Society

The Big Argument About Breastfeeding In Public

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 17.32.12

While we might be inundated with photos of glossy cleavages, it is far rarer to come across images of lactating breasts with babies attached to them. Breastfeeding remains an uncomfortable taboo. According to a recent poll, a third of women feel embarrassed or uncomfortable breastfeeding outside of the home and six out of 10 women hide it in public. This unease doesn’t come from nowhere. We live in a society where breastfeeding is routinely viewed as distasteful and inappropriate, something that should be done in the secrecy of the home rather than in public places. Although it is technically illegal to ask a mother not to breastfeed in public, this doesn’t nothing to stop onlookers taking offence. Read more on Refinery 29…

 

How Payday Loan Companies Are Ruining Students’ Lives

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 17.23.49

From adverts plastered on beer mats to fluffy mascots roaming university campuses, payday loan lenders are certainly doing their best to appeal to the student market. And while it might be tempting to laugh off such barefaced branding tactics, it seems their efforts are, in fact, succeeding. According to a recent survey of 850 students carried out by The Student Room, one in ten had resorted to a payday loan to support themselves through university. To make matters worse, the Conservatives’ recent decision to scrap maintenance grants is likely to push students further into the pockets of payday lenders. Just last month, the Tories announced that they will replace grants with loans for half a million of England’s poorest students. Read more on VICE…

 

How the UK Is Failing Female Asylum Seekers Who Are Victims of Rape

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 15.04.34

In 2014, Angelina Jolie and William Hague travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bosnia together to campaign for the end of the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. Their trip culminated in a global summit in London, where the former foreign secretary pledged to “end one of the greatest injustices of our time.” It was a humanitarian PR stunt to top all others, with the government conference costing £5.2million – five times more than the entire annual UK budget to tackle rape in war zones. But while the Foreign Office repeatedly pledges to end sexual violence in conflict zones overseas, in the UK we deny women escaping these same conflicts the most basic protection. Despite the fact that 70 percent of women seeking asylum in the UK have suffered rape and other sexual violence, domestic policy fails them time and time again. Read more on VICE…

 

Inside the World of Britain’s Professional Shoplifters

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 15.02.04

Plenty of people have indulged in some sort of shoplifting. The onion scam at a supermarket checkout, a drunken dine-and-dash, a felt jester hat nabbed from one of those shops at Glastonbury made out of metal poles, bunting and dreamcatchers – it all counts. But while most amateurs tend to pack it in at puberty, or at least once they’re old enough to pay their own bills, for others it can become a full-time career. And around Christmas time, those professional shoplifters are known to considerably step up their game. Throughout her 45-year stint as a shoplifter, 54-year-old Kim Farry says she made £2 million and took home an average of £50,000 a year. Read more on VICE…

 

What’s Driving the Rise of Steroid Use in Britain?

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 15.24.29

Steroid use in Britain is on the rise. Up to one million people illicitly use steroids in the UK, and in certain areas needle exchanges have seen a 600 percent increase in steroid users in the last decade. But while we’re all familiar with the stereotypes of steroid users – roid rage, shrunken testicles, exploding biceps – we’re much less familiar with the concrete physical and psychological consequences of steroid abuse. Anabolic steroids mimic the effects of testosterone, stimulating muscle growth and therefore enabling you to train harder and faster. However, they can also have serious side effects. These include everything from high blood pressure to heart problems, testicle shrinkage, erectile dysfunction, sterility, low libido and aggression. Read more on VICE…

 

Racist Guards and the Myth of Radicalisation: What It’s Like Being a Muslim in British Prison

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 20.06.45Earlier this year, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act was passed, and as part of its far reaching powers, prisons – alongside the NHS, schools and local authorities – have been placed under a statutory duty to prevent extremist radicalisation taking place within their walls. Cameron has decided to do away with “kid gloves”, and has promised to tackle Islamic extremism in the UK’s main institutions. Meanwhile, last week, the EU Commission hosted its first ever high-level conference on radicalisation in prisons. Pushing the issue further up the European security agenda, it looked at ways to detect radicalisation in prisons and improve risk assessment of inmates. It pointed to the UK as the model to follow. Read more on VICE…

 

