be...

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    How To Make Social Media Work For Your Charity

    Many organisations have truly embraced social media and have embedded it into their fundraising and marketing strategies while others have not.According to research by The Guardian:"More than a quarter of the time you and I spend online is spent on a social media site - this is more than we spend emailing, online shopping, or on anything else."Individual platforms come and go (for example,...

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    24-hour phone service for the elderly to combat loneliness

    This helpline can be used by older people throughout the UK.The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It will:The telephone number is 0800 40 70 80 90.Chairwomen Esther Rantzen set up The Silver Line as the statistics about older people and loneliness are ‘frightening'. More...

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    The Government Has Spent Over 700 Million Pounds On Cold Weather Payments

    Housing News reports that Cold Weather Payments are made for each 7-day period of very cold weather - if temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.As winter kicks off, new figures reveal that the government has spent more than 706 million Pounds since 2010 with 28 million Cold Weather Payments aiding those most in need keep warm...

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    Five New Towns To Be Built By Labour

    Inside Housing revealed in September that Labour has commissioned pilot projects to look at ways councils can work more closely with housing associations and developers to double house building by 2020.The party is looking at diverse ideas, including the formation of council-controlled housing companies to foster development.Reynolds also said:"The last time there was a massive increase in...

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    Navigating your city as a wheelchair user

    Handimap acts as a toolbox to support accessibility. The creators of Handimap made the observation that very few applications exist to the public who may have physical disabilities.Based in France at present, their goal is to make use of mapping technologies to share information that may help people with disabilities or reduced mobility to understand the movement in the city.Currently operating...

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    Clare's Law Expected To Take Effect Nationwide In March 2014

    This pilot scheme ran in Greater Manchester, Gwent, Wiltshire and Nottingham, where about 400 women were given information  which has helped victims of domestic violence  and as a result, will be extended nationwide.Clare's law was trialled for 12 months from September 2012 to allow women to check police records to see if a partner has a violent past. It is expected to take effect from...

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    London council housing 70 families in ‘loophole'

    Westminster Council has been criticised due it housing families in temporary accommodation beypn the six week legal limit as well as being accused of using a ‘loophole' in the law by opposition councillors.  Whilst it is illegal to house families in B&Bs for more than six weeks, however there is no legal limit if the accommodation is "self-contained," meaning it has its own front door, reports...

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    Avoidable elderly emergency admissions rising

    The Care Quality Commissions has revealed that 530,000 over 65's were admitted in England as an emergency for a preventable cause over the last year. This is a rise of more than 40% since 2007/8. Dehydration and infections which could've been prevented are classed as avoidable admissions, reports the BBC.One in ten of all over 75's and a fifth of over 90's admitted were for one of the above...

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    No improvement since Mid Staffs scandal

    No improvement has been made by hospitals in patient safety or treating the ill with dignity and respect after the Mid Staffordshire scandal reports the CQC. 47% of problems the CQC identified had a major or moderate impact on patients, which is more than the previous year when the visit was 39%. Poor care was found in 10% of all hospitals.The report said: "In the aftermath of the failures of...

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    £150m for English A&E's this winter

    With many A&E's already missing the four-hour waiting time target ministers are said to be worried about how hospitals will cope over the winter, reports the BBC. The money is set to come on top of the £500m bailout fund announced in the summer which is being spread over two years. Ministers said that this money would help the NHS prepare properly.Dame Barbara Hakin, NHS England's deputy chief...

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    OECD: Antidepressant use on the rise

    Figures show that doctors in countries with more wealth are writing prescriptions for more than one in ten adults. Iceland, Australia, Canada and other European Nordic countries are leading the way, reports the Guardian. Research from America shown that over 10% of adults use the medication and in China the use of antidepressants has grown by 20% over the last three years.In the report named,...

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    Development of small properties begins due to bedroom tax

    Social landlord Riverside received the land in Knotty Ash by Liverpool City Council as part of a Mayoral pledge to deliver new homes in the city by 2005. The properties will be one and two bedroom homes."People in Liverpool are crying out for smaller properties following the introduction of the under-occupancy charge. We are delighted to be able to assist this demand while also helping Liverpool...

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    Care for those who have self-harmed is lacking

    Research into 32 hospitals over a three-month period highlighted a marked variability in the care provided.  Over two-thirds of self-harm patients didn't receive specialist psychological assessments and it showed that little improvement had occurred over a decade. Senior author of the study, Professor Nav Kapur, said: "We were surprised to find that despite national guidelines and policy...

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    Hospitals to pay for errors that result in injury or death

    As well as financial penalties, hospitals have to provide patients with a named consultant during their stay in an attempt to improve the safety of care across the NHS. Part of the plans also sees the legalisation of hospitals obliged to tell patients or relatives if treatment has harmed or killed someone through a new statutory "duty of candour" on providers of care. Doctors, nurses and other...

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    Help is needed for the poorest families struggling with debt

    The Centre for Social Justice has said that the average UK household has debts of around £54,000, including mortgages, which is almost double the level of a decade ago. They say that the poorest 10% of households have debts that average more than four times their income. They believe that these households need affordable credit and free debt advice. The report, titled Maxed Out, led by former...

