The day started off wet and cold. I really had my doubts about the promised sunshine by the weather forecasters. All I could rely on was my memory of our previous Walks, it always turned out lovely somehow. And this year was no different as the sun broke through mid-afternoon. It’s funny how some things never change.
The 10km Walk started off at Carey Street, down to the Victoria Embankment through Green Park, around Hyde Park, through Trafalgar Square and back to Carey Street where a Street party awaits. Continue reading
The newly-elected Parliament sits for the first time next Monday, but the formal State Opening and Queens Speech will not take place until 27th May. After its resounding General Election win, there is little doubt that the lowering of the Household Benefit Cap will feature in the Conservative Government’s programme. Judging by the Coalitions June 2010 Budget and the Welfare Benefit Uprating Act 2013, we can probably also expect the Chancellor’s next Budget to further restrict Housing Benefit and potentially even cut Job Seekers Allowance by 10 per cent for those who have been out of work for more than 12 months.
Lowering the Benefit Cap for families with children from £26,000 a year to £23,000 will have the most serious and immediate impact on Z2K’s clients. When it was first trailed last autumn, it was said 70,000 households would be affected. In Westminster, our NextDoor project has helped hundreds of those affected by the Coalition Government’s original 2011 caps on Local Housing Allowance, which left them facing benefit shortfalls, rent arrears and homelessness. Some of those were hit again by the £500 a week Benefit Cap in the summer 2013, along with a whole new group of residents. A £23,000 a year cap – £440 a week – will mean many of those are hit for a third time, along with another families currently receiving between £440 and £499. Continue reading
Lots of organisations make rather strong comments about how much they value volunteers and how they appreciate the effort volunteers have put in. However that appreciation of volunteers and all things voluntary doesn’t always translate in to action. At Z2K we don’t just say we appreciate volunteers, we go all out to ensure that they know this by putting things in to action. We show them how much we care by opening doors for them, by giving them the opportunity to undertake real casework right from their first day. We show them we care by creating opportunities that we believe other organisations don’t always have. Continue reading