Good News for Adults as Youth Club taking on New Members

Sometimes for parents or carers of 11-17 year olds is having them out of your hair for a few hours, even more so if you know they are enjoying fun, educational activities and making new friends.

The Alchemy Youth Club in Crosby is accepting new members and takes place every Monday and Wednesday, 6pm – 9pm.

For the small price of £1 subs, young people can chill out, spend time with their friends in a safe managed space, while also taking part in a wide range of fun activities including sports, arts and crafts.

They can also gain advice and support from qualified youth workers.

Learn more at the Parenting 2000 website.

CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO ENCOURAGE LOAN SHARK VICTIMS TO REPORT

A NEW campaign designed to encourage victims to come forward and report loan sharks after the Christmas period has launched this week.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a specialist team that investigate and prosecute loan sharks – have launched their ‘Why I Borrowed’ campaign to encourage people to report illegal money lenders if they or someone they know have been bitten.

The ‘Why I Borrowed’ campaign tells the real-life stories of victims who have been put through a harrowing time because of a loan shark.

One victim – who fell into £7,000 worth of debt with a loan shark – almost took his own life because of the distress caused by the lender.

Another victim, who had a loan to purchase a vehicle to be a taxi driver, was beaten up in front of his wife and told by the lender that the women in his family would be raped if he fell behind on repayments.

The IMLT worked with North-East Scriptwriter, Debbie Owen, and the Prison Radio Association to produce the videos warning others against borrowing from loan sharks.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“Loan sharking can have such a detrimental impact on our communities; it is a crime that often goes unreported because victims are scared of the repercussions or they don’t realise that what is happening to them is illegal.
“We want to reassure victims that they are not the ones breaking the law and that help and support is available. We hope this timely campaign warns others against borrowing from loan sharks and encourages more people to come forward and report.
“If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to seek help by contacting us on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk. We will take information anonymously and in confidence; we have a team of dedicated support officers who will be with you every step of the way from the moment you make the call.”

Another video tells the story of a Filipino nurse who was threatened by a colleague who she had a loan from. The lender threatened to start rumours and expose Danao on Facebook if she did not pay up.

A recent survey conducted by the IMLT revealed over 15% of loan shark victims met the lender in the workplace. Over 60% of borrowers said they were in a state of worry, stress, depression or severe anxiety because of their involvement with a loan shark. When questioned about the abuse they received from the lender, a shocking 46% said they had been abused verbally and/or threatened with physical harm by the loan shark. The survey also revealed that nearly a third of victims had also considered committing suicide; 25% of those said this was due to their involvement with a loan shark.

The campaign videos can be viewed on the Stop Loan Sharks YouTube channel:
Danao’s Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF4-8AGbVVw&t=24s
Jay’s Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLrYnBc0AuE&t=46s
Matthew’s Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwkKKbSfftQ&t=18s

(also available to view on http://www.wearestraightline.com/ (a website offering inspirational, bespoke content, information and support to people involved in the criminal justice system).

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,500 people.

Help available to Loan Shark Victims who have been bitten over Festive period

January is traditionally known as the ‘blue month’ or the ‘money hangover’ as people are often strapped for cash after splurging big amounts on Christmas.

January is also the time of year where loan sharks start to bite and chase victims for the first repayment on a Christmas loan. Due to people being short of money, some borrowers might fail to meet the first settlement and receive threats from the lender. This is when a loan shark’s true colours and motive begin to show.

The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a national team that investigate and prosecute loan sharks – are here to help victims who have fallen into deep waters with a loan shark during the festive season.

The team – who run a 24hour hotline all year round – are made up of Investigators and support officers who meet with victims on a daily basis and build up prosecution files to stop loan sharks in their deceiving tracks.

Victims who have been bitten over the festive period or who are currently being put through a miserable time because of a loan shark are being urged to contact the IMLT to report what’s happening.

The team will take information anonymously and in confidence; you don’t have to give your name and an officer will go through your options first before taking the report.

Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Emily Spurrell, said: “Christmas is an expensive time and it can be tempting to access cash quickly from a loan shark to purchase those all-important presents.

