Blog Archive

February 2014

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    New domestic violence campaign for schools in Croydon

    Len Goodman's son James and dance Kristina Rihanoff have helped form the Dot Com Foundation charity with domestic violence Sharon Doughty, who has developed the learning programme to help support children.The campaign is part of Croydon Council's early intervention work to help support young people, reports 24dash.On 5th March Doughty will be at the Community Space in Croydon Council's Bernard...

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    Legal highs summit to be held by government

    Norman Baker, the Home Office minister, has said that the substances were a "very serious issues" for public health. He added that they were dangerous as people buying the hallucinogenic drugs did not know what was in them, reports the BBC. The government has imposed bans on over 250 legal high. They are officially known as "new psychoactive substances" and several new types come on to the...

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    iPhone game launched to help raise awareness of homelessness

    The app is available to download for free and is titled ‘Don't Just Walk Past'. The game tasks you with completing a series of mini-games which represents a week on the streets so that you can "learn more about the practical issues, situations and emotions faced by rough sleepers" reports 24dash. The app has been developed by a Tongbridge-based company Caboolde Corporate and features two...

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    Why The Housing Sector Should Use Social Media

    It is a cheap and timely medium which can be used to respond promptly to tenants' wants and needs or to communicate, educate and advice them.24dash.com mentioned some uses of social media for the housing sector:Tips:Picture Source: (http://www.indiatimes.com/budget-2013/budget-for-you/your-loans-budget/budget-2013-will-affordable-housing-get-a-budget-push-63119.html)...

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    10,000 people at risk of death or serious injury due to domestic violence

    Data from 34 out of the 44 police forces in England, Wales and Scotland reveals that at least 10,952 individuals, most of whom are women, are at a high risk of violent death in the home or of suffering serious violence, in the year to November.The figures obtained are likely to be an underestimate as domestic violence is heavily under-reported and polices differ in their collection collation of...

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    Home swap speed dating

    The event was a big success with a large number of people attending. Professionals from the HomeSwapper home exchange service and a number of local housing associations also attended to provide information and advice, reports 24dash. The idea of home swapping has become popular since the introduction of the bedroom tax as many are looking to downsize in order to avoid the under occupancy...

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    DWP say housing benefit will be sanctioned

    The current system sees housing benefit paid directly to landlords and sanctions only applied to out-of-work  benefits, for example jobseeker's allowance or employment support allowance. The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed to Inside Housing that under the government's flagship welfare reform, if a tenant is working less than 35 hours a week at minimum wage and is not eligible for...

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    Watchdog says sick and disabled are getting hurt from mismanagement of benefits

    A spending watchdog has found that sick and disabled people trying to claim a new benefit, which has been introduced by Iain Duncan Smith are facing "distress and financial difficulties" due to mismanagement.The National Audit Office have discovered that the new personal independence payment, which is meant to replace the disability living allowance, will cost almost three and a half times more...

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    Phantom limb pain eased by virtual arm

    Through the use of a computer-generate augmented reality patients can see and move a virtual arm controlled by their stump. Electric signals form the muscles in the amputated limb communicate with the computer and allow real-time movement, reports the BBC. One amputee, Ture Johanson, has said that his pain has reduced dramatically thanks to the new computer program, which he is able to use...

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    App aimed to improve eyesight

    The app, named UltimEyes, gets users to complete tasks like clicking on hard-to-see targets and is designed to help rewire the brain to the process the information it receives from the eyes. This technique is called neuroplasticity and the app comes with a point system which is aimed to keep the user engaged via positive reinforcement. The app has been developed with Carrot Neurotechnology, who...

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    Watchdog issues domestic violence ‘wake-up call'

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are publishing new guidance to raise awareness for those coming into contact with domestic violence victims, and say these recommendations are a "wake-up call" to the problem, reports the BBC. NICE says that each year at least 1.2 million women and 784,000 men in Wales and England experience domestic violence. One in three women and almost...

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    National recognition for mental health training programme

    The Medical Research Council have received a nomination from Mental Health First Aid England after staff in Cambridge and across the country embarked upon the programme. Mind in Cambridgeshire's Aly Anderson is nominated for an individual 'instructor champion' prize.The two day MHFA course teaches participants the skills they need to support people affected.MRC has trained mental health first...

