stepping up to social work…..

Two days to go until my assessment day for the Step Up to Social Work programme and. I am getting excited for what lies in store. I am not anxious (not yet anyway).

Hubby is getting jittery, reminding me that I have a perfectly good job to stay in  and that it pays well. Why is it that every time he says this I get a sick feeling in my stomach and I instantly want to distance myself from him?

This is not a healthy reaction but I feel that (once again) he is trying to steer me  down a path that he prefers. He has been doing this unwittingly since I was I my late teens and I have been trying and failing to resist ever since. 

I feel he is just waiting for the right reason to Kaibosh all my plans and he is keeping his fingers crossed that something will come up that will mean I can’t continue.

It’s horrible knowing someone you love doesn’t want you to do the thing you know you will love (but at times also find tough).

We shall just have to see how it goes.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

A housing policy that pulls the plug

Interesting stories from The Observer this week…

Rowan Jones in the Observer profiles how London is beginning to lose its identity as the things that make the city special – the markets, pubs, high streets and communities – are becoming unrecognisable. He cites numerous examples where local authorities are planning “regeneration” projects, which he says are in fact demolition exercises, which obliterate social housing legacies for the sake of new developments with fewer social housing units.

Daniel Boffey gathers reaction to the government’s plans to offer 1.3m social housing tenants the option to buy their homes at a discount through the right-to-buy. James Murray, executive member of housing and development at Islington Council, says it is possible that local authorities in inner London will have to sell every new council home they build, as soon as they are ready, to finance the Conservative’s giveaway. He says it could be the death knell of the council home. Meanwhile, Henry Gregg, assistant director of communications and campaigns at the National Housing Federation, questions whether it was legitimate to bring in a new policy, given its frailties. “At a time when we need to be increasing the overall supply of social housing, it is like trying to fill a bathtub with the plug taken out,” he states. Mark Field, the Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster, has called for a rethink on the policy: “It is a policy that arose during the election. There are some iniquities that need to be ironed out.”

Makes sense doesn’t it – spend money building them for people who can’t afford to buy their own home, then sell them off.

So the struggle to replace the council housing hole that Was started in the Thatcher years continues..

This blog is for UNICEF. Thanks for reading.

Salary to student

Yesterday I worked at an all day large scale event, spending lots of time (as part of my job) looking at a screen doing social media, so forgive me for not wanting to look at a screen last night to do a blog post. So £1 in the pot to UNICEF.

I had a lovely day at home today seeing my Dad and Stepmum for a belated Father’s Day. Hubby cooked the meal as I was knackered (I milked it rotten about working a 6 day week). Then spent time in the garden and enjoying one another’s company. Later I did some housecleaning and had a rare moment of feeling house proud. So proud in fact that I have taken to indulging a little if my earnings each month to buying something for the house. This month it was a couple of towels, next month I have my eyes on some cute ceramic toothbrush pots nod a soap rush holder from my fave shop Susie Watson. I would also like to squeeze in a pair of sandals in the sale at Anthropologie.

Part of me wanting to indulge now while I have a salary before I start as a student in social work next year. My husband is warming to the idea but more like lukewarm. My Mum, bless her, is willing to help out financially if needs be to help me through the course – bet she didn’t think I would need help as a student again in my 30s ……

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

sleepwalking society

Crisis warns the UK is ‘sleepwalking’ into a homelessness crisis….

More than 93,000 children in England are living in temporary accommodation, the highest level since 2008, according to government figures. They include more than 2,500 families with children who are staying in bed and breakfast-style accommodation. This was 35% more than a year earlier. Overall the number of households, including those without children, accepted as homeless by their council has risen 8% across England and 9% in London, statistics from the DCLG showed. Ministers said more than £500m was available to support homeless families. Campaigners warned that the figures show that local authorities were running out of capacity to house families in need, with Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, warning that England is “sleepwalking into a homelessness crisis”.

With right to buy schemes squeezing out families in need of housing, being sent out of their council homes on lucrative land and pushed further afield, what kind of society are we travelling towards other than a very negatively segregated one?

This blog is for UNICEF, thanks for reading.

Long overdue advocacy scheme to protect children from trafficking

A good move – the introduction of a Statutory child trafficking advocates scheme (extract from LGIU Policy update)

Frank Field’s review and the pre-legislative scrutiny committee heard evidence that children are not being adequately supported as they navigate the complexities of the social care system as well as the immigration criminal justice systems. This was seen as important for a number of reasons including that children are deemed to be especially vulnerable to going missing and re-trafficking if they are not properly supported.

