Friday, 30 November 2012

Can these arguments be used to challenge "workfare" in UK?

This regarding Workfare in Canada - from 1998 UN report.

"The Committee notes with concern that at least six provinces in Canada (including Quebec and Ontario) have adopted “workfare” programmes that either tie the right to social assistance to compulsory employment schemes or reduce the level of benefits when recipients, who are usually young, assert their right to choose freely what type of work they wish to do. In many cases, these programmes constitute work without the protection of fundamental labour rights and labour standards legislation. The Committee further notes that in the case of the province of Quebec, those workfare schemes are implemented despite the opinion of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the decisions of the Human Rights Tribunal that those programmes constitute discrimination based on social status or age."

Now lets see if these arguements can be used in UK for stopping the Mandatory Work Schemes eh? 

We really need a legal type person on this dont we? Or do we all take these arguments forward to our MPs? 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

These Three things of Illness are....

If you sing that to "we three kings",,,, but that what entered my head.

Theres a few personal "Getting Personal " entries.

Maybe this one should be called
  "Sometimes Illness is Invisible"

Heres one I wrote today :

Dont know if everyone knows what my illness involves so here goes...

Was just thinking of last two Transient Elastography tests (Fibroscans) . 

First of those two fibroscan had a number of average 14 which indicated last one showed 10.2 which is no way normal but is better, 

this almost certainly due to the two tablets I take beating shit out of my 

blood borne chronic virus which, btw will never leave, it'll be squashed as

 long as the tablets carry on working and I can stand to take them. 

Untraceable is the term they use when present, not gone, but 

suppressed.The pure presence of any of it is a threat to me, and is a 

contributor by its presence to fatigue, as is the damage its caused. 

Aparrently 4.9 on the fibroscan is normal.  So Treated as cirrhotic is what 

they do now. FIBROSCAN measures disease damage by fibrosity (stiffness) check  BTW.

 I have a

 cross check Ultrasound thing next friday is why I was thinking these 

thinky stuffs.

The bad boy tablets dual treatment for that bit is backed by several 

supplements too. The bad boys as I call them cause fatigue too and 

incidental dizziness. 

Yet, and this might be illogical, the main worry in my head is the bowel 

disease I have, as its super disruptive at the worst of times, and 

inconvienient at  best. Plus theres resultant body stuff, and head issues. 

Often caused by 

chronic illness. 

One of those, Depression is as its diagnosed, i'm sure its 

a bit more 

complex. There. I Hope that lets you know a bit. The gruesome details 

omitted for sanity and clarity. The Bowel/digestive thing, the blood 

virus, the damage inside, the head

 issues - all very serious illness. AND OFTEN *YOU* WONT SEE ANY OF 


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Santa Fun Run!

Santa and Pudsey are getting into the festive spirit for Children in Need this week to launch the inaugural MediaCityUK Santa Run, the perfect charity run before Christmas.

Hundreds of running Santas are expected to embark on a fun santa run around MediaCityUK at Salford Quays on Sunday 9th December to help raise money for Children in Need. The MediaCityUK Santa Run will start at MediaCityUK Square, outside the new BBC offices at Salford. The Santas will then run through the Lowry Plaza at The Lowry Outlet Mall, over the bridge, past the Imperial War Museum and over the Manchester Ship Canal via the new bridge before finishing in MediaCityUK square.

This is a fun Christmas event for the whole family and a great way for Santa to get in shape before the big day!

It is the first ever MediaCityUK Santa Run and we hope everyone will put on their red suits, take part and help raise some much needed funds for BBC Children in Need! To take part in the MediaCity UK Santa Run, you will need to wear a Santa suit. Either bring your own, or buy one from for a small fee.

