Tag Archives: Charity

Our 2014 Blog review. Something to say about #vulnerable #youngpeople? Be a #guestblogger in 2015

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 830 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people

Click here to see the complete report.

Running away only makes things worse: @nolimitshelp blog #Runaways #YoungPeople #Vulnerable

suicide_male_wallFor many, coming home from a long day at work to a warm, cosy house with a loving family is no luxury, it’s just the norm. However for many children and young people across the UK, the home is a cold place of abuse, neglect and harm. Every year an estimated 200,000 people go missing, half of which are children. Last year at No Limits we saw 66 young people who were runaways, 54 of which were at risk of another vulnerability. Whether they’re running away from someone or something, a missing child is made vulnerable to violent crime, gang exploitation or drug and alcohol misuse. Young people need to be made aware of the dangers of running away and how this can cause a risk to themselves and their families. No Limits works to protect children and young people who are at risk, and helps to provide free support, advice and counselling to prevent suffering. You can help to address the issue of young runaways by donating to No Limits, or by offering your time to volunteer at one of our open access drop-in centres. Don’t let a missing child go unnoticed or unreported.

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

By Jess Sulzmann, Intern, Marketing and Communications No Limits

@Nolimitshelp Guest blog by @RowennaDavis Does working hard pay? #youngpeople #NEET

No Limits

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

It’s funny how one conversation with a stranger can completely change your views on things. I bet this young person doesn’t even remember talking to me. I met him doing some youth outreach work. He’d stolen some trainers and I was trying to figure out why we were seeing a spike in crime. I remember saying to him, convinced I was right:
“Why would you risk a criminal record just to get a pair of shoes? If that’s what you want, why not work hard at school and get a decent job? Then you could get a new pair every month!” He barely looked up before he gave his answer: “My brother worked really hard at school and went to uni – he’s not got a job, just a bunch of debt. So why should I?”
To be honest, I was stumped. He had a point. Although there’s no excuse for criminal behaviour, too often young people feel that looking for work in the usual way won’t get them anywhere.
The old deal that said if you work hard, you will get a decent job and live in security. Too often this doesn’t apply to this generation. Even if you’re talented and hardworking, you’re lucky to get a job on poverty pay with a zero hour’s contract.
This kind of wasted talent and lack of opportunity is one of the key reasons I’m standing for election in Southampton. We in the Labour Party believe that if you work hard and put the effort in, it will pay off and you will get a decent job. It’s one of the reasons we offer a jobs guarantee for young people who have been out of work for a year.
Of course it will take more than politicians to turn this around. If you’ve got some free time, why not think about volunteering to help the excellent work of No Limits? If you’re a business leader think about what extra work experience and apprenticeships you can offer.
Although right now I’m just a candidate, I’m trying to do my bit by offering work experience to young people interested in politics, so get in touch if you’re interested!
Together we can stop young people feeling like the young man I met, and give them faith that their hard work will pay off.

Guest Blogger Rowenna Davis  Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen

Rowenna can be contacted at rowenna@southampton-labour.org.uk

Rowena Davis

Youth homelessness increasing in the UK by @nolimitshelp

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It’s that time of year again and once again a barrage of ads – depicting perfect families, festive fun and Christmas cheer – stream relentlessly into our cosy living rooms. We all know life isn’t this perfect or ideal, but for some young people across the UK, their reality couldn’t be more distant.

Many young people across the UK this Christmas are facing a festive period of poor health, malnourishment and loneliness – why? Because they are homeless.
Here at No Limits we have seen an increasing demand on our services from homeless young people. Last year we saw 576 young people at risk of homelessness, 300 were sofa surfing and 191 were street homeless. Our services are highly cost effective. Each quarter our work with homeless young people is saving local (Southampton and Hampshire) services over £300,000 per quarter…over £1.2 k per year (Crisis Performance Indicators)

Thousands of young people throughout the UK are currently homeless. In real terms 75000 young people sought help from services when they became destitute, which means shockingly 1 in 100 young people in the UK have experienced homelessness in just one year (19% of all young people). Help is not always available or pursued and many resort to sleeping rough on the streets, becoming increasingly disengaged with society.

Since 2010, Government figures highlight that the number of homeless young people have intensified, in fact increasing by a third. Many factors could be attributed to this increase, including: the economic downturn, low-income families struggling to make ends meet, welfare reforms such as bedroom tax and JSA sanctions. Some young people once made homeless or of no fixed abode, face an uncertain future with potentially grim prospects.
“With rising youth unemployment, a changing welfare system and many families struggling to get by, youth homelessness is likely to get worse.” Said Jacqui McCluskey, the director of policy and communications for Homeless Link

That’s not all. 53% of homeless agencies were closed or were threatened with future closure thanks to a decrease or complete withdrawal of government funding. These figures highlight the abhorrent threat to the third-sector – specifically youth organisations, which are vital to our society.

Once young people become destitute, a multitude of problems become a horrifying reality.