An Urban Farm Is Teaching Ex-Offenders to Grow Salad Leaves

benito-severn-project-farm“Growing up in Exeter in a family of born-again Christians, I quickly started using drugs, motorbikes, music, and all that kind of stuff. But unlike most addicts, I was able to stop because I had experience of what it was like to work.” This is the story of Steve Glover. After recovering from his own addiction problems, Glover completed a degree in addictions counselling and set up the Severn Project, an urban farm located on the outskirts of Bristol. The project employs people from socially excluded demographics, including those recovering from drug and alcohol misuse, people with poor mental health, and ex-offenders. Read more on MUNCHIES – VICE…

 

Not Just Sourdough: The Feminist Artisan Bakery Run By Women Who Are Ex-Offenders

dsc_6769

Nestled between BBC Northampton and a quadruple-fronted Jobcentre sits the Northampton Boot and Shoe Quarter. Surrounded by neatly stacked rows of red-bricked terraces and boarded up shoe factories, it’s hard to imagine that trade was once booming here. Wandering past the graffiti-smothered shop windows, I approach my destination. Once home to an RAF boots factory, the building has been turned into an artisan bakery and café. But unlike most fiver-a-sourdough-loaf establishments, The Good Loaf is staffed by female ex-offenders. Read more on the New Statesman…

 

In Pills We Trust: The Rise Of Prescription Drug Addiction

1145781 Benzodiazepines – nicknamed benzos for short – might be classed as ‘minor tranquilisers’, but there is nothing ‘minor’ about their effects. For those that don’t know, household names like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Librium and Temazapam are all classed as benzos. Commonly prescribed for anxiety, sleep problems, alcohol dependence and other sources of discomfort, benzos act as a sedative, slowing down the body’s functions. In former benzo-addict Joe Simpson’s* words, “You just feel good. You feel relaxed, calm, anxiety-free, happy, warm. Life’s good. You’re in a little bubble. You can sleep. You can relax. That hectic day at work doesn’t matter. Nothing’s stressful. Everything’s fine.” Read more on Dazed & Confused…

The UK Just Got Its First Male-Only Mental Health Centre

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 13.48.43

Let’s start with some stats: in every country in the world, male suicides outnumber female suicides. In Britain, men are three times more likely to end their own lives than women, and suicide remains the most common cause of death in men under the age of 35. Of the 5,981 suicides in the UK in 2012, 4,590 were men. Deeply concerned by the prevalence of male suicide, Alex Eaton, founder of the Eaton Foundation, decided to take the issue into his own hands. Earlier this month he opened the first male-only mental health centre in the country. “It’s important to have a male-only centre, because men find it hard to talk about their feelings. It’s that age-old thing of men being macho,” says Eaton. “Having a men’s centre is a very simple concept. I’m surprised we’re the first of its kind.” Read more on VICE…

 

Pregnant migrants in the UK are struggling to access proper antenatal care

gettyimages-53252477_0

Pregnancy can be a nervous time for all women. But for migrant women living in Britain, the worries are manifold. Increasing numbers of female migrants are not seeking antenatal care because they fear high costs or being thrown out of the UK. In turn, the rates of maternal morbidity and mortalityamong pregnant migrant women are rising fast. Since the 2014 Immigration Act, NHS charging has been extended to a far wider range of migrants. In turn, hospitals are billing already destitute women up to £6,000 for their maternity care. What’s more, in some cases, women are being wrongly refused antenatal care because they cannot pay up front. Read more on New Statesman… 

 

We Asked Some Young Royalists Why They Love the Monarchy

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 13.39.53

As of today, Queen Elizabeth II is the longest serving monarch in British history, finally overtaking Queen Victoria’s mammoth reign of 63 years, seven months and two days. To celebrate, the media has treated us to a veritable feast of never-before-seen photos of “the real” Elizabeth picking out curtains and laughing, as well as a handy interactive guide to her life. But we’ve also witnessed an onslaught of debate from historians and commentators about whether she’s done anything apart from sip Twining’s tea, shake people’s hands and wrestle with her corgis for the past six decades. Read more on VICE…

 

Jailed with Rapists and Murderers: Why Is the Punishment for Graffiti in the UK So Extreme?

