The right time to give

The fire is roaring, I have a belly full of food and children happy and sleeping upstairs.

But Oxfam have reminded me that there are families who have fled the conflict in Syria, who are in desperate need as winter sets in. They are going without basics like food and clean water. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring. 

I would like to think if I was in need and my children in danger, that other people in the world would help in whatever way they could.

So I am going to donate, as much as I can considering the cost of Christmas. My husband and I don’t bother with gifts so the money we would normally spend can go towards help.

Which is why throughout the year I also blog to fundraiser for UNICEF because charity is not just for Christmas.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Teachers quitting, tax credits & refugees

Some serious children’s issues in the headlines today.

Over half of teachers consider quittingA YouGov poll of more than 1,000 primary and secondary teachers in England, commissioned by think-tank LKMCO and Pearson UK, has found that three in five teachers have thought about quitting in the past six months, with science teachers being the most likely to want to leave. Three-quarters said the workload gave them doubts, while a quarter disliked the culture of schools. Three in 10 said they do not feel they get enough support and 27% said poor pupil behaviour was putting them off. Being unhappy with the quality of leadership and management and insufficient pay were also cited as reasons. The most common reason for choosing to train as a teacher was that people think they will be good at it. Teachers said their main reason for staying in teaching was feeling they were having an impact, with 92% saying the opportunity to make a difference was a major motivation. The Independent, Page: 10 Daily Express, Page: 10 Yorkshire Post, Page: 1

Children’s Commissioner concerned over tax credits

The Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has criticised George Osborne’s tax credit cuts and called for 800,000 children under five to be exempt from the changes. Ms Longfield has written to the Chancellor expressing her alarm over the plans and claiming that they would be very “negative” for the young living in low-income families. “Being part of a poor family means children are more likely than their peers to face problems with health, educational achievement and emotional wellbeing,” she wrote. Lord Lawson, the former Conservative Chancellor, has also commented that while he supports the cuts, he believes some “tweaking” could be done to the current proposals so that poorer families are not hit as hard. The Times, page 4, Evening Standard, page 8
Kent under increasing pressure from refugees

A report due to be discussed by Kent County Council said the council is willing to take part in the Government programme to relocate 20,000 vulnerable Syrians to the UK but not if it “adds to the enormous burden it faces looking after the unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied asylum seeker children”. The report said the council had been forced to hire 23 extra social workers on temporary contracts, mostly from agencies, and added: “Due to the extreme pressure on children’s services, Kent cannot accommodate unaccompanied child asylum seekers through the Syrian refugee scheme”. Councillor Peter Oakford said the council was looking for property to convert into reception centres. “It is disappointing that we have not had the support of other councils,” he commented. Daily Express, Pages: 8, 12
This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

UKs north South Divide For Refugees?

The latest news from the Home Office sees one of their ministers visit a Syrian family who have recently settled in the UK. Is this the start of a truly multicultural society or will the country’s North/South divide be repeated in the way refugees are re-located…..

I hope not.

The UK’s new Minister for Syrian Refugees has visited some of those who have been given sanctuary in this country to see how coming here has changed their lives.
Richard Harrington went to Bradford to meet a group of Syrian families and to speak to those who are helping them to settle in the community.
The families were welcomed to the UK among more than 5,000 people who have been given refuge here since the conflict in Syria began.
The government has announced that it will bring a further 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrians to the UK from the refugee camps set up for those fleeing violence at home.

Mr Harrington, who was appointed as the Minister for Syrian Refugees in September to co-ordinate the resettlement operation, said:
We want to bring the refugees from Syria here as quickly as possible – but we have to make sure we get it right for them.
I have spoken to those who are delivering the scheme on the front line. They spoke candidly about what has worked well, where things could be improved and what pressures they will face as the scheme grows – be it in school places, healthcare or housing. Their experiences will be critical to the success of the scheme as it expands.
I have also spent time with families who are now starting a new life in the UK. Listening to the stories of their journeys, their ordeal in the camps and how Britain has helped them start again, I was deeply proud of what we have already achieved.
But we have much more work ahead.
The minister’s first priority is to increase the number of arrivals via the government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme by working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to identify those who need our help the most.
Many have been injured or suffered psychological trauma. Others will need wider health or social care support. UNHCR staff will provide support on the ground and give us their expert view on those who most need our assistance.
The UK has provided more than £1.1 billion in humanitarian aid – more than any other country in the world except the United States – to support those who have fled the Syrian conflict.
The government has also set up a new Organised Immigration Crime Task Force to work with our European partners to tackle the gangs of people-smugglers who are preying on the vulnerable by claiming to offer them the route to a new life in the EU.

this blog is for Unicef.
thanks for reading.

