Category: Voluntary Sector

Durham Police Force puts us at risk claim local naturists

Jane Neville

“Our events are a usually a liberating and joyful experience, but during one walk last summer, one of the ramblers was assaulted by having water thrown over them, whilst the assailant told the group that they shouldn’t be walking naked In public. It is discriminatory for Durham Police to post misleading reports that suggest that public nudity is illegal, and it puts us at greater risk of assault or harassment in future”.

Parental grief: coping with bereavement at Christmas

Carol Westall

Henry Dancer Days is a charity supporting children with cancer and helping their families with life changing essentials. This includes providing support with physiotherapy equipment to help with winter heating bills, and even buying tablets and mobile phones enabling the young people to have a crucial connection with loved ones during their long spells in hospital getting treatment.

Homelessness is blighting the north of England – a radical housing programme could alleviate it

Stephen Lambert

Although the number of rough sleepers in Newcastle is much lower than Manchester and other core cities, with up to 20 individuals sleeping out in the city centre on any given night, many thousands more make up the ‘hidden homeless’. Some sofa-surf in friends’ flats. Others sleep in cars or stay in charity-run hostels, grotty B&B hotels and other costly forms of temporary accommodation. According to the housing campaign group Shelter, a staggering 320,000 people are homeless in modern Britain.

International day for disabled people: the need for an inclusive approach

Julie Ward

In 1984 I found myself running an arts and disability agency for the north of England, and encountered the tail-end of the mass segregation programme that had resulted in millions of people with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities being locked away in large institutions, forced to do menial work for pocket money and with little say about any aspect of their lives. The arts activities that my organisation ran often opened up deep emotional scars from years of abandonment, disregard and abuse. Paintings, poems and performances were littered with powerful symbols of imprisonment and freedom.

3p in my bank account: the story of Tony and Boris – both ‘just about managing’

Peter Benson

Tony is so proud he hates asking for help and always says there are so many others who are worse off than him. He volunteers at a charity in London; manning the library, sorting new books received, and handing them out. He loves it as he is on a rota and has a few buddies. There he is valued. He would never reveal just how badly-off he actually is as he doesn’t want people to know.

Every ten seconds…

Peter Benson

But who is really looking out for the hungry in the UK? It seems to be down to all of us and businesses around the UK and an army of volunteers who so generously give their time energy and often money to volunteer in a charity food bank.

A day in the life of a foodbank volunteer

Jackie Taylor

Now we feed the families. One lady is scared for her kids over the virus. Another is worried about internet access as she has a meeting but cannot afford the internet costs that week, someone manages to gift her some data.

Soap and streaming by Jarrow entrepreneur: supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the North East

Jane Neville

“We have become more driven towards raising money for the LGBTQ+ community and trying to increase their presence in the North East gaming and streaming environment. In going forward, we are hoping to set up SFST as a charity aimed at helping members and organisations of the LGBTQ+ family, with an interest in streaming and gaming, by offering them support and technical help. We also are looking to assist with micro grants to help get people set up and ultimately build a Northern Gaming LGBTQ+ Network”.

Left in the dark, left in the cold: why charities and social enterprises are worried about the replacement for EU funding.

Michal Chantkowski

The mainstream government funded support schemes, such as the ‘Work and Health’ and former ‘Work’ programmes are widely criticised for multiple reasons. They appear to be focusing on low hanging fruit, on clients who need little support in order to progress, while putting minimum effort into supporting those with complex needs or facing multiple issues, and at the same time channelling money into multi-nationals and corporations and Tory donors instead of supporting charities and social enterprises.

Kindness breeds kindness

Daisy Windsor

It doesn’t matter if you missed World Kindness Day. It can go on all year. And kindness really does breed kindness. It is infectious in a good way, and it makes the giver of kindness feel so good. It really is win-win!

Tynedale Transformed: the second Sunday throughout winter

Yvonne Wancke

Following its festival launch, Tynedale Transformed is now holding a series of events throughout the winter called The Second Sunday, where they will hold events around a particular issue. The topic on Sunday 8th November is,” From the High Street to the Villages; Keeping our Communities alive”:

Please sir, can I have some more?

Sally Young

From the 1970s onward, successive governments have pulled back from the state provision of a nutritional meal. Remember “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”? Usually the dogma was around the Nanny State – though I’m rather taken with David Baddiel’s comment that the ”people who most object to the Nanny State are nearly all brought up by nannies”. The growth of the food industry, junk food, consumer choice and fast food – also the drive of privatisation, reduction of council costs, crackdowns on benefits and the reduction in numbers of those entitled to Free School Meals resulted in a decimation of the school meals service.

An Orchard for the People

Fiona Clarke

It was always intended that the community orchard should become an educational resource, both for adults to learn the skills of fruit cultivation, and for school children to experience nature and growth, and for it to be a community resource, for people to share the produce, to enjoy the environment and to have a space for local events

A little bit of kindness

Sally Young

At the beginning of March this year I met up with some friends in Sheffield. We had all been involved in a project on poverty some years ago; as often happens, we had become friends and had kept in touch over the years. We are all women aged over 60, from different places, different work […]

Meaningful Dignity and Shining Integrity

Bill Corcoran

History is like the tide coming in; sometimes you see it, sometimes it floods you without warning. The 21st Century started like the tide you can see; a cleaning torrent of optimism that swept doubt aside, giving us what now seems like blissful prosperity, culture and awareness. We even had decent football with Sir Bobby […]

The North East’s ERG

Sally Young
Gateshead Quays including Sage and Baltic photo by Paula Smart

The North East Covid-19 Economic Response Group (or ERG), could shift to put wellbeing, tackling inequalities and climate change at our core.

Dough for Maggie’s

David Hardman

It started in March. As lockdown started and panic began to take hold, I could not get flour anywhere. Every supermarket had been stripped clean, no wholemeal, no rye, no plain white, nothing. I have always made bread for my family in a bread machine (which, by the way, is awesome and nothing to be ashamed of […]

Absolute ‘socially distanced’ Cabaret in Sunderland

Helen Wilson
Absolute Cabaret perform socially distanced in care homes

If someone had told me four months ago that Absolute Cabaret would be putting a show together without actually seeing each other in person until the day of the show, rehearsing everything online and then not being able to get closer than two metres to each other on the day of the show, I would […]

Good Neighbours in Byker

Yvonne Wancke
Byker Mutual Aid banner

The beginning of lockdown saw a huge number of Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups spring up around the country. One of the first such groups to get started in Newcastle was Byker, an area close to the city centre. I talked to Silvie Fisch, local resident and group member to find out more. “The group was initiated […]