harsh-sentences-for-graffiti-820-body-image-1440017193-size_1000

I knew things had gone too far when it was announced that graffiti writer Skeam had been found dead, hanging in his prison cell. While many questions have been asked during the inquest into his death, an important one remains: why was this 23-year-old handed a 30-month jail sentence for painting walls and trains in the first place? Barely a month goes by without a graffiti artist being sent to jail. While GCSE art students and Italian tourists pay £20 a pop for a Shoreditch street art tour, writers are receiving heavier punishments than ever before. The maximum penalty for 12 to 17-year-olds is 24 months of detention, while adults can be sentenced to up to ten years in prison. Read more on VICE…

 

How the British Prison System Fails Female Criminals

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 13.57.55

Walking to sixth-form each day, the burgundy bricks of HMP Holloway were a daily presence in my life. I couldn’t help but wonder who lived in Europe’s largest women’s prison. No doubt, I would have been surprised to learn then, as you may well be now, that 80 percent of women prisoners are inside for nonviolent crimes. A recent report from the Prison Reform Trust has revealed the sharp disparity between male and female offenders. Women prisoners are twice as likely as men to have no previous convictions. As such, the vast majority of female inmates are imprisoned for nonviolent, low-level crimes, with theft and handling offenses being the main driver to custody. In short, women ultimately receive harsher treatment from the Criminal Justice System than men for equivalent crimes. Read more on VICE…

 

The Weird Life of a British Super Tutor: Teaching Mega-Rich Brats on Private Jets

Unknown

Along with Lidl and loan sharks, the UK tuition industry has thrived throughout the recession. It is now valued in excess of a staggering £6 billion a year. In turn, we have seen the emergence of a new strain of high-powered career tutors who charge as much as top-end lawyers to educate the offspring of the super rich. Because what else is there to do when you leave university swimming in debt and neck-deep in rejections from street food start-ups? Given the current state of the job market, it’s little surprise that many fraught graduates are helping rich kids pass their A-levels. The job goes beyond grades. With many tutoring websites heralding the effect of their services on confidence, manners and etiquette, it’s more like finishing school for hot-housed millennials. Read more on VICE…

 

I can’t even afford to be a property guardian

462259712

As a 23-year-old, the housing market in London can feel like an impenetrable fortress. Confronted with sky-high rents, it quickly becomes a hostile and daunting place. And in a city where garden sheds are sold as de facto homes for £70,000 and hundreds queue to view matchbox rooms, one naturally becomes desperate. For this reason, property guardianship felt like a sensible option for me to explore. As a property guardian, you pay a third of the market rate to occupy a temporarily empty property and safeguard it from damage. Nevertheless, there is a catch. Property guardians are not tenants so have no tenancy rights. Read more on New Statesman…

 

What It’s Really Like To Be Young, British, And On Housing Benefit

enhanced-17534-1437582744-22

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the budget this month that he will end automatic entitlement to housing benefit for people aged 18-21 from 2017. Although he promised exemptions for vulnerable people, those who cannot return home to their parents, and those who have had long-term employment, housing charities criticised the move. Who are the people who end up on housing benefit while still teenagers? BuzzFeed News spoke to some of them about their fears of losing their benefits and potentially becoming homeless. Read more on BuzzFeed…

Why Are So Many of Britain’s Buskers Being Arrested?

borisbusking

Busking is an art that should be approached with caution. While it gave birth to the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Tracey Chapman, George Michael, Edith Piaf and The Grateful Dead, it has also propagated the squeaky clean “nice guy” singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. But whatever you think of Sheeran’s inoffensive ‘allow me to serenade you in a bubble bath’ music for people that don’t like music, busking remains an integral part of our musical heritage. From medieval minstrels to modern-day guitar heroes, busking has long been part and parcel of British culture. But in recent years, the age-old practice of public performance has come under mounting threat. In turn, Buskers are being arrested, fined, having their instruments confiscated, and pretty much criminalised for simply playing music. Read more on VICE – Noisey…

 