The Santa Run starts at 10.15am and will be started by Pudsey himself.
  • Run entry fee for adults is £10 and £6 for children
  • The Santa Run entry fee including the Santa Suit is £15 for adults and £10 for children
Enter the MediaCityUK Santa Run online now >>

Download the entry form for the MediaCityUK Santa Run here >>

Download your sponsor form here >>

Sports Tours International | 91 Walkden Road | Walkden | Manchester | M28 7BQ | United Kingdom

*Many Thanks



Jobs at Young Peoples Support Foundation

YPSF is seeking to engage

4 Housing Support Workers

Post 1 (ref HSS 1) & post 2 (ref HSS 2) delivering floating support city wide to young people in their own tenancies as part of our Housing Support Service (35 hours per week paid at Scale 5/6: £19,621 to £23,708 per annum, pay award pending).

Post 3 (ref HTS 1) delivering housing related independent living coursescity wide to young people as part of our Housing Training (35 hours per week paid at Scale 5/6: £19,621 to £23,708 per annum, pay award pending).

Post 4 (ref RUR 1) delivering housing related independent living courses to young people in Wythenshawe as part of our Housing Training Service (35 hours per week paid at Scale 5: £19,621 per annum, pay award pending).

All posts are initially funded until 31 March 2013 and are subject to an enhanced CRB disclosure check. YPSF offers matched pension contribution (max 5%). Annual leave entitlement is 30 days plus statutory days.  You will contribute to the delivery of housing support programmes aiming to developyoung people's aspirations and independent living skills. You will be able to demonstrate experience of providing housing-related support to young people, an understanding of the issues facing homeless young people and an ability to deliver group work programmes.

The deadline for completed applications is 09:30 Mon 3rd Dec 2012.

Interviews for post 1 (ref HSS 1) & post 2 (ref HSS 2) will be held on Tue  4th Dec 2012.

Interviews for post 3 (ref HTS 1) & post 4 (ref RUR 1) will be held on Thurs 6th Dec 2012.

For an application pack contact Cher Wraxall at and details on how to apply is available at

If you need any further information let me know.

Kind regards

Cameron Pritchard, Number One Apprentice

Young People's Support Foundation


St. Andrews Hall
Brownley Road                      

Manchester M22 0DW                  

Tel: 0161-4365432/3


Fax: 0161- 4371055



Donate: Text: YPSF37 £amount To: 70070 or go to

Charity Commission number: 1112504  Companies House number: 05546361

*Many Thanks



Youth opportunities Sports / Road Safety too

MANCHESTER Young People 16-18 interested in a sports career? Please promote locally...

TRAINING - New sports course for 16-18 year olds at Sportscity, Manchester

Sportcity 16-18 Sports Course

Friday, November 30, 2012 10:00 AM

This course is free to any 16-18 year olds that have an interest in Sport and Leisure as a career.

WHERE                Sportcity

ATTENDANCE        2 days per week

PAY                         You will be paid £30 PER WEEK.  PLUS £100 on completion of the course.


KIT                         After 4 weeks on the course you will received branded sports kit.


QUALIFICATION         You will achieve a Level 2 Diploma in Sport and Active Leisure to provide you with all the essential skills and knowledge required to pursue a career in                         Sport and Leisure. Dependant on your interests you will get practical experience coaching children sport or working in a gym.


PLACES                 We only have 15 places available so please register early to avoid disappointment.


ENROLMENT        To enrol you must register and then attend on:

                      FRIDAY 30TH NOVEMBER AT 10:00AM.  Please meet at the National Athletics and Squash Centre at Sportscity.


FOR MORE INFO        Contact the course tutor, Phil Williams on 07925 937 105 or email


GMYN is working in partnership with UPS and UK Youth to deliver a new FREE exciting road safety training course for young people across Manchester.  

*****We have added a new date – Saturday 8th December 10-3pm*****

UPS Road Code is a new training programme designed to teach young people who are pre-driving age about the hazards of driving and raise awareness of road safety.

The training makes use of useful practical content and workshops that have been designed by UPS to make young people aged 14-17 see the dangers they will face in the future as drivers and also as pedestrians.

As well as this, the training will include the use of two fantastic driving simulators that the young participants will use and gain the experience of what it is like to drive a car!