They are:

  • More likely to suffer with drug and alcohol problems
  • More likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training)
  • Very likely to be excluded or willingly leave the education system
  • Vulnerable to prostitution
  • More likely to engage in anti-social behaviour/crime
  • More likely to suffer with poor health

Why are so many young people becoming homeless? 

According reports, the biggest factor in homelessness in the UK is “family breakdown”, usually between the young person and their parents/step-parents. Some young people endure such relentless emotional/physical conflict within their home environment that becoming homeless is considered a better option.

Often young people resort to sleeping on night buses, in car-parks or squats. Sometimes friends are willing to put them up for short periods of time, but sofa-surfing is a temporary means to an end and often doesn’t last for more than a few days.

Who is likely to become homeless?

Young people who come from various problematic backgrounds are more likely to become homeless. Including:

  • People who have been in care (6% of all care leavers become homeless)
  • People who have been excluded from school
  • People who run away from home
  • People who suffer any form of abuse at home
  • People from financially deprived circumstances
  • People aged 19 or 20 (31%)
  • People aged 21-25 (50%)

Many young people do not expect to become homeless and find it extremely difficult to cope with their appalling situations.

“I moved away cos of what me [sic] dad did to me mum, me dad used to abuse me mum, beat her up and that.” Said twenty-something, Neil, who became unexpectedly homeless following the breakdown of his family unit.

Where can young people go to get help?

There are a number of organisations that can support young people with the process of finding temporary accommodation, as well as helping them find long-term solutions, through addressing problems affecting their circumstances, such as joblessness, family dysfunction and drug and alcohol abuse.

This problem will not be going away any time soon and is likely to get worse, thanks to increasing youth unemployment, but we can do something. We can support young people who are struggling to survive by donating money/time or food to charities who are committed to providing assistance. Donating food parcels to food banks or a participating supermarket is another way to really help provide to those in desperate need.

Spare a thought for the thousands of homeless young people, who aside from being lonely, deprived and at risk – will have nowhere to sleep on Christmas day.

Do your bit this Christmas. Make a real difference.  Give to someone who really needs it.

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

By Max Willis

Bedroom Tax hits home

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Following the government’s introduction of the #bedroomtax in April 2013, the effects have so far been debilitating for those on the lowest financial rung in the UK. For many the extra pinch on their purse has meant falling behind with rent, accumulating arrears and facing ultimate devastation – eviction. Within a month of introducing bedroom tax there was a 338 per cent leap in the number of emergency hand-out applications, indicating precisely the grave reality for those on low incomes or benefits. 51% of the 63,578 tenants of 51 housing associations were unable to meet their rent payments in the first months of the new system.

Bedroom tax included in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 means that within a social sector rental property each bedroom must contain a person or a couple. If the rooms are empty the home will be considered under-occupied and face the penalty.

“The rise in DHP applications shows that many people affected by the bedroom tax are already struggling to cover their housing costs. It also raises questions about whether the £150 million DHP pot will be in anyway sufficient to cope with demand, particularly as the £26,000-a-year benefit cap has not even kicked in yet.” Stuart Macdonald, editor of Inside Housing magazine

One in three households affected by the tax is now in debt and face an uncertain future. Numerous people with ‘spare’ bedrooms are unable to move into properties with fewer bedrooms, as they are simply not available; an argument which has been presented by the National Housing Federation CEO, David Orr.

“This is the most damning evidence yet to show that the bedroom tax is pushing thousands of families into a spiraling cycle of debt. If these figures are replicated nationwide, over 330,000 households could already be struggling to pay their rent and facing a frightening and uncertain future. What’s more, people can’t even move to smaller homes to avoid the bedroom tax because there aren’t enough smaller properties out there. Housing associations are working flat-out to help their tenants cope with the changes, but they can’t magic one-bedroom houses out of thin air. People are trapped.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne argues that private and social tenants should be treated equally and says:

“We are simply asking people to make some of the same choices working families have to make every day. To live in a less expensive house, to live in a house without a spare bedroom unless they can afford it, to get by on the average family income.”

This is all very well, but smaller properties for families to move into, simply do not exist in abundance. In addition, people trying to escape the benefits trap are struggling to find a job with a decent wage to enable a basic existence and if they do, are facing bedroom tax penalties on very low incomes.

If you are worried by the bedroom tax or are facing difficulties with paying rent, visit No Limits’ website or visit one of three drop-in services in Southampton.  More information on how the Bedroom tax may affect you is available at:  http://www.housing.org.uk/policy/welfare-reform/bedroom-tax

by Max Willis

Marketing & Communications Intern

No Limits

www.nolimitshelp.org.uk

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#Youngpeople today are living in a world which has changed dramatically. This is the digital era – the age of social media – whole lives are projected online via sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The world is rapidly evolving and young people are facing a life where terms like cyber-bullying, ‘Facebooking’ and ‘going viral’ are the norm. On top of this the opportunities to advance their lives and carve successful careers are limited compared to previous years, thanks to the relentless stagnation of our economy. Older generations are staying in work longer thanks to increased pension age and longer life spans and free higher education is a thing of the past, potentially restricting individuals from getting better job. Those who do go to university face enormous fees of up to £9000 a year and a lifetime riddled with debt. Many public sector organisations and private companies have reduced their apprenticeship schemes and youths are scrabbling in their hundreds and thousands for low or unpaid internships even if they have degrees.