The Closure of Hackney’s Mecca Bingo and the Decline of One of Britain’s Favourite Pastimes

mecca-bingo-closing-what-will-our-grandmothers-do-now-204-body-image-1435229377

Behind the shoddy grey exterior of Mecca Bingo Hall on Hackney Road, the room is heaving with people. Trays of Scotch eggs and pink wafers line Formica tables. Strip lights illuminate slot machines and nicotine-stained seats. Armed with bingo markers, pints and cocktail sausages, row upon row of punters bow their heads in concentration. When one elderly lady shouts “Oi!” instead of bingo, the crowd erupts into laughter and heckles. Believe it or not, this is the busiest the bingo hall has been in decades. But while tonight might be a full house, from tomorrow it’ll be empty. The big turnout for the finale night will not stop the once-thriving bingo hall from closing its doors forever. Read more on VICE…

 

This Black Police Officer Says He’s Been Stopped And Searched More Than 30 Times

longform-original-30387-1434037455-11

Last year, while trying to get into a bar in Nottingham with his friends, Nick Glynn was pulled aside by bouncers. “The door staff grabbed hold of my arm and said, ‘The police wanna talk to you,’” he recalls. “Then two sergeants took me to the other side of the road and stopped and searched me in front of the crowd of people queuing.” For Glynn, it wasn’t anything unusual. He estimates he’s been stopped and searched more than 30 times. “It might be even more,” he admits. “I’ve lost count, to be fair.” In this case, he was detained for 10 minutes or so. “I’d shown them ID to prove I was over 21,” says the 47-year-old. “But they thought it was fake.” It’s an experience that many people have been through. But in Glynn’s case, there’s a twist. The ID he was trying to show them wasn’t his driving licence, but his police ID. Indeed, Glynn isn’t just a police officer – he’s the head of the stop and search programme at the College of Policing. Read more on BuzzFeed…

 

How Strict Prison Sentences After The London Riots Have Caused A Cycle Of Reoffending

longform-original-30460-1433329518-8

For four warm, heady summer nights in August 2011, there was chaos in cities across England. It was the worst spell of civil unrest for a generation – and it provoked an equally stern response, with courts sitting through the night and judges overruling sentencing guidelines in order to send a message. In total, 2,158 people were convicted and prison sentences totalling more than 1,800 years were handed out. The pressure for “tough justice” meant some first-time offenders were imprisoned for the pettiest of crimes, including stealing bottles of Evian and multipacks of crisps. Nicolas Robinson, a 23-year-old electrical engineering student with no previous convictions, was sentenced to six months for stealing £3.50 worth of water from Lidl in Brixton. Read more on BuzzFeed…

 

The UK’s First Specialist Clinic for Women Trying to Reclaim Their Bodies After Being Raped

reclaiming-your-body-after-sexual-assault-172-body-image-1432812607

Rape survivors often speak of two versions of themselves: the person that existed before the rape, and the one that exists after. The aftermath of sexual assault introduces a whole world of unfamiliar anxieties and fears into the the victim’s life and can have an overwhelming impact on body image and sexuality. It’s so easy to become severed from your past life, to be unable to recognise you were were before. Not being defined by what has happened to you is incredibly difficult – impossible, even. After all, the violence of rape removes the sense of security, control and autonomy you have over your own body. After Pavan Amara, 27, was raped as a teenager, her relationship with her body and the very idea of sex changed forever. “It changes the way you feel about yourself,” she tells me. “You can’t walk past a mirror. You don’t want anyone taking photos of you and you don’t want to look back at photographs.” Read more on VICE…

How Benefit Sanctions Have Driven Brits to Suicide

images

Last year, on the 23rd of June, Malcolm Burge set off from his home in London to travel to a funeral in the West Country. Four days later, he killed himself inside his car. Burge’s cries for help came in the form of letters to his local council. “I’m now more stressed, depressed and suicidal than any of my previous letters,” he wrote. “I have no savings or assets. I’m not trying to live. I’m trying to survive.” These letters were ignored by Newham council, who later admitted to sending letters in an “inappropriate tone” to Burge. Having spent his life as a gardener at City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Burge started claiming benefits when he became a carer for his father later in life. Read more on VICE…

 

