New Forest Nightstop

New Forest Nightstop

I received this recent mailing about New Forest Nightstop:

New Forest Nightstop is the only provider of emergency accommodation in the New Forest for young people age 16-24, who find themselves suffering homelessness and this is all done through the homes of trained and approved volunteers.  There is absolutely no other emergency provision; hostels or shelters, in the New Forest.  The first thing people usually say to me is ‘Are there really people homeless in the New Forest?’  Unfortunately, this is a reality that people are very much unaware of.  The forest is mainly an affluent area with a very rural spread.  This means that homelessness, as people usually understand it, goes very much unnoticed.  The young people we help are not the street-hardened rough sleepers people typically think of in regards to homelessness but everyday teenagers, suffering a crisis, in need of help and protection.

Through our team of 26 volunteers Nightstop provides free emergency overnight accommodation, meals, laundry, baths, travel costs, toiletries, start-up furniture, food parcel referrals, start-up home energy costs, practical support with benefit claims, housing forms and the progression of their housing case through housing panels, with a multi-agency approach to the best outcomes with the means we have.  But Nightstop hosts offers much more than this to a young person; a listening ear, a sense of belonging and trust, a future, protection from rape, drugs, abuse, increased employability, offering security to not only the young person but their education; 69% of young people who stayed in the last year were in education, training or employment.

New Forest Nightstop has just entered its 12th year and in that time we have provided over 2000 nights of safety to vulnerable young people from our local communities.  Our aim is to save them from reaching the streets and becoming victims there.  We are hard at work trying to bring an awareness of Nightstop and the tragedies it prevents to the communities around us.

But the reality is that, at the moment, we do not have enough hosts, particularly in the Hythe and Dibden area, for the number of young people needing help.

Please follow the link below to visit our website for a real insight into our work and activities.  You can read stories from the young people that have been supported by Nightstop, experiences of our volunteers and even watch our short film about homelessness in the New Forest.

I hope you have found this of interest and I look forward to hearing from you if you feel you can help us in any way.

Catriona Duncan
Nightstop Support Worker
Community First New Forest
Tel: 01425 478391

Email: Nightstopsupport@cfnf.org.uk

Web: www.newforestnightstop.org.uk

Calendar countdown to better baby clinic

Real Advent Calendar

The Meaningful Chocolate Company is hoping to equip a baby clinic in Kenya by donating £10,000 from sales of its 2014 Real Advent Calendar.

However, it is not just the charitable donation that makes The Real Advent Calendar unique. Behind its first giant window is a 32-page Christmas story-activity booklet, designed to be used every day in Advent. The booklet gives more detail about the Christmas story and has seven Advent challenges.

The calendar also comes with 25 Fairtrade Belgian chocolates and a line of the Christmas story behind each of the foiled windows.

The Real Advent Calendar costs £3.99. Churches, schools and groups can buy direct from The Meaningful Chocolate Company by visiting www.realadvent.co.uk and take advantage of a free delivery offer. Retailers stocking include larger Tesco stores, Traidcraft, Eden, Shared Earth, CLC and a number of cathedrals. Details can be found at www.realadvent.co.uk

Independent on Sunday’s Happy List 2014

The Happy List - Independent on Sunday

I loved The Independent on Sunday’s Happy List 2014 (NOT the Rich List): The full list of people who make life better for others.  The list seems to be a great reaction against the annual rich lists which are published at this time of year.  The list celebrates those who instead of focussing on themselves give back and help others:

This year, the Happy List includes: a 93-year-old who has raised more than £100,000 for Age UK by dressing as a bee; a teacher who donated a kidney to one of his pupils; the world’s oldest barmaid; the limbless Plymouth man who founded a charity to help other amputees; the London woman who founded a pop-up restaurant that employs only refugees and migrants; a couple who set up a bereavement service for parents who have lost a baby; and the heroic lollipop lady of Rhoose. In addition 10 well-known names have been highlighted for their efforts. People like Tom Daley, a role model for other young people wanting to announce they are in a same-sex relationship, and Charlie Webster, the sports presenter who ran 250 miles in seven days for charity.

And this year, for only the second time, we’ve included a posthumous entry. The remarkable Stephen Sutton was on our list but died just as it was being finalised. We have kept him in – our tribute to a hugely impressive young man. These 100 entries are the result of much rewarding research. The big thrill for us was the almost overwhelming number of nominations from readers. The Happy List is now very much a joint venture between the paper’s journalists and readers. Our desire to show a cross-section of talents and locations meant some worthy nominees had to be left out. The chosen 100 will now be invited to a party in their honour. This will provide the opportunity to meet – and celebrate their contribution to making Britain happier.

It’s great to see some friends and inspirations to me in my ministry and youth work featured:

Ben Bell, an amazing urban youth worker from London who has led Urban Hope for nearly 20 years helping young, underprivileged people in Islington and Hackney.  The charity today offers a range of activities to 150 disadvantaged youngsters every week.

Zoe Clark-Coates, a passionate campaigner, she suffered five miscarriages within three-and-a-half years. The trauma she underwent, and the realisation that no support for people in her position existed, motivated her and husband Andy to set up the brilliant charity Saying Goodbye, to help grieving parents.

The search for ‘Britain’s Best Volunteer’

bbv-logo

Markel UK, the specialist charity insurer and Small Charities Coalition, the support organisation for small charities, have come together to launch the Britain’s Best Volunteer award,  to reward those who volunteer their time to help small, and often local, charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations.

The UK public will be given the opportunity to nominate a volunteer they know who they think best deserves the award.  Nominations will be judged against a range of criteria including how long they have volunteered for; if they have overcome personal challenges; how their work has inspired others; and the impact their work has had on their charity.

The winner of the award will receive £1,250 for the charity or charities of their choice and a personal prize of a holiday voucher worth £1,000, while runners up will receive £250 for a charity of their choice and a personal prize of an iPad mini.

Members of the public will be able to make their nominations online, until 21st February.

Following the nomination stage, a judging panel of Alex Swallow, CEO of Small Charities Coalition, Michael Scott Investing in Volunteers (IiV) Manager – England and Andy Partington, Director of Markel UK, will select a shortlist of finalists.  Members of the public will then be able to vote online for their favourite finalist from March 3 to March 21.

Nominees must be over 18 and must be volunteers for a charity or community group with an income of less than £1m. Volunteers may hold any position within the organisation providing they are unpaid.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Two months into an uprising that has claimed at least two lives and brought thousands to the streets, Ukraine’s political crisis still seems far from any resolution. President Yanukovych has refused to declare a state of emergency, though by all accounts the protests are escalating.

Amidst burned buses, tear gas and barricades, however, there is another sight that stands out on the frontline: The strong numbers of Orthodox priests who have turned out, not to protest, but rather to pray.

Earlier this month, Ukraine’s government threatened to ban prayer services at the protests, but even that didn’t keep the priests from showing up with their robes and crosses and holy books.

As one priest said about the proposed ban, “It is illegal. It is immoral. Nobody can forbid people to pray.”

Check out these incredible photos:

Church in CAR gives shelter to Muslims fleeing Christian militia

central-african-republic-priest-xavier-fagba-said-he-will-not-turn-away-muslims-or-christians-seeking-refuge-from-the-fighting-within-his-church

A Christian church in the Central African Republic is currently providing shelter to a group of 700 Muslims, who are attempting to flee the vengeful “anti-balaka” (anti-machete) Christian militia.

For months, violence between Christians and Muslims has ravaged the country, leaving more than 1 million displaced from their homes. Following a series of atrocities committed by the Muslim Seleka rebel group targeting Christian communities, Christian “anti-balaka” militias have undertaken retribution attacks against Muslims in the country.

The pastor of the church in the city of Boali, which is currently being guarded by about 70 French troops, however, wants an end to the violence.  He told France 24 news,

“I am not going to let anyone hurt the people inside my church, it doesn’t matter whether they are Christians or Muslims,”

and encouraged his congregation to greet their Muslim neighbors with a “kiss of peace.”

Church and local officials are working on an evacuation plan for the Muslim families taking shelter at the church.

The World’s 85 Richest People Have as Much Money as the World’s Poorest 3.5 Billion

India - Agricultural Scale Up - Samarpan

You could read that headline every day for the rest of your life, and it’d probably never fully sink in.

Here are some truly staggering numbers from Oxfam, who released a study on the world’s income disparity that is absolutely eye-popping.  Just a run down of the bullet points is incredible:

  • Nearly 50 percent of the world’s wealth is owned by one percent of the world’s population.
  • The richest one percent of people in the world are worth about $110 trillion—65 times the sum total of wealth owned by the world’s poorest fifty percent.
  • 7 in 10 people live in countries where income equality has decreased over the past thirty years.
  • The total wealth of the world’s poorest 3.5 billion equals the wealth of the richest 85 individuals.

Food bank issues parcels for those too poor to heat dinner

Trussell Trust food bank

Whilst unemployment is going down, I was horrified to read how food banks are now having to give out “kettle boxes” to clients who can’t afford to use their cooker:

Food banks have started to issue specially prepared “kettle boxes” to clients who cannot afford to switch on their cooker to boil pasta or rice, in the latest sign of the cost of living crisis facing Britain’s poorest.

The kettle boxes developed by volunteers from the Trussell Trust charity contain products that can be prepared by adding boiling water, such as instant soup, Pot Noodles, instant mash and just-add-water porridge, as well as staples such as crackers, cereal and tinned food.

For even more destitute clients, a “cold box” food parcel has been created, containing three days’ worth of mainly tinned groceries that can be prepared without the need for heating or hot water.

The boxes, which the trust accepts do not meet the nutritional standards of its regular food parcels, were developed in response to clients who had refused to take basic items such as rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes and baked beans because they had too little credit in the electricity meter to cook them, or had been cut off by their gas supplier.

