Government must invest in children’s & youth services

Leading children’s charities and local councils have called on the Government to urgently close the funding gap facing children and young people’s services as new research reveals a sharp rise in families reaching “crisis point”.

An open letter signed by five major organisations warns that children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with a £2bn funding gap expected to open by 2020. It urges ministers to “step up” and use the Autumn Budget to invest in vital services in order to save youngsters from serious harm.

The signatories, which include Barnardo’s, Action for Children and the Local Government Association (LGA), state that between them they have “spent years warning successive governments that a failure to invest in these vital services will have long term consequences” for the UK’s children and families.

The letter, comes as a report by three leading children’s charities reveals “crippling” central government cuts have left councils with no option but to close services designed to detect early signs of child neglect and abuse – forcing them to direct to a “crisis” fire-fighting model.

Demand for crisis support for children has risen sharply as council spending on services that are designed to spot signs of neglect and abuse early has fallen by 40 per cent between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the report shows. Central government funding for children and young people’s services has seen a real terms decrease of £2.4bn in that period, while local authority allocations for these services has fallen by £1.6bn.

At the same time, there has been a 108 per cent increase in child protection investigations, as demand for council help soars.

The research, from The Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau, also reveals stark geographical discrepancies, with the most deprived councils in England having cut spending on children’s services by almost a quarter (23 per cent) – six times as much as the least deprived councils.

The open letter to ministers reads:

“Children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with an unprecedented surge in demand leaving services across the public, voluntary and community sector struggling to cope.

“We believe that all children deserve the chance of a bright future. That’s why we are uniting today to urge the Government to use the Autumn Budget to close the funding gap facing children’s services, which will reach at least £2bn by 2020.”

It states that the number of children needing child protection plans has nearly doubled over the past decade, and last year saw the largest annual increase in children in care since 2013. The organisations also highlight that local authorities overspent on children’s services by £365m in 2014/15 just to keep children safe, and a huge £605m the following year.

The letter adds:

“Our children and young people deserve better than the gradual decline of services – particularly those services that help children early – that have been shown to make a real difference to their lives”

“Councils and the voluntary sector are committed to getting the best for every child. Now we need the same commitment from our government, starting with urgent action through the Budget to give local services the resources they need to help children and families thrive.”

The number of young people subject to child protection enquires increased by 140 per cent – to 170,000 – in the past decade, according to research by the LGA earlier this year.

A separate study more recently revealed that benefit cuts and increased levels of poverty across the UK were the primary cause for this “unprecedented surge” in demand for children’s services, while a lack of resources to provide universal services like children’s centres and youth clubs also played a significant part.

 

 

Children’s & youth work links

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Jurgen Klopp Released From Hospital

Jürgen Klopp has been released and attended a hospital appointment today as a precautionary measure, after feeling ill.The boss is back doing boss things after the precautionary visit.

Of all the people at the club we expected to end up in the hospital during international break, Jurgen Klopp was fairly low on that list. However, the Liverpool boss had to leave training and admitted himself to the hospital after falling ill to an as-of-yet unknown malady.

Whatever the medical issue, Klopp is out of the hospital, and presumably preparing along with the rest of the coaching staff for Saturday’s return to Premier League action against Southampton. Although he has been released, he is expected to make follow-up appointments in the coming days.

statement released by the club in response to news that Klopp had been hospitalised says:

“Jürgen Klopp has attended a hospital appointment today as a precautionary measure, after feeling ill. He is being assessed by doctors and will be absent from training on Wednesday as a result.”

“There are currently no plans for Jürgen to remain in hospital beyond his appointment and he will therefore return home this evening; however, he may require further check-ups in the coming days.”

It seems unlikely at this point that the German manager will be forced to miss the upcoming match, but if he did it would not be the first time this has happened as the Liverpool manger. He missed last year’s 2-2 draw to Sunderland after coming down with appendicitis and needed surgery.

Hopefully the illness was not too serious, and the boss will be back on top form.

 

 

Anti-Terror Attack Advice For Pupils Aged 11 To 16

Advice showing schoolchildren what to do if they are caught up in a terror attack is being made available to be taught in UK schools for the first time.

Young people aged 11 to 16 will be urged to run to safety, hide and tell police should they become involved in a gun or knife attack, in guidance said to go “way beyond the basic messaging” of previous campaigns.

An animated film, partly in the style of a comic strip, urges young people not to “waste time” taking pictures or videos of the scene, but instead to run away from danger. 

The film, entitled Run, Hide, Tell – The Story Of Nur, Edih and Llet, and specially-designed lesson plans will be made available to schools and youth organisations from Tuesday 14th November.

It also advises young people on what to do should they see something suspicious, and an extra lesson teaching basic first aid is being made available.

The lessons are not compulsory, but schools are being urged to use them to ensure the younger generation is prepared in the “unlikely event” of a terror attack, Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Lucy D’Orsi said.

D’Orsi said: “Whilst we cannot make these lessons mandatory in schools, I would strongly urge education providers and youth organisations to consider delivering this life-saving information to the 11- to 16-year-olds in their care.

“We appreciate this can be a difficult subject to speak to young people about, but we’ve carefully designed everything to be age-appropriate and we know from our research that this is information that young people want to be equipped with.”

The video and teaching materials, designed by counter-terror police and the PSHE Association, are available to download via the National Police Chiefs’ Council website.

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an inclusive vision for education” where “every child should be revered and respected as members of a community where all are known and loved by God. ”

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and language, policies on how to report incidences should be accessible, staff trained on recognising bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well to the guidance.

In the foreword of the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.

“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.”

