Paul works at No Limits as a Housing Worker. He started off by volunteering for us but almost a year ago became a paid worker. In a typical day Paul will help young people (often those who are very vulnerable) find accommodation but also ensure that they do not lose their tenancies. Most of his work is with the A2T project where No Limits engages with private landlords In Southampton and Eastleigh to provide accommodation for young people. He also supports young offenders to find accommodation after leaving prison or Young Offenders Institutions through our Next Steps project that specifically works with young offenders, care leavers and those who are young carers. He is also part of our Street Safe Team that aims to prevent young people sleeping on the streets of Southampton and respond quickly to those found rough sleeping by providing housing advice, support and access to accommodation. Paul feels that his greatest achievement in his work is when he supports a young offender by finding them accommodation and because of his support the young person does not reoffend and does not end up going back into prison. That is a great result!
Paul also has a life outside working for No Limits:
Biopic: Paul likes red meat and, if pushed, prefers to listen to Ollie Murs or Robbie Williams. He likes reading mainly non-fiction books about law and psychology. His film of the year is ‘Dark Night Rising’. Hobbies and Sports include boxing, cycling, swimming and going to the gym. In his spare time he helps out at a local youth club…..
A recent report ‘Campaign to end Child Poverty’ has shown that on average throughout the UK, one in five children are classified as below the poverty line.
The Joseph Roundtree Foundation quotes: The proportion of children living in poverty has risen considerably in the last 30 years. In 1968 one in ten children lived in poverty (1.4 million children). By 1995 it was one in three (4.3 million children). The UK has proportionally more children in poverty than most rich countries. All political parties have signed up to the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 and to the 2010 Child Poverty Act enshrining this in law.
In Southampton (Itchen) where No Limits supports children and young people 6,015 children are in poverty i.e. 29% of the total population of children….the same as Glasgow North and Walthamstow.
However here at No Limits this (unfortunately) does not come as a surprise. The IMD (Index of Multiple Deprivation) puts Southampton in the bottom 25% of cities/towns across the UK. This means that the young people and children that we support are already at a distinct disadvantage compared with the majority of young people across the UK.
No Limits:Helping young people help themselves
Nelson Mandela “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom’’
A few days ago we put up a plea on our Facebook page about our need for ‘in kind’ support for the young people of Southampton. ‘We’ve been getting through a lot of food, woolly hats, scarves and other resources in this cold weather, supporting young people who are sofa surfing or sleeping out. Any donations you can make would be great; tins of food, pasta, thermos flasks, sleeping bags.Drop them into a No Limits centre.’
Just to put this in perspective: In Southampton there are hundreds of young people who are homeless or who have no permanent place to live. Our aim at No Limits is to find them accommodation but in the short term we support those who are “sofa surfing” (staying a few nights here and there) with food as they come to us hungry or needing to be able to provide food for their host. We also supply snacks and give out food to help young people make a meal. In our three centres they can use a shower, washing machine, have emergency clothing and access funding for urgent social needs.
We have been fortunate in receiving support from individuals but also donations from local organisations such as BBC Radio Solent, Wave 105 FM and Southampton Rotary as well as some Trusts and Foundations.
Today’s Southern Echo reported that the City Council has confirmed its intention of making massive cuts, just under £500,000 of these cuts will be from Youth Services and almost £1 million from Children’s Centres. We are now also aware of the various changes to Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits that are due to start in April. All of these changes will affect families and their children and young people.
Our need for help in kind, for volunteers and increased donations will, I think, be on the up!
No Limits is a charity which offers free and confidential information, advice, counselling, support and advocacy for children and young people under 26 who live in Southampton and Hampshire. All our services are confidential and free to young people. We rely on the support of volunteers, local partnerships and dedicated staff who help thousands of young people a year.
We want to let everyone know about our great projects , provide some comment on how local/national political decisions and policies are impacting on the young people that we help and to showcase some of the work being undertaken by our staff and volunteers.
You can follow us on Twitter @nolimitshelp or see us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nolimitshelp