“But what starts out as a small loan can quickly escalate into something much more serious. January is a time when borrowers may find themselves trapped by spiralling debt and facing intimidation, threats and even violence.

“Loan sharks are unscrupulous criminals who prey on vulnerable victims, causing untold misery.

“But borrowers do not have to live in fear, there is help and support available. If you do find yourself a victim of a loan shark then do not suffer in silence – speak out by contacting Merseyside Police on 101 or, if it is an emergency, 999 or get in touch with the Illegal Money Lending team 24 hour hotline on 0300 555 2222.”

What is a loan shark?

A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a criminal offence to lend money without authorisation and can lead to a 2-year prison sentence and/or £5,000 fine.

How do I know if I’ve borrowed from a loan shark?

Loan sharks typically start off friendly and are often heard of through word of mouth. It could be a friend, colleague, neighbour or someone who is well known in the community for helping others out financially.

If you have had a cash loan and can answer yes to one or more of these questions, you might have borrowed from a loan shark:

  • Did they not give you paperwork?
  • Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
  • Have they threatened you?
  • Are you scared of people finding out?
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?

The IMLT will be with you every step of the way from the moment you make the call. You will receive one-to-one support; this might be help with housing, debt issues or referrals for health problems.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “January is a difficult month for some people. It can be even more of a glum time for loan shark victims as lenders start chasing them for the first repayment on their Christmas loan. We want to reassure victims that they have not broken the law and help and support is available. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a loan shark during the festive period, please call us on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”

To check if a money lender is licensed, borrowers can also search the Financial Services Register: https://register.fca.org.uk/

Social Communication Coffee Events 2017-18

Sefton Inclusion Service are running a number of ‘Social Communication Coffee Events’ for those parents/carers of a child with a diagnosis of Autism or social communication difficulties, providing a listening ear or some professional advice and the chance to meet a network of other parents of children with ASD/ social communication needs

The events involve:

  • A brief talk from a professional on a topic ie: sleep/ behaviour/ visuals.
  • The opportunity to talk to other parents, share worries and ideas.

The opportunity to talk to professionals in the field ie: an Educational Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Inclusion Consultant, Specialist Teacher, ASD Lead practitioner.

For further information or to book a place please contact:

Mike Hennessy, Sefton Inclusion Service:
Phone: 0151 934 2347
Email: Mike.Hennessy@sefton.gov.uk

Dates and times:

All sessions 10am-12.30pm
Thursday 28th Sept 2017
Thursday 2nd November 2017
Thursday 8th March 2018
Thursday 17th May 2018
Thursday 5th July 2018

Venue:

L30 Community Centre, Stonyfield, Netherton, Liverpool, L30 0QS.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service offer Advice to local residents

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is providing advice and reassurance to residents who may be concerned about the safety of high-rise buildings following the fire at Grenfell Tower in London.

Although Sefton Council doesn’t own any high rise buildings they are keen to share the advice.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue carry out a risk-based inspection programme of all premises, including high-rise residential premises, to ensure that they comply with current legislation. They also carry out regular training exercises in high-rise buildings to make sure people are ready to deal with fires of this type.

The advice for residents living in high-rise accommodation is:

Know Your Escape Plan

  • Make sure you are familiar with emergency evacuation procedures provided by the landlord or owner for your building.
  • Make an escape plan so that you and your family know what to do if there is a fire in your flat.
  • Practice this plan, make sure everyone understands it and knows where the door key is.

Should a fire Break Out

  • If it is too dangerous to follow your planned escape route because stairs and hallways are full of smoke, ring 999 and stay inside the safest room. Keep the doors closed and use towels or bedding to block the smoke at the bottom of the door.
  • Use the stairs, not the lift, when leaving the building in the event of a fire.
  • If there is a fire in another flat in the building, you are usually safest in your own home unless you are affected by the heat or smoke.
  • If there is a fire, never assume that someone else has called 999 – make the call yourself.