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    The number of rough sleepers has increased by 37% since 2010

    Figures from the Communities and Local Government have revealed that there were 2,414 rough sleepers 5% rise from the previous year. Since Autumn 2010 the number of rough sleepers has increased by 37%.  The number of rough sleepers in London decreased by 3% this year, however data released by homelessness charity Crisis and Joseph Roundtree Foundation found that rough sleeping had increased by...

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    Older people hit hardest by council cuts

    Sarah Rochira has told the BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme that reduced spending could have a "devastating impact" on the lives of older people.Representitives from the council have said that it is a "fallacy" every service can be saved.Ms Rochira has said: "There is a real concern among many older people that these vital services are disappearing, which will have a devastating impact on...

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    The amount of food bank users rises by 400% in just two years

    The Trussell Trust has found that there were 12,839 visits to food banks in London in 2011-12 and in the first nine months of the financial year this had increased to 63,397 visits. The study also found that 65% of Londoners are concerned about the rising cost of food. 66% of Londoners also support the introduction of free healthy school meals for all primary school children, reports 24dash.The...

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    Housing job cuts will hit people with vulnerabilities say union

    Jobs will be lost at South Essex Homes and Southend Council's ALMO due to its management fee being cut, which will result in job losses, reports Inside Housing. The ALMO runs 21 sheltered housing schemes and eight hostels, but now three of its homeless hostel manager positions are thought to be under threat.The council's remaining two care homes are also under threat due to the cuts.Claire...

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    Former homeless man begins his own business

    Thanks to a £500 grant from Broadway, a homelessness charity, Mr Parmar is about to start a business named Buzz Bike Hire. This innovative idea will see electric bikes rented out to tourists in London to help reduce their carbon footprint, reports 24dash. Mr Parmar has had the idea for a number of years and with help and mentoring from a business start-up programme run by the charity Broadway...

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    Give and Take events turn trash to treasure

    Sanctuary Housing and environmental charity ecoACTIVE provided people with the opportunity for an early spring clean and the options to pick up as many items they needed at swap shops held in Kingsmead and Morningside, reports 24dash. Over the course of the events items were given new homes and over 260kg of items and 50 litres of reclaimed paint were kindly donated by FRP The Paint...

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    Housing association helps new foodstore

    The food plus centre at Juice Community Project in Cadbury Heath is the first of its kind in South Gloucestershire and is run by Bristol-based Matthew Tree Project and provides a weeks-worth of food to feed a family for up to six weeks. Merlin is one of the partners of the food store and has donated £250 of food and supplies to the Foodstore, reports 24dash.As well as providing food the...

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    Stem cell trial to see if new ways to help heart attack victims is available

    The study involves 3,000 patients in eleven European countries and is aiming to show that the treatment can cut death rates and repair damaged tissue after a heart attack.Patients will receive a standard treatment which will widen their narrowed arteries. This involves inserting a small tube called a stent. Half of the patients will have stem cells taken from their bone marrow and injected to...

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    Women over 60 more likely to be admitted to hospital for anxiety

    According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, in the twelve months to November last year, 28% of anxiety admissions in England were women aged 60 and over. The most common age group for anxiety in men was between 45 and 49, with girls between 15 and 19 most likely to be admitted for stress, reports the BBC.The report has been commissioned by the NHS and is part of an analysis of...

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    Blind eyes can "see light" with new drug

    Rods and cones in the retina have a job to react to light; however they can de destroyed by disease. A study in the journal ‘Neuron' has revealed that a chemical could give "support-duty cells" in the eye the power to respond readily to light. Experts have said that it was a fascinating concept which may lead to treatments, however more research was needed.Researchers at the University of...

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    Court ruling on legality of bedroom tax for disabled people

    Over a three-day hearing in January, the court heard a challenge to last year's High Court ruling of the implementation of the government's under-occupancy policy is legal when applied to disabled adults living in social housing, reports 24dash.The High Court accepted that the rules are discriminatory however it decided that for disabled adults and some disabled children it was justified and...

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    Record amount of sanctions made against benefit claimants last year

    Figures published by the DWP show the total number of sanctions against benefit claimants in the year to September 2013 was 897,690, which is the highest figure for any 12-month period since the introduction of jobseeker's allowance in 1996.In the year to 30 September 2013 the number of JSA sanctions was 874,850 which compares to 500,000 in the year to 30 April 2010. In the same period there were...