The advice is an update on Valuing All God’s Children, guidance published in 2014 which tackled homophobic behaviour. This update covers a wider range of negative behaviours, incorporates the relevant legal and inspection frameworks and reflects the Church’s Vision for Education, whose four elements of wisdom, hope, community and dignity form the theological basis of the guidance.

 

Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel Genders, said:

“Providing an education to our 1 million children that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big responsibility.

“This practical and thoughtful advice is packed with templates and a comprehensive selection of resources for schools, teachers, families and young people. I hope that it will make a difference to our school communities and individual pupils too.”

The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that:

“However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority.” 

The full report can be found here.

Hampshire Constabulary Launches Firearms Surrender

The surrender is giving people the chance to hand in any firearms or ammunition which have come into their possession for whatever reason.

The surrender runs from today (November 13) until Sunday, November 26 and is part of national initiative run by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). It aims to reduce the number of illegally held firearms within our communities.

Each firearm handed into the Police is one less that could fall into the hands of criminals.  Whether it is an old family heirloom that has been stored away for years, a former military weapon or an unwanted firearm which was previously legally owned – all can be handed in to your local police station, safe in the knowledge that they will be disposed of safely.

Hampshire Constabulary will also accept replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, antique guns, component parts and other ballistic items.

During the fortnight firearms licence holders are also being encouraged to consider the surrender of weapons they no longer have any use for.

 

During the two-week campaign, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous.  However, this is not an amnesty and if further examination of a surrendered firearm reveals a link to a crime, this will be investigated.

Hampshire Constabulary are asking anyone who is unsure about an item they have to call them on 101 to get advice on what they should do.  Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Historic ordnance should not be moved or handed in to any stations, if you think you have any items like this, please call Hampshire Constabulary on 101 for advice.

Please click here for a list of which stations will be taking part in the surrender.

New World Record for Fire-breathing Full Twist Backflips

You have to wonder how a category like “the most fire-breathing full twist backflips performed in one minute” ever was accepted for the Guinness Book of World Records. He needed eight such backflips for the record, but Australian acrobat Aiden Malacaria managed to do ten of them. Let’s see what that looks like.

You have to wonder whether there was a previous record of seven fire-breathing full twist backflips in one minute, or whether this is new, and they just set eight as a benchmark.

Via Boing Boing

Cathedrals attract record numbers at Christmas

Christmas attendance at services in cathedrals last year reached its highest figure since records began, statistics published today show. A one year rise of 5%, meant that 131,000 people came to cathedrals to worship last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Increased attendances were also recorded at services in Advent with 635,000 coming to worship during the busy pre-Christmas build-up. Average weekly attendances at services on a Sunday also increased to 18,700.

Meanwhile, over 10 million people visited cathedrals and Westminster Abbey with half donating or paying for entry.

The Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, and lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings, said:

“Behind these figures lie stories of worship, learning, exploring faith and spirituality and encountering God at times of joy and despair.

“Through new forms of worship, bringing people of all faiths and none together, and serving the young and old alike, these amazing places continue to be at the heart of national life.”

 

Click here for more information.

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‘Salah is on schedule to score 25 goals this season’

Mohamed Salah’s scoring exploits have surpassed Jamie Carragher’s expectations – and the Liverpool legend believes the forward could reach 25 goals this season.

In breaking the deadlock against Maribor on Wednesday night with a deft, angled flick at the Kop end, the summer signing achieved double figures in just his 16th appearance.

The goals have flowed from the very start of the campaign for the Egypt international and Carragher sees no reason why Salah cannot continue to add heavily to that haul:

“Of all the transfers last summer, none has had more impact than Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah”

“When I saw Salah score his first for the club at Watford on the opening day, I felt this was a player who would score 15 this season. I underestimated. He is on schedule to get 25.

“The Egyptian is more than a traditional winger. He is a wide striker with the ability to get into goalscoring positions every time he plays.

“Just as with the signing of Sadio Mane in 2016, [Liverpool] have spent very well in bringing Salah back to England after his disappointing spell at Chelsea.”

The origins of Halloween

Watch this fab video about what Christians did on All Hallows Eve, and why:

It’s interesting to see that the origins of Halloween were celebrating the power of Jesus in the face of evil and death, and mocking all things ‘dark’.

 

Halloween – No Trick or Treat

If you do not want to be disturbed by trick or treaters this Halloween, download and print out a copy of the “No Trick Or Treat” poster by Hampshire Constabulary to display by your front door.

Every year Hampshire Constabulary’s force control room receives calls from people who have been frightened or disturbed by trick or treaters in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Some advice for the elderly or vulnerable members of our community staying home this Halloween:

  • If you do not know who is calling at your house, you do not need to open the door.
  • Try to see who is at the door by looking through a spy hole or window before opening the door.
  • If you have a chain on your door – keep this in place when opening the door.
  • If you feel threatened in your home, please contact the police.

Polichampshire-constabulary-no-trick-or-treate advice to children and their parents is to be mindful that some of the more vulnerable or elderly members of the community do not wish to participate in Halloween activities and in fact may feel intimidated by groups of people calling at their doors.

Hampshire Constabulary has prepared some advice for children and their parents:

  • If your child is going outside in a costume – make sure they are wearing reflective clothing or add reflective tape to their clothes.
  • Carry a torch and consider road safety at all times.
  • If your child is going out trick or treating – make sure they go out in a group, preferably accompanied by an adult.
  • Older children should let you know where they are going and what time they will be back.
  • Children should carry a mobile phone in a pocket or bag.
  • Make sure your children know not to enter anyone’s house or to accept lifts from strangers.