This is a great opportunity for your group to offer this free training to your young people and help raise the awareness and importance of road safety.  As the training is free the slots will be a first come first served allocation. All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and a UPS goody bag.  Bus fare can be reimbursed and lunch will be provided.

If you wish to find out more and book spaces for your group then please get in touch asap so that we can confirm details with you.

Contact Kate on 0161 274 3377 or email

*Many Thanks



Walking group- info i recieved.


Walks are moderate up to 10 miles distance and led by volunteer walk leaders.    For more details about a walk please contact the Walk Leader

Always check transport times near the date of the walk by contacting the Walk Leader or by calling:  Trains 08457 484950             Please use public transport if possible

Walks will NOT take place if for any reason the intended transport is cancelled

Sunday Walks Autumn/Winter Programme 2012/2013

Date Destination Train Time Meeting Place Walk Leader
4 November Knutsford to Alderley Edge 9.22am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
John Nicholson – Tel No 0161 705 1325
18 November Marple Circular 9.22am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Steve Slater – Tel No 0161 766 4683 (for enquiries)
2 December Middlewood to Disley 9.51am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Jeff Lewis – Tel No 0161 766 4683
16 December Glossop Circular 9.18am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Steve Slater – Tel No 0161 766 4683 (for enquiries
30 December Cheadle Hulme to Disley 10.03am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Jeff Lewis – Tel No 0161 766 4683
13 January Disley Circular 9.51am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Martin Heys – Tel No 0161 969 6526
27 January Disley Circular 9.51am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Jane Conlong – Tel No 0161 743 9578
10 February Bakewell Circular 9.15am bus TP Chorlton Street Coach Station Steve Slater – Tel No 0161 766 4683 (for enquiries)
24 February Parbold Circular 9.35am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Martin Heys – Tel No 0161 969 6526
10 March Hathersage Circular 9.22am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Martin Heys – Tel No 0161 969 6526
24 March Hadfield to Stalybridge 9.18am Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Nigel Parfitt – Tel No 0161 766 4683
7 April Hedben Bridge Circular 10.14 Victoria Station
Train Platform
Frank Heywood – Tel No 0161 766 4683 (for enquiries)
21 April Edale to Hayfield 9.22 Piccadilly Station
Train Platform
Martin Heys – Tel No 0161 969 6526

Non members are welcome to join the walks on up to 3 occasions, then they are expected to join The Ramblers.  To join over the phone, call 0207 7339 8595. To join online, visit

For information on walks in Greater Manchester , visit

*Many Thanks



Monday, 26 November 2012

Karen's story - read this

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arthur Breens <>
Date: Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 2:39 PM
Subject: Karen's story
On Wednesday the House of Lords has a chance to cap the interest levels on pay day loans. Join Arthur's campaign and urge them to ensure that rates are limited so borrowers have a chance to get on top of their debt.
Sign My Petition

Jules -

Our foster daughter Karen* is a hard worker. She has been ever since she left school at 16. Having struggled at school with special educational needs, she set her mind to getting a job and working to support herself.

Sadly, it wasn't always easy for Karen and she fell into a cycle of alcohol abuse, gambling and debt. That's when she turned to a pay day lender.

The debt of £100 soon spiralled out of control and she found herself owing £1,000 with the companies chasing her ruthlessly for the ever increasing sum of money.

Some of these firms charge up to 16,000%, making it almost impossible for those already struggling to ever pay the debt back. That's why I've started a petition on urging members of the House of Lords to vote to cap the interest which companies can charge for these loans.

I know people need to take responsibility for their actions but I believe these companies intentionally exploit those struggling with money and something must be done. By capping interest rates at least borrowers like Karen would have a chance of getting on top of their debt.

Karen was lucky. She had a support system that could help her get out of this cycle of debt. Others are not so lucky. This Wednesday the House of Lords has a chance to do something that could help thousands of people. Please join me in asking them to take that chance.

Thank you,


*Karen's name has been changed to protect her identity



Want to find out more about campaigns being started on in the UK? Click here to follow @UKChange on Twitter.