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    £6m homelessness support centre being built

    A state-of-the-art centre is being developed in Hillfields, Coventry, by social landlord Whitefriars Housing, which will provide accommodation and training to support to homeless people.Wates Living Space is developing the new facility on a former industrial site and will see wider regeneration of the area, reports 24dash. The building is due for completion in spring 2015, and the construction...

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    25% budget reductions from pilot that helps people navigate care services

    Three pilots established by Homeless Link, Mind, Drugscope and Clinks have been evaluated and found to provide better and cheaper care. The pilots focus on a dedicated worker as a single point of contact for people engaged with homelessness services.The initiative called, Making Every Adult Matter, was piloted in Cambridgeshire and found costs related to crime, drugs and alcohol, mental health...

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    A remodelled sheltered housing scheme is set to expand

    Bield, a social care and housing provider has become the first landlord in Scotland to modernise all of its sheltered housing services and offer a new retirement service, reports 24dash.Bield believes its retirement housing provides accommodation and tenancy support as it is specially designed to be affordable, sustainable and personalised to each individual.The new service was first launched...

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    Catholic Archbishop calls welfare reform a "disgrace"

    Speaking to the Telegraph, Archbishop Nichols said the welfare state was becoming "more punitive"."I think what's happening is two things", he said. "One is that the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution, has actually been torn apart. It no longer exists, and that is a real, real dramatic crisis. And the second is that, in this...

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    The number of police cells used in mental health crises will be halved

    The number of police cells used for people having a mental health crisis is intended to be halved under an agreement between police, mental health trusts and paramedics, reports the Guardian. The "crisis care concordat" has been signed by 22 national organisations which include the Department of Health, the Home Office and the charity Mind, and is aimed at securing dramatic improvements in the...

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    500th social housing kitchen completed

    Approximately 1,300 of the council's properties will now benefit from a brand new kitchen in the current financial year.  650 of these will be provided by contractor Wates Living Space, reports 24dash.Lee Sale, Wates business manager for the North West, added: "It is with great pride that we reach yet another substantial milestone in our work for West Lancashire Borough Council. Construction is...

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    Badly performing care homes to be highlighted by new watchdog

    The Care Inspectorate, which inspects 14,000 care homes, nurseries and other support services, has said that it will notify the media when an organisation fails to meet standards and highlight them on its website, reports Inside Housing. Figures published last month show a 3% rise in complaints to the inspectorate in the second half of last year compared to 2012.Annette Bruton, chief...

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    Bedroom tax loophole closed

    The Department for Work and Pensions has advised its staff that the loophole, which sees anybody who had continuously claimed housing benefit whilst living in the same property since 1996 being exempt, has been closed. Rather than the DWP intervening directly it has put the responsibility on councils to sort out the problems at a local level. Some sources have estimated that 40,000 to 60,000...

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    Loneliness is twice as likely to kill older people as obesity

    Scientists tracked over 2,000 people aged 50 and over and found that the loneliest were twice as likely to die as the least lonely, reports the Guardian.When comparing the average person in the study, those who reported being lonely had a 14% greater risk of dying. This figure means that loneliness has around twice the impact on an early death as obesity. The risk of an early death increased by...

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    Affordable housing to come from empty offices

    Raglan Housing is going to convert Orchard House in Southampton's Station Quarter North regeneration area after securing funding for £2.5m from the Homes and Communities Agency to develop 30 properties under its empty homes programme.Raglan is also set to convert a three-storey, former working men's club in Chard, Somerset, into five one and two-bed flats. The scheme is due for completion in...

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    No Second Night Out sees seven in ten homeless people off the street

    A report looking into the progress of the initiative following its roll-out across England reveals that almost 78% of people did not return to the streets after being helped by homelessness services. The study, titled ‘No Second Night Out across England', looked at 20 areas, excluding London, and examined information on who was sleeping rough. 67% of rough sleepers across England are now helped...

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    30% of female population have experienced domestic violence

    Figures show that almost 5 million women have experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of sixteen.Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales revels that there were an estimated 406,000 victims of sexual assaults last year with nearly one million victims of stalkers. Over two-thirds of these were women, reports the Guardian.The survey also revealed that 10% of the...