Born Behind Bars

pregnant-in-prison-178-body-image-1426684111

Pregnancy can be an anxious experience for all women: fears of miscarrying, birth defects, difficult labour and how you’ll cope are natural when you’re carrying a child. If you’re pregnant in prison, however, natural anxieties can become terrifying. What happens if you can’t get proper healthcare? What happens if you’re not let out of your cell when your waters break? What happens if you miscarry and no one knows what to do? Being pregnant in prison comes with myriad fears – most distressing of all is the question of whether you will be able to keep your baby. While female prisoners are legally allowed to keep their baby for the first 18 months in a secure Mother and Baby Unit, the vast majority of children are separated from their mothers. In turn, many women go into labour knowing that their baby will be lifted from their arms within hours, that they will return to prison later alone, swollen and lactating. Read more on VICE…

 

Too Poor to Die: Funeral Poverty

too-poor-to-die-278-body-image-1424966038

Burying or cremating someone you love is a bizarre, gut-wrenching experience that, whatever stage of grief you’re in, has to be done. But imagine having to do it in your own yard because you can’t afford a proper service. With funeral poverty becoming a growing problem, this is fast becoming a morbid reality for many people across the UK. As the cost of funerals has nearly doubled in the last decade, one fifth of the 500,000 families who are bereaved each year are struggling to afford the unavoidable expense of a funeral—the cost of dying is rising seven times faster than the cost of living. In turn, increasing numbers of people are being forced to turn to payday loan lenders, sell their possessions, or even bury their relatives in their backyards. Read more on VICE…

Documentary Shows Human Face Behind The UK’s Housing Crisis

Halfway-–-Nick-Pomeroy-620

Daisy-May Hudson and her family became homeless on 12 July 2013. When their landlord, a multinational supermarket, sold off their house, they were forced to pack up their belongings and vacate their home in Essex where they had lived for 13 years. Unable to afford soaring rents on a single parent income, the family had no choice but to declare themselves homeless. They were moved into a homeless hostel, a large institutional building, for one month. Then they were moved into a second half-way home, where they stayed for just under a year. Here, the low ceilings and pebble-dash walls were far from homely. Not only were they forced to share the microscopic bathroom and kitchen with another family, but they were prohibited from decorating or having visitors. “But who’d want to come?” says Daisy-May. “My sister’s school friends don’t even know she’s here”. Read more on VICE…

 

Cameron’s Vow to Slash Benefits for Under 21s Will Force Young People Onto the Street

david-cameron_1939896c

If the Conservatives win the general election on May 7th, David Cameron has vowed to cut housing benefit for unemployed 18-21 year-olds “within the first few days” of a victory. The question of what will happen to those young people who cannot find gainful employment and don’t have a family home to return to hangs like a storm cloud. Even Cameron is forced to admit that “some of these young people will genuinely have nowhere else to live,” as for many, housing benefit is the only barrier between them and the street. For the vast majority of the 80,000 young people who are made homeless each year, moving home simply isn’t an option. As many as four in ten young people become homeless because their parents will no longer put them up. Read more on VICE…

 

This Is Why You Should Care That Our Probation Service Has Just Been Privatised

prisons

On Sunday, our probation service was privatised. In a £450 million a year sell-off, 70 percent of it was flogged to private corporations, who will now monitor the behaviour of all low and medium risk offenders. But despite this being the most profound example of privatisation within the justice system in recent history, the media attention it has garnered has been relatively meagre. Perhaps because we’ve heard so much about privatisation we’re starting to tune out. It’s less upsetting that way. But what this particular sell-off means in practice is that, rather than having trained and experienced public sector workers to deal with individuals who are potential threats to society, we will be placing the responsibility of rehab with profit-driven companies. Read more on VICE…

 

For Homeless Women, Having a Period Isn’t a Hassle – It’s a Nightmare

homeless

No woman actively looks forward to getting her period. Even after decades of menstruating, it can be a painful, expensive hassle every month that leaves you feeling completely flattened. But if you’re a woman living on the street, having a period isn’t a hassle – it’s a nightmare. Because if you can’t muddle together enough money for food or shelter, it is unlikely you’ll be able to afford sanitary towels or tampons. Bar shoplifting, the options for menstruating homeless women can be incredibly limited. It’s often possible to access tampons and towels at homeless shelters and hostels, but what do you do if they’re full-up? Read more on VICE…