Life is not easy for young people of today.

“Teenagers and young people have an unmapped mountain to climb and most of them already have grit under their fingernails from making a damn good try. We shouldn’t be bashing them – we should look a little harder at what we’ve done.”

But what about young people who are living in poverty, as well as facing the general problems of growing up in a recession-riddled digital age? Can we really blame the kids or are they victims of their era? In contrary to the (sometimes) mass perceived notion of young people – especially those who end up on benefits – is that this is their choice; their accountability. Most young people do not aspire to a life in the dole queue and want the opportunities many poverty-stricken baby-boomers had in their time. Social mobility is more inert than ever and blaming young people for their inability to progress is unfair and short sighted.

What can be done to help young people in poverty in the UK?

Many charities like No Limits, offer an olive branch and the prospect of enabling young people to take positive steps towards a better life – a future which may not have been deemed possible by the young person.

Thanks to the generous donations we’ve received and the money raised for No Limits, we have been able to raise some of the funds to send four young people to complete The Challenge Adventure Charities Rad Vlaanderen Stuttgart Challenge 2013 at the end of September, which is in aid of Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

By including disadvantaged young people in this challenge we are supporting them in their quest for a positive life and better future. The skills and experience they will inevitably gain will be transferable to many aspects of their lives and increase overall confidence.

“I am at the beginning of my adult life, just starting to find my feet. I struggled in the past due to criminal behaviour, always looking for ways to get money but I am now realising my potential working with No Limits. I was referred by Probation to No Limits. Their Next Steps project always helps keep me busy and active. I enjoy cycling to get out and to keep fit and am really looking forward to the trip if we can raise enough to participate”

Young people of today are facing such adversity and struggle – let’s start helping them pave the way for a positive future by providing opportunities like the Rad Bike Challenge. Help support charities like No Limits who enable young people to help themselves.

Give some of our young people – disadvantaged or not – credit for fighting back against the problematic society we live in today. Let’s help them move forward and enable them to make something of their lives, irrespective of background or financial wealth.

Young people are more resilient than we think. Let’s help them, not crush them.

Max Willis

Marketing & Communications Intern

No Limits

Want a successful business? Donate to Charities

Non profit organisations and charities such as #nolimitshelp work hard to invest in ways to help the community and provide invaluable services to people often in need. By investing in your community, you or your company could give back to the community who potentially keep your business afloat.

By helping a local charity raise funds by volunteering your time, or donating, the list of benefits to you on a personal level and your company is endless.

There can be many ways of measuring success, so “it’s really important to have some clear goals in mind, and make sure those are shared and delivered for both partners”, as well as a clear exit strategy that leaves the charity in a better place.

“Charities sometimes say they find it challenging working with business, so having a good cultural fit between the two organisations is also vital.”

There are tangible advantages to giving back to the community too. For one thing if you give enough, you’ll be able to reduce the tax you pay based on charitable deduction on your income tax.  Information can be found on HM Revenue & Customs website. Why not increase your business profile too? By being affiliated with a charity that helps the local community, more potential customers may become aware of your business. Also it makes your company look good by adopting ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)’.

Although this is usually a term associated with big companies and brands, it’s still important to socially aware and accountable within a local community. Within our current society and austere economical climate, people are becoming disillusioned with corporate fat cats and companies who make huge profits but give nothing back to the communities who helped them thrive. By helping charities, you help yourselves as a business and the community – that’s a win-win situation, surely?

“When companies implement ‘strategic CSR’ they can find there are many benefits, including strengthened corporate and brand reputations and enhanced trust with key stakeholders (customers, employees, regulatory agencies, suppliers, and investors), improved risk management, increased revenues from innovation to identify new business opportunities, and reduced costs from efficiency improvements. “Chris Howells, Forbes

How can you specifically help No Limits?

Businesses are well placed to help No Limits by:

  • organising  a team building event e.g. refurbishing a room,
  • encourage employee volunteering with us
  • donating gifts in kind e.g. food, office furniture, prizes, venues
  • nominating No Limits as your charity of the year giving us publicity and greatly needed funds.
  • developing payroll giving e.g. so a proportion of employees pay goes directly to No Limits in a tax efficient manner
  • offering  a secondment e.g. to support an area of need within No Limits
  • By helping support local charities who help those less fortunate than others, we can strengthen the resolve of our local people, as well increasing awareness of local businesses, which in turn serves the community. By working together we can strive to bring back a sense of unity in our communities.

    We are all part of our society, so we have to take responsibility for it.

    Help others and help yourselves.

    Max Willis

    Marketing & Communications Intern

    No Limits, City