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    35,000 hardship grants paid to poorest Scottish families

    Figures revealed 27,000 households received 33,000 crisis grants from the Scottish welfare fund between April and September last year. Each award averaged £65 and was mostly for food and heating costs.11,300 households received 12,000 awards for community care grants. These averaged £600 per award and helped people stay in their home or move from an institutional organisation, reports Inside...

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    Two-thirds of English households have fallen into arrears due to bedroom tax

    The National Housing Federation have found that not only have two-thirds of English households fallen into rent arrears since the introduction of the bedroom tax, one in seven families have received eviction risk letters and face losing their homes. The NHF have said that its survey shows how the bedroom tax was "heaping misery and hardship" on families who were unable to pay their rent but are...

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    Councils are failing to prioritise disabled tenants affected by the bedroom tax

    Freedom of information requests issued by Papworth Trust have revealed that 67% of applications from non-disabled people are successful when applying for discretionary housing payment, however only 59% of applications from disabled people are, reports Inside Housing.The charity's strategy director, David Martin, has said that councils were ignoring government guidance by not taking disability...

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    £70bn spent a year on mental health issues

    Thinktank have said that mental health issues are costing Britain £70bn a year and urge the government to help those with depression, stress and anxiety into work. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have said that mental health was the cause for 40% of the 370,000 new claims for disability benefit each year. An OECD study has found that the bill to the UK from a failure...

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    Housing scheme increases single bed housing for North Wales

    North Wales Housing has acquired a brownfield site in Llandudno and after demolishing the existing unoccupied building will begin to create the new development of nine one bedroom flats, names ‘The Stables.'Once ‘The Stables' is complete it will help to meet the growing need of single bedroom properties. It has been developed to Sustainable Homes Code Level 3, with high levels of insulation...

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    New Health and Work Service

    The Health and Work Service will cover England Wales and Scotland and offer non-compulsory medical assessments and treatment plans. It will be run by the private sector and be paid for by scrapping compensation to employers for statutory sick pay. Ministers have said that employers will save money overall as fewer staff will be off sick and that it may save companies up to £70m a year in reduced...

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    X-ray app to be used for testing and training

    The app will helps to develop medic's skills whilst identifying the areas of weakness which can be worked on in training and potentially save lives, reports the BBC.Dr Tom Lynch, one of the founders, said, "This is the medical and IT worlds coming together in Northern Ireland and producing something which is really unique."The app gives immediate feedback and the more the doctor uses it, the more...

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    Confirmation of homeless people sheltering in bins

    The survey was conducted by Streetlink, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and Biffa and has revealed that in the last twelve months almost one in five waste industry staff reported finding people taking refuge in bins, reports Inside Housing. Of these incidents 58% involved homeless people and 73% were found in wet or cold weather conditions.Matt Harrison, director of StreetLink,...

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    ‘Pre-1996' bedroom tax exemptions have been dramatically underestimated

    According to the DWP "less than 5,000" residents nationally have been affected by the oversight, however Liverpool City Council revealed 1,600 residents are eligible for refunds while Wigan council put their figure at 350. Earlier in the week Birmingham City Council announced 2,000, people are due refunds, Sheffield 500 Wirral 600 and Westminster 124.The total figure from these six councils...

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    Rise in cost of care sees councils resist retirement housing

    Housing associations claim that some council planners are blocking proposals because they are wary of older people moving into their area and in doing so placing more strain on social care budgets.  Proposed legislation outline in the Care Bill could see the cost of care spike as if it is passed older people will pay up to £72,000 in total for their care with the council paying the rest,...

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    The impact of bedroom tax on disabled tenants is set to waste £40m

    A study by social landlord Wales and West Housing has found that of the 779 homes assessed as being under-occupied, 74 have been specifically altered to fit the needs of their tenants. This averages a cost of £7,700 each. Due to the bedroom tax, almost half of these disabled tenants are now in arrears with their rent.The study also says that if all of the disabled residents living in...