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    Workplace mental health service

    The plan called Healthy Minds, intends to provide early intervention through employee engagement, online self-help programmes and round-the-clock support for people with mild to moderate psychological disorders like stress, anxiety and depression. Employees are able to self-refer themselves to the service, without the need for a GP appointment, reports Workplace Savings and Benefits.Bupa has said...

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    Homes to be heated by London Underground

    Islington Council's Bunhill Heat and Power heat network will run the scheme and they already supply more than 700 homes with greener heating. The new project will see the network will be expanded to capture and utilise two local sources of waste heat. One will come from a London underground ventilation shaft and the other will come from a sub-station owned and operated by UK Power Networks. Under...

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    Welfare reform is making it difficult to let homes

    94% of landlords surveyed by the CIH are experiencing an increased pressure on their letting or allocation systems. Over half are experiencing a loss of rental income as a result of void properties which can't be let due to welfare reform.Almost two thirds of respondents have reported struggling to let two and three bedroom homes as a result of the bedroom tax and the shortfall created by the...

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    Hospitals must publish ward staffing levels

    Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has introduced monthly mandatory reporting of staffing levels on hospital wards, however is said that the idea of enforcing a fixed minimum nurse-patient ration will be rejected.The proposals have derived from the aftermath of the Mid Staffordshire scandal where hundreds of patients died due to poor failings in care. Hunt is said to be likely to propose that the...

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    Robots to care for the elderly?

    The life expectancy of people today is at the highest it has ever been. In Japan, where the world's oldest population lives, £14.3m has been allocated in the 2013 budget to develop robots to help with care.Toyota is developing devices which will help elderly people with mobility support and Toli Corp has created a mat with a wireless sensor that can track and deliver feedback if an elderly...

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    Council offices turning into food banks

    The vacant building had originally been earmarked for sale as part of the council's accommodation strategy however it will now be let at a peppercorn licence fee to help feed struggling families.The agreement will also see two previously unemployed local residents being given jobs within the social enterprise. A six-month licence has been issued to Camden Foodbank Ltd, which is linked to the...

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    GP ten minute appointments to be removed

    There have been a number of requirements being removed during the latest round of contract negotiations between the government and doctors' leaders.On average consultations in England are said to last for around twelve minutes. In the new change GPs say they will be able to have greater flexibility over how they organise their appointments.The removal of the ten minute minimum slot for booked...

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    Wilful neglect to be made a criminal offence

    Under changes made to NHS England and Wales following the numerous care scandals that have emerged recently wilful neglect will be made a criminal offence.  The offence will be modelled on one punishable act that could be punishable by up to five years in prison under the Mental Capacity Act. The proposals are said to be unveiled next week, however doctor's leaders have said that the threat of...

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    Councils unaware of homeless placements

    In the past twelve months to June 789 households were housed in 69 local authority areas and despite legislation stating that recipient local authorities must be informed of any placements, it has been revealed by Inside Housing reveals councils are not always being told. Dartford received 205 placements between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 however has no knowledge of any homeless families...

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    Pledge by councillors to build new council homes

    However research by the Smith Institute found that only 10% actually plan to build more than 1,000 homes over the next ten years and 75% of councillors said they would borrow to build new housing if the government lifted the debt cap.From the survey it was found that councillors do plan to build new homes under the revenue account and new build council housing was also indicated as a main...

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    Seeking medical help early will ease pressure on A&E

    In a plan to reduce the pressure on A&E's ill people are urged to seek help sooner rather than later so that less patients go to A&E.Elderly and frail people with existing conditions can see these become worse in winter and NHS England say they shouldn't leave it too late to seek help. It has said that A&E departments become congested in winter as larger portion of frail and elderly patients who...

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    Criminals should no longer receive a second caution

    The change relates to "simple cautions" given mainly for "low level" offences such as shoplifting and criminal damage. Ministers say that only two would be granted in "exceptional circumstances". Police are able to use cautions instead of prosecuting if people admit offences. Concerns have been raised that cautions are being used to deal with repeat offenders and the government have pledged to...

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    Help for elderly people preparing for cold weather

    Alongisde the housing association is its maintenance company, Housing Maintenance Solutions, who are taking to the streets to hand out packs to residents that are aged 80 and over to ensure they are fully prepared for winter.In the packs tenants will also find a dynamo torch and information leaflets providing heating, health and financial advice, reports 24dash.The social landlord has also...

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    # Housing Day

    For 24 hours people involved in housing, whether it be landlords, suppliers, workers, housing association and even tenants can share a ‘day in the life' over Twitter. The benefit from this activity is that it allows people to see what it is you do within the day. No matter it is you're doing today, share it on Twitter and give people a further insight into what you're doing.It will also alert...

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    New two-tier plan to solve A&E crisis

    NHS England's medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, has said that it is an illusion to think that all hospitals are as good as each other.  He says that it was absolutely necessary to rethink under-pressure A&E services because too many people turn up there who do not need emergency care. Almost 40% of people leave A&E without any treatment, frail and elderly people end up waiting hours and...