This email was sent by to   |   Start a petition
Unsubscribe. Edit your email notification settings.

*Many Thanks



Thursday, 22 November 2012

An insight into mental health.... By Lisa Chalkley

By the Lovely Lisa....... 

Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die. E M Forster.
I have a head full of swirls and promptings, as well as headachiness, so I'm just going to write. 
Mental illness and work - inspite of positivity around what can be done for people with chronic illnesses & disabilities, in terms of reasonable adjustments, I'm moribund about working. As my physical and mental health problems keep bouncing off of each like despotic ping pong players, the thought of finding work that produces enough to live on, while being able to tolerate the disruption of fluctuating conditions seems slim indeed. 
While the goodness of work is repeatedly flagged up, with having a severe mental illness, I still imagine thatStuart Sutherland's book Breakdown is probably the most honest account of the struggles, resentment & pressure that occur, and he switched profession. He had the education, contact and skills to do that. Dr Tim Cantopher in his highly readable book Depressive Illness, The Curse of the Strong thinks that a positive sea change in employer practices, that occured first in the States, is washing up on these shores. That employers realise that it is conscientious and concerned hard workers who tend to depression and that it is to a corporations best interest that they do make reasonable adjustments to retain these staff. Although he notes that this better practice is not reflected in 'the Government and it's institutions, which are getting worse'. That is true in my own experience as I've watched more staff jump from the sinking ship of my mental health service then I have ever seen and even my GP is off - that it is the intelligent, vocal and empathetic is terrifying. 
The health services and local government, the arts and education are where we have traditionally had our entry level, supported jobs. As there is less money in all these areas, the chances of their being the time, energy and resources to invest in people and the community - which may or may not bring financial returns - looks unlikely. The other prong to this is that those of us who prefer to work but can only realistically do it part time, to manage our mental and physical health problems and to have enough time and energy to keep the rest of our lives on track financially and socially are dependent on housing and council tax benefit, disability tax credits and other top ups to provide a living wage. Working in charities, social enterprises and other ventures with short term contracts and various uncertainties with fallow periods or being self employed is very hard work. Seeing well people with fantastic credentials and years of experience pootling along in part time work below their ability, or staying afloat due to marriage and owning property - well to me it says that by working very hard, you may be able to run to stand still. I see more people accruing debts rather than making gains of financial stability, and the dice are becoming more loaded as austerity bites.
I may be presenting to grim a picture, but these are the kind of worries that assail me when I awake a 5am panicking, as dutiful depressives do. But as I am getting older and accumulating more physical health problems, have less energy and losing the psychological protection of splitting, I cannot run around, overwork and throw myself into things in blase way, that allowed me to accumulate achievements against all the odds. Splitting is not a good thing per se - in fact it's most realistically seen as a survival strategy. It helps a child to survive the unsurvivable and like all these kinds of coping strategies, when they are used to cope in adult life, they aren't fit for purpose. It does nothing to solve the problem it is used against, so the original problem is there, it also accumulates additional problems of it's own. 
Splitting isn't only the prerogative of people with borderline personality disorder, but if you have the diagnosis, it so often seems to be a part of it. In Richard Moskovitz's book Lost in the Mirror it's visually portrayed, well, as a mirror. We are notoriously unable to cope with criticism, but rather than arrogance, the dynamic is more akin towards the black and white experience of either we are perfect whole and shining, looking happily into the mirror or it is all smashed to pieces, the terrifying darkness and shards of danger auger judgement or punishment to terrible to bear. Our sense of self disintegrates, we may experience a sense of our life or external reality also fragmenting, and a chill of terror enters our bones. Not only are we a special hero or the worst of villains ourselves, but we also see others in this black and white way. As Lorraine Bell describes it:
….(seeing people as) a hero or villain, probably comes from your early experience. If an experience was too painful you may have blocked it out of your mind or memory so you can still feel good. Then when you feel hurt all the painful feelings flood back and it feels all bad. 