The consequence of compassion

Following on from yesterday’s post. Below is a reblog from a blogger who shows what can be achieved through compassion – and it’s positive consequences. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Y-Dang Troeung, Hong Kong

“Never a Last Refugee” My parents named me after camp Khao I-Dang, the refugee camp where I was born. They did so to remember their survival, and those international aid workers who cared for them after an improbable escape from the labor camps in Cambodia, across the landmine-riddled jungle, to the border of Thailand. As […]

Impotent UK politics for refugees

Today I helped a story that doesn’t exist – one of ‘helping’ refugees but not really helping. 

The press coverage on the refugee crisis is making changes but as far as the UK is concerned, it’s superficial. Full credit to those cramming camper vans and lorries to deliver aid to refugee camps. But that’s not helping those Syrian refugees stuck in Greece and Turkey and Hungary. It certainly won’t prevent more deaths of young children.

The chattering classes are doing things to help but does it mask what real help should be for the refugees? Does it just help the politicians yo do something that is ‘visible to the public’ but actually scratch beneath the surface and not very much is being pledged at all.

The strength of public opinion is powerful but only if it continues yo push for more and doesn’t settle for half-hearted action.

That is my conclusion of the Government’s response so far.

This country could learn from Merkel and learn from Germany.

This blog is for UNICEF

Interesting news today….

This blog is for UNICEF. Thanks for reading.

 New diesel cars exceed EU pollution limits

A new report from sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has found nine out of ten new diesel cars break new EU pollution limits when tested in real world conditions rather than on test tracks. On average, the cars emit seven times the level of NO2 gasses permitted in new emissions rules called “Euro 6”, with the worst car producing 22 times the legal limit. The research follows suggestions from ministers on Saturday for more low-emission zones in a number of cities and pollution charges for diesel vehicles. A consultation document, launched by Defra, states that local authorities in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton should “consider access restrictions for certain types of vehicles” to cut nitrogen dioxide. Authorities in London have already said all but the cleanest diesel cars entering the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020 will have to pay £12.50.

The Guardian, Page: 11 Independent i, Page: 13 Daily Star, Page: 23

 MP wants unlimited refugee numbers

Labour MP Rachael Maskell has provoked criticism after saying that communities should accept longer waits for hospital treatment and larger school classes to take in more Syrians and others fleeing wars. Jane Collins, Ukip MEP for Yorkshire, said: “It matters a lot to hard-working taxpayers that they get the services they pay for and that their children get the best education possible.” Laura McInerney argues in the Guardian that Britain must take on the children, despite the potential burden on the country’s education system.

The Guardian, Page: 42 Daily Express, Pages: 7,14

Science teacher recruitment in crisis
According to research published today by the National Science Learning Network (NSLN), of more than 1,200 science teachers surveyed, 61% had considered quitting. Many said that although they loved teaching, there was too much paperwork and unrealistic expectations were placed on them. Overall, the Government is missing its targets for trainee science teachers by 22%. A Government spokesman said: Our recruitment campaign, Your Future Their Future, is attracting new people and encouraging top graduates to consider training to teach priority subjects like maths, physics and computing, and we continue to offer bursaries worth up to £25,000 and prestigious scholarships.”

The Guardian, Page: 40 Financial Times, Page: 12

 Fixing school meals gaps

Birkenhead Labour MP Frank Field argues that in order to halt the decline of universal infant free school meals (UIFSM), all local authorities should be given the duty and accompanying powers in law to automatically register all eligible children for free school meals. He cites councils such as Calderdale which is using housing benefit records to do just this, and urges others to follow the practice.

The Guardian, Page: 36



a powerful message from a fellow blogger

Further to yesterday’s blog – please read this powerful insight into the minds of two mothers – one who takes things for granted and one who has nothing to take for granted: 

(Reblog) A Letter from One Mother to Another

Dear Irresponsible Migrant Mother, What exactly were you thinking when you woke your children in the dead of the  night, picking up the baby still asleep?  Don’t you know how important it is for children to get enough sleep? They’ll be cranky during the day if they don’t sleep enough.  They won’t develop properly if […]

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.