Fire safety in your Building

  • Keep exits and passageways clear of any obstructions.
  • Ensure doors to stairways are not damaged or faulty and report any defects promptly to the landlord or owner for your building.
  • Close all internal doors at night to prevent the spread of fire.
  • Never tamper with internal fire mains (dry riser) inlets on landings. These provide water to firefighters in an emergency and could cost lives if not functioning properly.
  • If you see a dry riser vandalised, report it immediately to the landlord or owner for your building.
  • Never use or store bottled gas cylinders in high-rise flats.
  • Never park so you block access to high-rise flats. Access roads are designed so fire engines can get as close as possible to fight fires.
  • Don’t start cooking if you are very tired or have drank a lot of alcohol- never use chip pans, use oven chips instead.
  • If you smoke, make sure you put cigarettes out properly, and don’t smoke in bed or while sleepy.
  • Check your smoke alarms regularly.

If family members have any concerns over elderly or vulnerable relatives living in high rise premises then call Fire Service Direct 0800 731 5958 or email fireservicedirect@merseyfire.gov.uk

NCVO: “A Snap General Election – What Should Charities Be Doing?”

Source: https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/04/18/a-snap-general-election-what-should-charities-be-doing/ 

In a political world where leaks are routine, Theresa May’s announcement of an election campaign seems to have caught everyone by surprise. Charities will not have made detailed plans for an election, so it’s worth thinking about what we should be doing to make sure we’re part of the debate.

What happens next?

The first hurdle to cross will be to call an election under the procedure set out in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. Labour’s announcement that they will be voting for a motion to call an early election means it should be a formality to get the two thirds of MPs required to satisfy the requirements of the Act, avoiding the need for a formal vote of no confidence and a 14 day period in which another party could seek to form an alternative government.

Parliament will dissolve 25 days before the nominated election date, but this can be amended by statutory instrument, as was done in 2015 to allow a longer campaign. We’ll have to wait to see when the campaign begins in earnest, but in practice it has already begun.

How can charities prepare?

The first thing for charities to do is refamiliarise themselves with Charity Commission election campaigning guidance to ensure they are compliant with charity law surrounding campaigning during elections and the Lobbying Act.

Much has been made of the effect of the Lobbying Act on charity campaigning during elections and you should make sure you are familiar with the law, but remember that most charities are unlikely to meet the definition of controlled expenditure if they campaign on a cross-party basis on the substance of policies.

The dynamics of a snap election are going to be very different than normal, when we have a rough timescale even if we don’t know the exact date. Candidate engagement is going to be much harder, not least because a significant proportion of those who will be standing on 8 June will not have been selected yet, and a major hustings plan will be more difficult to co-ordinate.

Manifestos

One of the key milestones of any campaign is the publication of party manifestos. When an election date is known, parties will be working on the policy contained in those manifestos for a year or more beforehand. Obviously that detailed work can’t be completed before June, so expect shorter Brexit-focused manifestos that draw a lot on 2015 policies.

The parties’ policy gurus will already be thinking about what goes in, so finding out quickly who to submit recommendations to will be important for charities that want their voice to be heard in the campaign and in the next parliament. One word of caution, approval for new radical ideas is going to be much harder to achieve in such a short timescale, so aside from the obvious need to influence policies around Brexit, I would focus on encouraging parties to reaffirm existing commitments.

What will we be doing?

For our part, we’ll be making the case for the voluntary sector and volunteering to help solve many of the country’s problems. We know that volunteering can be an amazing route to improving skills and making new connections, changing people’s lives and bonding communities closer together. We know that voluntary organisations can run high-quality, efficient public services, for example, but that they’re often excluded from doing so. And most pressingly on the policy front, we’ll be highlighting the important role that the sector has to play in shaping Brexit policies. We want to make sure that Brexit doesn’t mean weakening or removing important safeguards for people and the environment. Charities must be involved in advising on and scrutinising proposals at every step of the way.

NCVO’s chief executive, Sir Stuart Etherington, has already called for European nationals in the UK to be allowed to stay. Charities will need visa arrangements that work for sectors such as social care and medical research, which depend on the involvement of staff who’ve moved here from around Europe. And charities must be involved in designing replacements – better targeted, more coherent ones – for EU programmes in areas such as employment and skills training.

It’s going to be a much busier couple of months for charity campaigners than we were expecting, but as always an election provides an excellent opportunity to make the case for the changes we want to see, and to make sure that the voice of charities is heard loud and clear.