This is often what happens when people suddenly want to self injure or become suicidal, with no trigger apparent to observers. It is also extremely exhausting to work through. If someone says something you take the wrong way, and your fantastic, esteem building job is suddenly a pit of potential hurt, control, abuse and rejection - you can intellectually 'know' that it's no different from the nice job with pleasant colleagues before lunch but totally immersion in a terrifying shadow world, where you're trying to behave consistently takes it out of you. In wanting to be liked and accepted desperately with borderline, we manage to even feel guilty ascribing critical and superior characteristic, or villainising others as well. Working to hard and subjugating our own needs to repair the situation leads us to struggle with terrifying feelings of anger and resentment, which threatens the connection we need. 
As I said, this experience isn't the preserve of us with borderline and not all borderlines will have it as a core problem, I think those of us with personality disorders will, when we have a tendency, will have a polarized, writ large version and will experience it as a fundamental part of ourselves. This makes it more sticky and hard to shake. In cognitive analytical therapy it is seen as a reciprocal role, a learned pattern of relationship (we only learn 'self' through the experience of relationships) and this one is the neglected self in relation to the fantasy of perfect care. This can lead to baffling extremes of feelings, with no idea how we got there during a day and people may harm or abuse substances to keep a lid on the whole kit and caboodle to try and function and appear 'normal'. I think this makes people with this as a core problem, vulnerable in certain ways with others and especially with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Atos. These are complex problems, which require learning to nurture your neglected aspects of self and swapping your black and white thinking for shades of grey, being able to hold onto good aspects of relationships during the bad, owning your projections without beating yourself (or others) up, exploring new ways of being, with your self and with others. 
As there is no criteria for mental health in the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as nobody gives Atos, literally, for the struggles of many kinds of disability, let alone the Cinderella of mental illness. As the bizarrely named 'support group' contains neither a group or support of any kind, let alone trained. Really, ask anyone who attends this sub-group. I know people who have been categorised as 'able to work with support' who are barely able to survive the vicissitudes of their life and mental illness, who use extreme methods, such as harming by attempting to cut off parts of their body - becoming more ill but see it as their own personal failure rather than decreased security and increased pressure, from the swirl of political power plays that are making their lives more fraught by the day. Others will be vulnerable, who experience the neglect/perfect care role in less dramatic ways, as part of the disappoint and disenfranchisement posited by the role itself. 
In Elizabeth Wilde McCormick's 3rd edition of Change for the Better, in 'I always pick the bad ones', she describes it thus:
We may notice patterns of feeling excited and carried away by meeting exciting others and having exciting experiences of which we have high hopes and often getting lost in the excitement. We project our ideal into the other person and become enthralled, secretly hoping they will offer all the comfort, love nurture and satisfaction we have never had. In doing so we become passive, vulnerable to being victim.  Sooner or later the rosy spectacles come off and the person, ideology or group become just ordinary or worse, and we feel terribly let down, even abused by the loss of the projection of all our hopes. We end up feeling angry, humiliated, beaten, frustrated and let down. We can get cynical and bitter, fearing that all experiences are the same. 
To anyone living or working at the sharp end of complex cases, it is blatantly apparent that the rhetoric of 'looking at people's strengths and abilities, not their illness or disability' is being used as a blunt weapon for cost cutting. It was the fiercely fought for challenge to stigma and inequality for mental health, but as with all things, it was a recognition of a realistic middle way. You don't ignore the illness, disability or struggles, you see the good bits too and make plans with it all held in mind. It's not negative to think it would be good for someone to work, but if it would plunge them into a mania or psychosis, what needs to be put in place to allow them to manage. It might mean they can only do 2 or 3 days, that they need meds, a support worker, safe secure social housing, assertiveness training and counselling once a week. Work isn't a 'cheap option' for the State, it might be, in some cases, but some people like me need structured, specialist and tailored support in order to work. Taking people's desire to belong, fit in and be needed plus their aspirations and dreams then placing them in untenable positions is like helping to shove lemmings off of a cliff. 