 

Healthcare in British Prisons: Why You Don’t Want to Fall Ill When Behind Bars

prison

Prison is the last place you want to be if you fall ill. Patterns of sub-standard treatment, medical negligence and misdiagnosis are rife. Even if you are transferred to a prison ward in a regular hospital, you’ll probably be handcuffed to your bed, no matter how intimate the examination. You are an inmate at all times. Even if you’re dying. In 2013, a report on end of life care, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s found that over a quarter of prisoners in their sample facing death had no palliative care plans. They also found that support for families was inconsistent. More inmates needed to be granted compassionate release – allowing them to die with dignity, around family and friends. Read more on VICE…

 

Renters are being evicted for complaining about their poor conditions

dsc_0262

 Complaining about your electricity, leaky roof, a lack of running water or a faulty boiler can leave you at risk of eviction. As ominous as the term may sound, revenge evictions pose a major problem for renters across the country. According to a recent report from Shelter, 200,000 people have suffered revenge evictions for complaining about poor conditions in their homes in the last year. In order to counter this problem, the government has decided to back a Private Members’ Bill which would make it illegal to evict tenants who make justifiable complaints about poor conditions. Susan Hayley has experienced the horror of revenge evictions first-hand. Since moving in to her Southampton home four years ago, she has not only suffered appalling living conditions but also prolonged harassment and more recently an eviction notice. Read more on the New Statesman…

 

By Cutting Funding For Refuges, We Risk Women’s Lives

domestic violence

Despite the fact that two women are killed every week in England by a partner or ex-partner, domestic violence refuges continue to be closed across the country. This leaves vulnerable women and children at risk. Since 2010, the number of refuges has decreased by 17 per cent, falling from 187 to 155. What’s more, the number of women who require support dramatically outnumbers the amount of refuge spaces available; across England, we only have 68 per cent of the refuge spaces we need. In some parts of the country, the situation is even bleaker, in many places in the south-east, there are twice as many women in need as refuge spaces. But this crisis is about far more than numbers. Women are being confronted with a desperate decision when they are refused a bed at a refuge: do they return to the perpetrator of violence or do they sleep on the streets? Read more on the New Statesman…

 

Fast Food Walkouts: A Dearth of Employment Rights

mcdonalds

Thousands of American fast food workers walked out of their restaurants and took to the streets at the beginning of the month, demanding a pay rise and the right to unionise. In 150 cities across the US, over 400 of these workers were arrested for protests, traffic blockades and other acts of civil disobedience. This is the seventh time in almost two years that workers from McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and other large chains have staged national walkouts. Behind the glowing images of Big Macs and shiny shop counters, tension has been steadily rising as workers have demanded more from their employers. Read more on New Statesman…

 

How Meditation Cured Dan Harris’s Panic Attacks

ABC_dan_harris_ml_131107_16x9_992

US journalist Dan Harris’s on-screen meltdown radically altered his life. Before his nationally broadcast panic attack on ABC news, Harris was your average over-worked, professionally anxious reporter. He’d joined the network at the extremely young age of 21, and was  thrown into the deep end when he was sent to Afghanistan to cover the Taliban. After a long stint dodging bullets in Afghanistan then  Pakistan, he returned home to a studio-bound job  with a severe case of undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. He dealt with this by dosing himself up on cocaine. But the unrelenting pressure of the newsroom eventually became too much for Harris. No longer able to measure his self-worth by his last story, he crumpled under the pressure. Read more on Welldoing…

Eating Alone in Prison Is Miserable

Fork in the road

Prison grub tends to be a bit of a mystery to those on the outside. The days of lining for a sloppy ladleful of gruel are mostly over, but if porridge is no longer staple scran for inmates, what do they eat? A friend of mine, “Josho,” is an ex-prisoner who has had various runs with custodial cuisine in the UK. According to him, processed meat and instant noodles are the new gruel, and the daily menus available to inmates are both unimaginative and monotonous. Not only that, but the wait between mealtimes can be as excruciating as the meal itself. Read more on VICE – Munchies…

 

Career development loans: are they a good way to fund your masters?