In response the Government is conducting a trial of independent child advocates in twenty three local authority areas whereby a specialist advocate is allocated to a child who has been referred via the National Referral Mechanism. Their role will be to steer the child through the complexities of the social care system as well as the immigration and criminal justice systems, and to ensure the child’s voice is heard.

The Act places a duty on the Secretary of State to make independent advocates available for all child victims of trafficking, after a trial has concluded, provided that both Houses of Parliament pass resolutions that this is the correct way to proceed. This scheme, including the detail of the role, will be established by secondary legislation (subject to affirmative resolutions being passed by both Houses of Parliament). The interim trail evaluation was published in March 2015 and can be found here (PDF document).”

The idea of having an advocate for vulnerable children, particularly those who are in care and/or going through immigration procedures is long overdue but of course a relief that it is finally happening.

This blog supports UNICEF, protecting vulnerable children worldwide – trafficking is a crime and an abuse that many children suffer on a global scale so policies to help tackle this are heartening to read.

What I like when getting old

There is something about getting older that changes some of the things you like and dislike.

I am not talking about knick knacks – bizarrely I have always liked collecting little trinkets to gather dust, ever since I was a kid. I have noticed my daughter has the same bug, which makes dusting her dresser and shelves very very tricky. Good job I don’t do it that often.

No, my obsession since hitting my 30s is as follows:

– hand cream (my search for the elusive moisturising cream that lasts a long time and smells divine continues)

– interior decorating and ceramics. I enjoy reading Country Living (although confess it slipped into my bag at self checkout when I saw the price!!)

– fabrics, towels, tablecloths

– cream teas and herbal teas

However, I also like:

– motorbikes

– Motorsport in general

– roller coasters 

– blokey, explosions every 5 seconds movies

I am a self confessed ‘oddball’ but that’s just me.

My downfall is all of this is expensive, typically. Which is why it helps to be into these things when you are slightly older and (hopefully) have a bit more pocket money.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

the problem is….where do I begin

Today’s problems sending this country backwards are mostly…

Partly due to a bigoted and ruthless approach to immigration….

‘The Royal College of Nursing has warned that thousands of foreign nurses working in junior posts in the UK could be forced to return home under new immigration rules. A new migrant pay threshold means non-European workers will have to leave the UK after six years if they are not earning at least £35,000. The RCN said the rules would “cause chaos” for the NHS and waste money spent on recruitment.’

If I was foreign I would have left this country years ago as it has taken me 18 years to reach this figure – another sign of a Goverrnment completely out of touch with large sections of society.

Mainly due to a Government that wishes us to return to a period when you either earnt money or you died in poverty. Understand where they are coming from but it isn’t real life – what happens to the children brought up with low earnings (who are they trying to kid suggesting wages will go up and taxes will go down)  arrogant bloomin Tories!!!

‘David Cameron will today confirm a further £12bn of cuts to the welfare budget. The Prime Minister will use a speech to say that the Conservatives will encourage hundreds of thousands of people into work by transforming Britain “from a low-wage, high-tax, high-welfare society to a higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare society”. In response, Labour leadership frontrunner Andy Burnham pledged to oppose any attempt to cut benefits for the disabled or tax credits for those on low incomes. The Guardian says savings are most likely to come at the expense of working-age young people, families with children, and people on housing benefit, while the Independent quotes a warning from the Chartered Institute of Housing, which argues larger families could be priced out of their current homes because they would not be left with enough money to cover their rent.’

As per my previous paragraph, surprise, surprise this is the consequence…

‘Leading charities are warning that child poverty is on course for the biggest rise in a generation, reversing the steady improvements of the last two decades. Calculations from the IFS have suggested that progress between the late 1990s and 2010 has been reversed and that the number of children living in relative poverty rose from 2.3m in 2013 to 2.6m 2014. The introduction of the bedroom tax and cuts in benefits between 2013 and last year are blamed for fuelling the rise, and the Child Poverty Action Group has warned that the problem looks certain to grow for several more years with the government committed to a further £12bn of benefit cuts.’

On a lighter note, but not light enough, here, here to clover who wants to let the grass grow and save the bees – how much Government money could be saved from a reduction in grass cutting?

‘Charles Clover urges councils to refrain from cutting back verges in June. He says such action suppresses wild flowers, bees and birds, and ignores the pollinator strategy launched last November, which stresses the need to protect the 1,500-odd species of bees, moths and butterflies that populate verges.’

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.