I've seen psychiatrist's, doctor's, psychologists and support workers expert opinion ignored, where they're trying to keep their patient well. Very ill and distressed people ending up on wards, losing housing, getting into debt and ending up in intractable situations that they do not have the power or resources to extricate themselves from is of no benefit and saves no money what so ever. Dramatic or violent responses from a person desperately flailing around to be heard, seen or taken seriously are rubbish for everyone. Triggering of stress related illnesses and flair ups of chronic disease caused by working too hard to keep a myriad of balls in the air is boring, disheartening and esteem shattering. Ignoring the weaknesses and limitations of people may be giddying and exciting for all concerned at first, but the crash that inevitably comes, if able to be recovered from (and in some cases it won't) will cost, in every way imaginable. It is splitting being done at the level of policy, State and planning. 
I don't know why I'm able to perceive my own cognitive defence of splitting clearly for the first time. My thyroid isn't working as well again and it leaves me morose and unable to see the shiny perfect mirror while I'm waiting for the medication increase to work. I started therapy over twenty years ago now. I use a mental health service, but it's not therapy based - I think the habits of trying to see and understand have become, well, habits. My ability to spend months running around while 'up' before crashing have long gone. But it had seemed such a fundamental part of my personality, that I felt that it was a problem somehow, that I had a hand in it but was unable to get any traction or move forward or change it - that the crashing fall with the immense emotional distress was so terrifying and horrible seemed to be part of my illness that visited me intermittently regardless. As the horrible bit was so horrid, it didn't seem possible that I would want a hand in it - but it was buried, many layers under in the framework of my personality. Like the peeling of an onion, there is the sense of an organic process that you can't hurry - one bit has to be seen, felt and understood to lay a framework to even begin to see the next layer underneath. I find this part of recovery like being given an odd christmas gift, it's use or ornamentation a puzzle - thanks life, thanks very much for that. Wondering where you can put it and how soon can you give it away. 
Myself and some of my fellow sufferers of borderline, who after many a year are able to handle some criticism and share it with others, while feeling icky but not totally disintegrating encourage each other to find the middle way in things. We know when we're 'up' and happy and jolly and busy and fine. Well we know other people are experiencing us as tetchy, wired, brittle, fraught and strangely one dimensional. But when we feel bad, a bad that is a bottomless pit of despair and pain, well, it's always been one thing or the other - and none of us is daft enough to want to feel entirely shit. We aren't that crazy. Anyone who has glorious, exultant, shiny 'ups', struggles in giving that up. In the shades of grey of normality,  it can be hard to feel the little happiness, as so often we're left feeling the grittiness of grief and loss and despair. Whoop - recovery, who wants that! And, to paraphrase Sheldon Kopp, we sit quietly having a coffee with each other and feel calm and content for 20 minutes and wonder how strange it is that it all feels worth it. We seriously discuss whether we should tell people who have just started out in therapy. Some of us have had such unremittingly awful lives and if therapy seems a way out, we all start at first by splitting. When we get well, we imagine, we'll feel fine all the time, jobs, houses, children, money - we'll get all of the things, if not even better, more glamorous versions of being seen, admired and belonging. If someone had told us we do bags of therapy per week, for years and we have all the same feelings and struggles but manage them a bit better - and definitely no rewards for enduring suffering, well, would anyone bother doing it for those few quiet moments of belonging and calm that fleetingly appear.  
So I'm sitting around with my new recovery 'gift' of seeing that I can make a change in the black and white thinking, behaviours and experience that I always thought intractable. Or maybe I can do something, or maybe it'll just be 'seeing' it and then choosing to act on different beliefs while have to struggle along with the thoughts and feelings it stirs up *sigh* - more hard work. Or maybe it won't be hard work, arsing around doing mindfulness for over 20 years too may help me to melt it into something more pretty and fun. I'm fuming over the Government's decimation of health and social care, trying to balance my longing and fighting for better with the awareness that I can expect them to be perfect, ideal - that I'll have to settle with them being 'good enough'. In my persnickity, perfectionist defence against badness, that is bizarrely combined with administration and policy skills in my skull, what is going on now is so much lower than any definition of 'good enough', sensible, reality based - let alone the giddy heights of being vaguely wise governance. Working out how to keep kicking the Establishment in the shins and speaking up for others who can't speak up in the arena of public life -balancing it without neglecting myself or my voice, is a supremely creative act. I have no idea how to bring that about. The job that is in front of me, is to figure that out.