Co-Operative bank, London, Britain - 08 Jun 2012

Funding is the biggest headache faced by students wanting to continue their studies after their undergrad degree. Taught master’s degrees no longer qualify for research council funding, and while some students manage to put together a funding package through scholarships and sponsorships, others are drawn to taking out a bank loan. But is this a good move? Career development loans (CDLs) have become an increasingly common funding option for those undertaking postgraduate study. Read more on The Guardian…

 

Easter play schemes for disabled children axed due to ‘short breaks’ cuts

Councils are reducing the hours of support they assign to families to use for short breaks

This Easter, children with disabilities are struggling to gain access to play services as funding for short breaks continues to be cut. Short breaks provide respite care for families and carers of children with disabilities, but since 2010 the money allocated for them by local authorities has been greatly reduced. Lastest government figures show that funding fell by 6% in the last financial year across England. In 2011-12, 63% of English local authorities reduced their expenditure, a Mencap report found. Read more on The Guardian…

 

How the welfare reforms affect you: Hackney

IMG_0057

On average claimant households are set to be the 6th biggest losers as a result of the welfare reforms when compared to England. For those receiving housing allowance they will see their income cut on average by nearly £2000 and the 1% will see every claimant household £381, the second highest in England. Read more on EastLondonLines…

 

Networked Capitalism: A World of Cyber-Cells

network_Cap_Inline

The impact social media has had on our daily lives – we now record where we go, what we do and what we think for the world to see – has radically changed the way we relate to ourselves and each other. As the proliferation of social media has become increasingly seamless and habitual, we have become unwittingly accustomed to our mass migration into cyberspace. For this reason, it is vital that we give significance to what is routinely considered insignificant and explore the psycho-social complexities at work. As online communities have become key motors of self-image, social media has exacerbated our fast-growing fixation with personal image and status. As individuals obsess over Twitter retweets, Instagram likes or Facebook comments, inane narcissism has become commonplace. What may have begun as an innocent desire for personal recognition has rapidly descended into an unhealthy fixation with ourselves and our lives. Read more on The Occupied Times…

MEPs vote to criminalise buying sex

sex work

The European parliament has voted in favour of a resolution to criminalise the purchase of sex. On Wednesday, 343 MEPs backed a report proposed by the London MEP and Labour spokeswoman for women in Europe, Mary Honeyball, which recommends the adoption of the “Nordic model” of prostitution that legalises selling sex but criminalises buying it. Some 139 MEPs voted against; 105 abstained. The yes vote formally establishes the EU’s stance on prostitution and puts pressure on member states to re-evaluate their policies on sex work. “Today’s outcome represents a vital signal from MEPs that we cannot continue to tolerate the exploitation of women,” Honeyball said. Read more on The Guardian…

 

Older workers fear bias from employers

AgeDiscrimination

Age discrimination cases have risen significantly in the past five years, with increasing numbers of older Britons missing out on promotions and fearing redundancy, research has suggested. A new study from the law firm Slater & Gordon has revealed that workers as young as 40 thought they had hit a “brick wall” in their career. One in ten of the 2,061 employees interviewed said they had been the victim of jokes about their age and asked when they would be pensioned off. Read more on The Times…

 

Squeezed councils to make rat control pay

b65a01d2-a257-11e3-_531770c

Households face inflation-busting rises to parking, pest control and waste charges this year as councils struggle to balance their books. Several authorities are planning to introduce fees in new areas, such as rat control, with one even charging parents whose children use care home facilities, an analysis by The Times has found. Parking charges are going up by 10 or 20 per cent in some boroughs and several councils are setting up CCTV in bus lanes for the first time to make it easier to fine motorists who use them. Read more on The Times…

 

Hetty Bower: Britain’s oldest anti-war campaigner

Hetty-Bower-Source-Oli-Scarf

Britain’s oldest anti-war campaigner, Hackney-born, Hetty Bower, died last Thursday at the age of 108. Known as an untiring activist and founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Hetty had a key role in the Battle of Cable Street, the famous clash between fascist and anti-fascist groups in 1936. She was the seventh of ten siblings, born into a large working-class Orthodox Jewish family in Dalston in 1905, her political views heavily influenced by her radical father and older Suffragette sister. Read more on EastLondonLines…

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s