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    57% increase in the number of young people who are homeless

    The charity says that dramatic rise in homelessness amongst 17 to 24-year-olds is due to the "horribly tough" economic downturn. Its figures show that 4,529 people asked for help during 2012/13 whereas only 2,890 calls were receive in 2007/08.Citizens Advice also reports a 39% increase in the number of young people asking for help over the possibility of losing their home during the same period....

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    Bionic hand gives sense of touch

    Dennis Aabo, a Danish man, lost his left hand in a firework accident almost a decade ago and has recently received surgery connecting the nerves in his upper arm to a bionic hand.Mr Aabo said that the hand was "amazing". In the laboratory tests he was able to tell the shape and stiffness of objects he picked up, even when blindfolded, reports the BBC. Robotic experts from Italy, Switzerland and...

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    Housing association helps the environment and homeless at the same time

    Northward Housing and The Mustard Tree homeless charity have teamed up to help get people back into work. The charity's Standfirm enterprise sees properties left by Northward's tenants, who have either died or left their flats suddenly, cleared out. If the contents are in good condition, the contents are given to the Mustard Tree which then donates them to people in need or sells them to raise...

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    Talking just as effective as drugs when treating schizophrenia

    Whilst only being available to less than 10% of UK patients with schizophrenia, cognitive behavioural therapy is a recommended treatment. A study in the Lancet shows that CBT could be helpful to the many people who refuse antipsychotic medication, however larger trials are needed. Four in ten patients benefit from taking antipsychotic medication, however the drugs do not work for the majority and...

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    Number of bedroom tax households owed refunds confirmed my Westminster

    The DWP is currently changing the regulations so that the oversight in the bedroom tax policy is amended. This oversight sees people who have been in continuous receipt of housing benefit since January 1st 1996 should not be paying. It has been confirmed by Westminster Council that there are 124 households in the borough who qualify for this exemption, reports 24dash.In a note to councillors,...

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    Money from a £100m regeneration fund is being used for housing

    Local authorities who will receive funding are Bridgend, Conwy, Flintshire, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen and Wrexham, reports Inside Housing.In Newport the money will be used to convert a former pub into flats whilst also bringing key buildings back into use. Announcing the allocation of the Vibrant and Viable Places fund was...

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    Record number of calls to charity for help for homelessness

    Homelessness charity Shelter said they received around 1,000 calls a month regarding homelessness issues between July and December 2013. This is the largest number the charity has ever had to deal with.Figures from the latest government data show that over 4,400 households were declared homeless in just three months, a 13% increase on the same period the year before, reports Inside Housing.Due to...

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    Many tenants still uncertain about Universal Credit

    A survey by the National Landlords Association found that half of those who took part said that whilst they are aware of Universal Credit, they don't fully understand what it means. 21% of respondents said that they were completely unaware of Universal Credit and only 30% said that they fully knew about the changes and what to expect.Universal Credit will see six existing benefits merge into one...

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    Can Social Media Be A Support System for Victims Of Domestic Violence?

    Telling a victim of domestic violence to go offline in order to be safe keeps them away from people who love them and can help them, this is unacceptable.Alternatively, maintaining safety is important in order to help survivors take back the control that abusers have tried to steal from their lives.The following precautionary measures can help victims/survivors of domestic violence to better...

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    Trash to treasure scheme

    Mr Pearce, from Broughton, Salford, is launching a new social enterprise ‘Old to New Furnishings', with the help of a grant from social housing provider Salix Homes. This new enterprise renovates unwanted furniture whilst helping unemployed people learn new skills. The restored furniture will be sold to the community at an affordable price with any profits being place back into the project to...

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    Labour finds 70,000 people in council tax arrears due to benefit cuts

    According to the Independent newspaper, the party has issued requests under the Freedom of Information Act to all English councils and 143 responded showing figures of 30,761 people being issued with bailiff notices. If this figure was to be inferred across England, it could mean that 70,000 people are being affected, reports Inside Housing. Due to council tax benefit being replaced with a grant...

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    Cells from donated eyes could give sight or blind people

    Tests conducted on rats have shown that human cells could restore some vision to completely blind rats. A team at University College London have said that similar results in humans would be able to improve quality of life, however not enough vision would be given to read.Within the next three years human trials will begin, reports the BBC. Whilst donated corneas are already being used to improve...

Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I found the event informative and timely it helped me to complete our response to DWP without which I would have struggled." S.S. - Safe House

 

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