*Many Thanks



Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Painful benefits system?

Just spoke to a fella with a very bad back whilst I was walking dog. 
He was walking home from a WRAG meeting holding his back, in pain. 
He said "we must keep moving if we're talking , else i'll seize up, had to walk to jobcentre and back as couldnt afford bus or taxi" 
He was in obvious pain. 
This folks is the UK in 2012 under the Tories

*Many Thanks



25% of ATOS test centres not accessible.

Atos work test centres 'lack disabled access' at a quarter of its premises

So theres another flaw on the "precious" wca .

Many Thanks


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

French Atos Staff - from one of their Blogs.

This is from a blog by French Atos Staff....

Atos management recently sent its staff a DVD for disability awareness and
a leaflet praising its corporate partnership with the Paralympic games.

This propaganda operation should not obscure the reality.

Starting with the scandal of Atos Healthcare in the UK. This Atos division
has signed a lucrative contract with the Ministry for Work and Pensions to
assess benefit claimants, with the stated aim of getting rid of
« scroungers »

The assessments are based on a questionnaire containing very subjective
criteria, often in locations difficult for disabled people to access.
Following their assessments, many people suffering from severe chronic
illnesses or mental problems are found fit to work.

*Result: Over a hundred people have committed suicide (source Daily Mail).*

In France the situation is not quite so grim but is not rosy either.

French law requires companies to recruit 6 % disabled people, but this has
been circumvented by Atos through an agreement signed with other unions,
bringing the quota down to 2 %; Nice savings for the management!

The Atos headquarters in Bezons is far from being readily accessible: The
main entrance has a revolving door and a person in a wheelchair has to wait
for a guard to open the door. To get into the corridor is not much better:
It is impossible to open the heavy wooden door and to swipe a card at the
same time without assistance. These problems have been repeatedly brought
to the attention of Atos management.

*Many Thanks



Monday, 19 November 2012

Manchester (1) Volunteering in Arts / (2) Social Media Workshop

Volunteering In the Arts Toolkit Training - Some Places Left 
Date:               11th December 2012 
Time:              10am - 1pm 
Venue:           Board Room, Macc, 3rd Floor, Swan Buildings, 20 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JW 
To Book: 
                        (please pass this information on to anyone you think may be interested)

• The training session will give voluntary arts groups the necessary skills/experience to recruit, retain and support volunteers. 
• Toolkit is a 'how to guide' to improve groups volunteer management skill base and current levels of support.

Small to medium voluntary arts and craft groups.

The training workshop aims to provide small to medium voluntary arts groups with specialist advice/guidance support in improving and strengthening their current volunteer management support systems.

It is an informal session to discuss volunteering in the round and what processes need to be in place to recruit/retain volunteers. Groups will have a chance to talk about their volunteer programmes and current skill gaps or worries/concerns.

Arts groups in general don't see themselves as third sector organisations so don't always link into localised support. Workshop aims to hook groups into local networks of support including the volunteer centre.

Groups will also work through a self assessment review - so they can identify current strengths/weaknesses with their current volunteer programme. You will have an opportunity to learn more about the work of Voluntary Arts: Running Your Group – e learning materials, Epic Awards, Voluntary Arts Week, Up for Arts.

Voluntary Arts England, Laraine Winning
Volunteer Centre Manchester
Local Authority Arts Officer

Volunteer Centre Manchester will attend session to talk through their role and how they can support arts groups – promoting what they do but also helping with volunteer recruitment/brokerage. Local network of local authority arts officers will also offer support.
TRAINING - Manchester Social Media Surgeries

What do you want to achieve by using social media in your workplace?

