New Forest Nightstop needs your help

Homeless - New Forest Nightstop

New Forest Nightstop is the only provider of emergency accommodation for young people aged 16 to 24, who find themselves homeless in the New Forest. There is no other emergency provision; hostels or shelters available in the area, so it is all done through the homes of trained and approved volunteers.

As this area is mainly affluent with a very rural spread, homelessness, as people understand it, goes very much unnoticed. Young people helped by Nightstop are not street-hardened rough sleepers people typically think of in regards to homelessness, but everyday teenagers, suffering a crisis, and in need of help and protection.

New Forest Nightstop quote

 

A team of 26 volunteers Nightstop provide free emergency over – night accommodation, meals, laundry, baths, travel costs, toiletries, start-up furniture, food parcel referrals, startup home energy costs, practical support with benefit claims, housing forms and the progres – sion of their housing case through housing panels, with a multi-agency approach to the best outcomes pos – sible, with the means it has. However, a Nightstop hosts offers much more 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 has provided over 2,000 nights of safety to vul – nerable young people from local communities. At the moment, there are not enough hosts, particularly in the Hythe and Dibden area, for the number of young people needing help. If you feel you can help then telephone 01425 478391 or email nightstopsupport@cfnf.org.uk

 

Be an action/2015 youth panellist!

action-2015_SETS

Y Care International are asking young people to get involved in action/2015:

Young people need to lead this campaign as they are essential to demanding, implementing and achieving ambitious targets for positive change and more just world. To ensure this happens, we are bringing together committed young volunteers and activists from the UK to lead action/2015’s youth activities in the UK as a part of the action/2015 Youth Panel.

The youth panel will be made up of 18-25 year olds from across the UK who will act as both an advisory panel to those working on the campaign and as advocates of action/2015 itself.

If you are 18-25 and have a passion for global issues then we invite you to join the action/2015 youth panel.

For the action/2015 Youth Panel we are looking for:

  • 18-25 year olds
  • Passion, motivation and an understanding of issues related to ending poverty, inequalities or climate change. We don’t expect experts., but a commitment to furthering knowledge on global issues.
  • Self-assurance and great organisational/ communication skills
  • Availability to meet throughout the year: Attend one 2 hour meeting a month (online and face to face) to dedicate 3 hours a week to action/2015, coordinate and lead your own youth action/2015 activities.
  • Willingness to travel throughout the UK – support for travel costs will be provided

We will be holding Youth Panel training to get panellists up to speed on all the issues of action/2015 on Saturday February 7th – successful applicants will be required to attend this training so keep this date free if planning to apply.

To apply, download our information document and application form.  Please return your completed application form to robbie.cheyne@ycareinternational.org by Monday 26th January 2014 at 10am.

The action/2015 Youth Panel will be made up of 18-25 year old representatives from over a dozen UK charities and so to ensure fair representation, spaces are very limited.

Archbishop John Sentamu criticises UK food poverty

John Sentamu

Archbishop John Sentamu in a speech at General Synod has called for “more equitable, more caring world” and questioned the effects of government’s welfare reforms:

In a long and often angry address to the Church of England general synod on Tuesday, John Sentamu said static salaries and rising prices had left nine million people living below the breadline at a time when the chief executives of the UK’s 100 biggest companies were earning on average £4.3m – 160 times the average national wage.

Sentamu, who chairs the Living Wage Commission, said politicians needed to stop referring to “hard-working” families and recognise that they were instead “hard-pressed” families struggling to survive despite their best efforts.

“Once upon a time you couldn’t really be living in poverty if you had a regular income,” he said. “You could find yourself on a low income, yes. But that is not longer so. You can be in work and still live in poverty.”

Reports of malnutrition and food poverty in Yorkshire “disgrace us all, leaving a dark stain on our consciences”, he said. “How can it be that last year more than 27,000 people were diagnosed as suffering from malnutrition in Leeds – not Lesotho, not Liberia, not Lusaka but Leeds?”

The effects of the government’s welfare reforms, Sentamu said, were “beginning to bite – with reductions in housing benefit for so-called under-occupation of social housing, the cap on benefits for workless householders and single parents, and the gradual replacement of the disability living allowance with a personal independence payment”.

“This is the new reality,” he said, “Food banks aren’t going to go away any time soon. Prices are rising more than three times faster than wages. This has been going on for 10 years now. And for people slipping into poverty, the reality is much harsher.”

If governments were powerless to do much more than “tinker” with the current economic trends, he added, the church would find itself doing even more.

Reflecting on Christianity’s long commitment to fighting poverty – from Saint Francis of Assisi to John Wesley, and from Gustavo Gutiérrez, the Peruvian priest and father of liberation theology, to the current pope – Sentamu said the Church of England had once again found itself compelled to speak up for the poor, and urged Anglicans to follow the example of the architects of the welfare state.

“They had a clear vision as to how things could be different,” he said. “In part, they were also tapping into the spirit of the immediate postwar years in which there was a great hunger to rebuild a more equitable, more caring world. It is that vision which we need to recapture today, but remoulded in a way which is realistic for the circumstances we face now.”

Poverty, the archbishop concluded, was “costly, wasteful and indeed very risky”. He said: “We in the church must make the argument that losing human potential at a time when we need all the capacity we can gather is hugely wasteful; that paying people below the level required for subsistence fractures the social contract and insurance, and that this is risky.”

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.