The trust’s quarterly figures show 355,000 people received food parcels last year between April and the end of September – more than the total fed throughout 2012-13.

More than half its clients were referred as a result of benefit delays, sanctions or because of welfare cuts such as the bedroom tax, although ministers have insisted there is no causal link between welfare reform and charity food-aid growth.

10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For

Food Bank

This article on the 10 things Food Banks need but won’t ask for is a really helpful list of things to consider picking up and donating to your local food banks:

1. Spices.

Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on.

2. Feminine Products.

Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Recommended: Buy in bulk at Costco for donating.

3. Chocolate.

People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.

4. Toiletries.

Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often don’t cover these.

5. Canned meats and jerky.

This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.

6. Crackers and tortillas.

They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.

7. Baby toiletries.

Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.

8. Soup packets.

Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal.

9. Socks.

From a former homeless person: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”

10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.

Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.

[SOURCE]

And remember! Food banks love cash donations because it allows them to buy whatever they need!

Christmas feel good story

Jordon Cox
A teenager collected hundreds of supermarket vouchers to buy £600 worth of shopping for 4p so he could give the food to families:

Jordon Cox, 16, scoured endless websites and magazines and gathered hundreds of coupons for dozens of products.  After spending hours each day searching the internet for coupons, he managed to collect 470, which he took to his local supermarket, and filled three trolleys with food and household items.  The bill came to £572.16, but once the coupons were factored in the bill was reduced to just 4p – a saving of 99.81 per cent.  The teenager, of Brentwood in Essex, donated all his food to the charity Doorstep which gives food to disadvantaged families.

He said:

“I read an article that said a thousandth of the UK population are unable to eat this Christmas because they don’t have any money.  I decided wanted to help as many people as I can, and to also show that it’s possible to shop very cheaply, if you know how.  It’s not an exact science, so you can never really work out ahead of time how much the total is going to be. I was stunned when it came up as just 4p.”

He started his Christmas shopping project on December 1 and scoured hundreds of in-store magazines and websites for money off and cash back coupons.  His shop, at Tesco Brent Cross, ended with an hour stop at the checkout to unload his items which included 200 packets of biscuits and 60 packs of butter.

He said:

“The lady at the checkout had worked at Tesco for 19 years, and she said she’d never seen anything like it before. I had a big crowd. I felt like a celebrity.  My heart was pounding and the adrenaline was pumping when we got to the till. So much could have gone wrong.  I could have left some coupons at home, or not read the terms and conditions properly. Some of them might have expired too.”

Vicky Fox, who works at Doorstep, said families who he had helped out were overwhelmed by the donation. She said:

“I’d call his gift a great and generous act of a young man and what he did made a real difference.  He’s made a really difference to families who work with us to survive on extremely low incomes and do need the help.  He made such a different to people living on the breadline.”

He bought:

  • 20 packs of frozen Yorkshire puddings
  • 20 jam roly polys
  • 80 packs of butter
  • 23 packs of Quorn mince
  • Four Gressingham poussin.
  • 40 black puddings
  • 200 packets of biscuits
  • 23 blocks of hard cheese
  • 20 pots of Yeo Valley organic yoghurt
  • 19 bottles of fruit juice.
  • 10 boxes of Paxo stuffing
  • 40 bottles of Anchor whipped cream
  • 15 bags of frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 4 packs of After Eight mints
  • 15 Covent Garden Soups.
  • 10 bags of Florette Salad
  • 36 packs of Cauldron tofu, vegetarian sausages and falafel
  • Crumble mix
  • Haribo sweets

H&M Will Raise Prices So that International Workers Can Be Paid a Living Wage

The company logo is placed at the flagship store of H&M, Hennes & Mauritz, HMb.ST, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer is seen in Stockholm

Clothing giant H&M says it wants to set an example among retailers by committing to assuring that international garment and textile workers receive a living wage.  H&M is pledging to pay a living wage to 850,000 textile workers after expressing frustration over a lack of action by governments to address working conditions in Asian factories in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster.

The world’s second-biggest clothing retailer said it would support factory owners at two factories in Bangladesh and one in Cambodia to adopt a fair living wage next year. The Swedish company, which has more than 200 stores in the UK, will then expand the programme to cover the 750 factories that supply its clothes by 2018.

H&M said:

“We believe that the wage development in production countries, which is often driven by governments, is taking too long. H&M wants to take further action and encourage the whole industry to follow.”

Working conditions for textile workers in developing countries have risen up the international agenda following the Rana Plaza disaster this year when 1,129 were killed by the collapse of a garment factory in Dhaka in Bangladesh. H&M did not have clothes made at the site and was the first company to sign a safety agreement for Bangladeshi factories after the disaster.

H&M said that because conditions varied between countries and factories, it would support textile workers in negotiating a living wage – a salary that enables a decent standard of living – instead of imposing a figure.  The company said it would use the Fair Wage Method, an established process for achieving a living wage. After identifying workers’ basic needs, a wage is agreed and is then reviewed regularly with better dialogue between workers and employers.