• Are you 'Facebooked out?!' Need help with your account?
• Do you want to know what everyone is twittering on about?
• Have you already got a wordpress account and have specific questions for us?
• Do you want to use video or pictures on the web to raise the awareness of your group or cause?

Your place is free! To book visit: 

Come and bring any social media questions and our volunteers and social media experts will help you out!


Via MACC (Via MCC) 

*Many Thanks



Christmas Do - Valuing Older People

My  Generation Christmas Twister  .... 
A night out in town,  great company, live band and dancing .... all for £4.00!!!! 
You've got to be joking!!! 
No we're not!!! 

A real Christmas treat to get you in the festive mood. My  Generation returns with it's Christmas Twister for clubbers of yesteryear.  Come along and relive that buzz and excitement of your Generation with people  who share a love of music from across the decades. 
Sunday 9th December 2012 

DJ Dave Hulston will get the party mood off to a  flying start playing a host of 60's and 70's funk, soul and club classics  before introducing our fantastic live band who are sure to keep the dance  floor packed all night long. 

Back by popular demand and fresh from an extremely  busy summer schedule, The Cavernites return to Band on the Wall to bring  the 60's back to life, performing the hits we all remember and still love. With  tributes to The Beatles, Searchers, Hollies, Kinks and The Who - there's  sure to be something for everyone. 

The Picture House Bar will be open from  6.00pm - the ideal venue to meet up with friends old and new. You'll be sure  of a friendly welcome. Go on, dig out your dancing shoes and get your festive  season off to a really great start. As always, it's going to be a fantastic  fun and friendly night. The perfect way to celebrate the beginning of the  festive season. 

The Night

6.00-7.00pm Picturehouse bar open for food and  drinks

7.00pm Doors open to the Main Venue and  DJ  Set

8.00-8.45pm The Cavernites

8.45-9.45pm DJ Set

9.45-10.30pm The Cavernites

10.30-11.30 DJ Set

TICKETS - Band on the Wall Box Office, open Monday to  Saturday 5.00-9.00pm 

25 Swan Street, The Northern Quarter, Manchester M4  5JZ 

Ticketline: 0845 2 500 500

Valuing Older People: call Tracey Annette on 0161  234 4299

Following the link  below or find us on Facebook:!/mygenerationatbandonthewall

Tracey Annette

Community Engagement Officer
Valuing Older People (VOP) 
Public Health Manchester 
Tel: 0161 234 4299 (Internal: 800 4299)
Mobile: 07824 527996

Postal address: Manchester City Council, PO Box 532, Manchester M60 2LA
Location address: Number One First Street, Manchester M15 4FN
Map and directions for One First Street:  

Via VOP (Via MCC) 

*Many Thanks



Manchester - Free CRB checks

TRAINING - Introduction to CRB Checking (5 places left). 
Date:               6th December 2012 
Time:              10:00 to 16:00 
Venue:           Macc, 3rd Floor Swan Buildings, 20 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JW

Online booking is essential - please click here to complete the online registration section

Introduction to CRB Checking:-

  • Overview of why we CRB check
  • Which roles should we be CRB checking
  • How to complete an application form
  • How to conduct an identity check
  • Overview of a CRB disclosure
Please note:

1.         To access any of these courses you must work or volunteer in the city of Manchester (not one of the other 9 boroughs).
2.         Follow the links below to book online 
3.         All courses can hold a maximum of 15 people so please book early to avoid disappointment
4.         If the courses are full and you cannot book on, please call Mark Pritchard on 830 4770 who can place you on a reserve list.
5.         For each course you will only need to attend on one of the days stated.
6.         A requirement of attending the training will be to sign up to a pledge, stating that you will train at least 2 individuals / external organisations in what you have learned at the session.


Free CRB checks for Manchester Volunteers

For more information on the FREE CRB checking service provided by Volunteer Centre Manchester please visit

You can also e-mail us directly on and we can send you the documents. Please mark the subject line as "CRB CHECK".

Via Macc (Via MCC) 

*Many Thanks