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    Labour loses bedroom tax changes

    MPs voted by a majority of 26 to reject the bedroom tax which removes payments to council tenants' properties that are seen to be ‘under-occupied'. However two Liberal Democrat MPs backed Labour's motions.The government believes that it will be able to save £500m as a result of the changes. It argues that the policy was introduced to reduce the housing benefit bill and free up homes for...

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    London will have a 100,000 home shortfall by 2018

    London has a five year pipeline of 28,500 homes per year however it needs closer to 50,000, real estate adviser Savills has warned. In their report it shows that 57% of demand comes from the lowest end of the market however it is not being met which accounts for 21,500 of the shortfall. The report warns that businesses may be driven out of the capital unless the amount of affordable homes is...

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    NHS patients at risk due to nursing cuts

    Some NHS hospitals are functioning with 20,000 less nurses than needed, a new report from ministers has warned.Across the NHS in England there are a total of 19,526 full-time nursing posts left unfilled due to the Whitehall-ordered drive to save £20bn by 2015 in "efficiency gains".The RCN's chief executive Dr Peter Carter, has said that the health service is about to be hit by "a hidden...

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    Almost two-third of adults keep schizophrenia a secret from their employers

    The research, taken by charity Rethink Mental Illness, found that only 35% of people would be open with their boss if they found out they had the illness.Using an online YouGov poll of more than 2,000 adults one in four said they wouldn't tell a friend if they had the illness either and more than three-quarters wouldn't tell a neighbour. CBI, a business group, says that more needs to be done by...

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    People Struggle To Pay For Expensive Smartphone Deals

     According to MSN, the trust also records 13,389 calls between January and August, a 15% increase on the same period a year ago.It said that in 2007, one in 25 calls (4%) were about phone debt, but has increased to one in nine (11%).The charity suggested that the rising use of smartphones is a factor behind the increased number of calls.Many people see smartphones as a must-have product and...

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    Those at highest risk of heart attack could be identified

    A method of scanning the heart which uses high resolution images and radioactive traces could help doctors identify people who are at the highest risk of a heart attack. The test has been developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, can identify dangerous fatty plaques in the heart's arteries, which can lead to clots if they rupture, reports the Guardian.The radioactive tracers seek...

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    1,030 new homes and £110m repairs contract from one council

    Last Thursday night the planning committee approved 1,030 new apartments, 231 of which shall be affordable. Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: "The new homes, with their bold and exciting architecture will replace the lifeless, out-of town, retail-park look the area is associated with. The new Decathlon store will be retained as an anchor to the town centre we're...

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    More pressure will be placed on A&E if NHS walk-in centres are closed

    Whilst NHS walk-in clinics are hugely popular almost a quarter of them have been closed in the past three years. Many of those offered seven-day care and evening opening hours.Health service regulator, Monitor, has said that there was a danger that closures could leave many patient without access to GP care. It is believed those hardest hit will be those unable to register with a surgery, as well...

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    Council plans not to evict tenants in arrears due to bedroom tax

    Thanet District Council will vote at a cabinet meeting on 14 November on plans to support tenants hit by the government's welfare reform.In the proposals it states that no legal action will be taken against tenants who are in arrears due to the bedroom tax, unless two offers of a smaller property have been made.The council also plans to make 25% of its stock available on direct lets for tenants...

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    National old age social care loans scheme

    The Local government Association have said that the government could set up a company to lend money which would be paid back from a person's estate once they pass on. A scheme like this is already run by numerous local authorities and the government is said to be keen to create a nationwide system. However the LGA says that the government should underwrite it, rather than councils.The government...

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    Benefit sanctions could see nearly 450,000 people at risk of homelessness

    Department for Work and Pensions figures show that 447,000 people have had their benefits stopped since October 2012. Of that number 215,000 were jobseekers who saw their benefits stopped for at least a month.Research by Crisis looking into its clients placed on the government's work programme found that benefit sanctions were often unfair or made in error, reports 24dash.Leslie Morphy, Crisis...

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    Online mental health mentors

    On the website MindFull people are able to mentor and help other suffering with mental health issues. Volunteers give advice and support to others online. Sixteen year old Jessica volunteers and says that "It's quite nice to know the person you're speaking to has been through it themselves, so they understand what you're going through and won't be flippant or dismissive," reported by BBC...

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    £12bn NHS bill cap for drug industry

    The government has agreed a deal with the pharmaceutical industry to cap the NHS drugs bill at about £12bn, with companies paying the excess if doctors prescribe medicine that goes over that limit. Negotiations have been taking place for over 18 months and the Department of Health have announced a deal that will keep the bill for more expensive branded medicines flat for two years, and then will...

Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The Social and Financial return seminar was very helpful, helped me think about our approach to bidding, negotiating for funding and keeping hold of what we have! The New Technology seminar was really an eye opener- really got me thinking about potential applications for older people. P.M - Four Housing

 

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