Blog Archive

December 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...

Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "Found the seminar very informative and gave an interesting and full insight into current thinking about the consultation.  Michael was a very engaging and knowledgeable presenter and encouraged interaction with the audience which led to further relevant points being shared with the room.  I shall certinaly look out for future events!" M.E. - Care Housing Association

 

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