Our recently departed intern, Janan, wrote this about her time with us. We’d like to congratulate her on her new role with the Financial Ombundsman, thank her and wish her all the very best.
My time as an Intern at Zacchaeus 2000 (Z2K) was extremely interesting, challenging and enjoyable. Even from my first day I was given a lot of responsibility, with an induction and training folder provided and support close at hand. I was always kept busy with interesting and varied cases, communicating with different clients, legal representatives and statutory bodies either face-to-face, by telephone or in writing. I very soon had opportunities to attend Tribunals in order to support clients through their hearings. Working so closely with clients has given me an insight into the various legal processes and how they affect different people. As a result, my work with Z2K has been a real eye-opener and a great opportunity to develop new skills. As a member of the team you quickly become open to and aware of potentially new and important issues experienced in society that Z2K would wish to be flagged and monitored.
The training is thorough and the training folder provided for every volunteer is extremely helpful. It provides valuable reference material on topics such as government benefits and associated laws that Z2K work with on a daily basis.
Z2K is made up of a great team which includes qualified professionals, such as solicitors and barristers, and experts in areas of policy and law that affect the most vulnerable in society. They are an inspirational team as they are enthusiastic and dedicated to their work at Z2K and never give up trying to achieve a valid cause. I have learnt a lot from every member of Z2K and every moment of my internship has been productive and interesting. I intend to remain as a volunteer for the organisation as I continue to believe in their goals and values and wish to contribute to their valid causes as much as possible.
Published in today’s Guardian:
The prime minister seems to misunderstand the economics of council housing when he refers to it as “subsidised” (Suspect’s mother could lose home, 13 August). The biggest subsidies over the past 30 years have been to owner-occupiers in the form of mortgage interest tax relief (formerly), exemption from capital gains tax and huge value-stimulating house purchase lending that we have all subsidised to the tune of £1tr or more when it led to bail-out of the banks. In addition, private landlords have been subsidised by a large part of the increases in housing benefit, to about £25bn a year, which passes straight through to subsidise rents. By contrast, between 1990 and 2004 council tenants suffered a “reverse subsidy” by the abstraction of some £13bn from housing revenue accounts.
Peter Ambrose Visiting professor of housing and health, University of Brighton,
Stephen Battersby President, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health,
Peter Archer Chairman, Care and Repair,
Rev Paul Nicolson Chairman, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
British governments cannot wash their hands of responsibility for the riots, unacceptable and criminal though they be. One consequence of the unhealthy relationship between the tabloid press and politicians has received little comment. The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, along with many NGOs, has for decades been issuing press releases and writing letters describing the dire circumstances of our poorest citizens as they struggle with a welfare system delivering poverty incomes and creating unmanageable debts.
Since the 1980s we have been swimming against an overemphasis in the press and politics on welfare fraud, by a tiny proportion of claimants, and the painting of claimants as scroungers living at the expense of the taxpayer. That benign word dependency, which describes the need of the unfortunate to depend on the fortunate to share their good fortune, has become a political black label carried by all unemployed claimants, implying they are not truly poor.
This insult has been fed by politicians of all parties, at full volume, to a tabloid press with a knack of turning innocence into scandal. It scapegoats the poorest citizens for national economic woes. It is a disreputable way to expect to secure votes from the majority who have never claimed welfare and have not learned about its pain; and it builds resentment among the minority who have.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Chair, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust