Tagged: Action for Children

Half of Newcastle youngsters fear they are unemployable

Half of young people in Newcastle feel they are ‘unemployable’ a leading charity has revealed.

A poll carried out by Action for Children has revealed 49% of 15 to 26-year-olds in the city feel they are unemployable while one in seven of the 2,000 people surveyed believe they can never have the career they want.

A quarter of young people said the job market was too competitive and there are too few jobs while an astounding 38% of young people said when applying for jobs in the past they felt they received no feedback or reply to their application.

> Only 38% ?  From personal experience I might have expected the figure to be in the 80s or 90% region.

Carol Iddon, Action for Children’s director of children’s services across the North of England, said:

“A job is more than just ‘what you do’, it is a part of who you are and gives people a sense of worth.

“Young people across Newcastle have told us they don’t feel employable, and feel uncertain, lack confidence and are not getting the support and advice they need. Those that Action for Children supports have the additional burden of coping with turbulent, often traumatic lives. For them, the risk of unemployment and the financial, social and emotional problems that often come with it are even greater.”

Now Action for Children, in partnership with Barclays, has launched ‘Skills for Success’, an ambitious nationwide project that aims to equip young people with the basic skills and knowledge to help them into employment or training. Following a successful pilot, the programme of workshops and drop-in advice services is aiming to help 22,000 young people already supported by the charity’s projects over a 13-month period.

Ms Iddon added:

“Giving the most vulnerable young people the right support and advice to help them get on the job ladder is vital, and with our new programme, Skills for Success, we hope to be able to help thousands of youngsters over the coming year.”

The charity works with some of the country’s most vulnerable young people including those in care, not in employment, education or training (NEET) and young carers.

Kathleen Britain, head of UK community investment at Barclays, said:

“Our insights show that young people are daunted by the competitiveness of today’s job market and struggle to find the right support, career advice and mentoring to move forward.

“That’s why we are committed to equipping the next generation with the training they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their families through the Skills for Success programme.”

> Or will it be yet another “rewrite your CV our way – it’ll look just like every other version of your CV you’ve had done on courses, but it means we get paid, and that’s the main thing.”

Sorry – feeling cynical today.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  20 Apr 2015

Hidden debt epidemic from pay day loans hits North East teens

Desperate North teens are saddling themselves with payday loan debt with the help of their parents, it is claimed today.

A shock report by Action For Children has unearthed “worrying levels of borrowing” in the region among young people aged from 12 to 18.

Research by the charity reveals one in eight borrowed money from companies and an alarming 41% said they had used a payday loan company.

While it is illegal for anyone aged under 18 to get credit, Newcastle’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) said staff had dealt with cases where parents or guardians had sought payday loans on a youngster’s behalf.

And bureau Chief Executive Shona Alexander said the hidden debt epidemic is leading to relationship breakdown within families as teenagers – the age group most likely to be on a zero hours contract – struggle to repay relatives.

It is a serious problem,” said Shona, who called for the credit age to be raised to 25. “We know that young people have forged the signatures of adults and that they have pressured parents or grandparents into getting a loan for them or being their guarantor.

“When they can’t pay them back, the adult’s credit rating is seriously damaged and then it is not just a debt problem but a relationship problem.

“Young people don’t know how to manage money. Something needs to be done.”

Frontline staff see young people seeking debt money to replace household goods, set up their first home or keep up with pals. High street lenders, including store cards, were used by a third (38%) of those able to get credit, the survey said.

Action For Children said the Government must fund more debt education to stop another generation of young people from a cycle of debt and bad credit.

It comes as the charity publishes its Paying The Price report ahead of Christmas amid fears the expensive festive season could be a trigger.

The report unveils how that 55% of children have not received any financial education.

And of those who had, 87% learnt from parents or carers while just 27% learnt about money at school.

The CAB added its Stockton branch had run a successful service helping to educate young people on the dangers of debt which had now disappeared because of public sector cutbacks.

Shona added aggressive marketing campaigns from payday loan companies were attractive to young people and credit firms were likely to change tack after reforms in 2015 to sell more guarantor-style short-term loans.

“Young people don’t understand interest rates and they don’t get into the regular habit of saving,” she said. “We have really got to start education at primary school age and keep that going. Too much of the debt education that we have is short-term.”

John Egan, Action for Children’s operational director of children’s services, said by becoming bogged down with debt from a young age, countless young people from the region could have their future marred by unemployment and mental health problems as a result.

He said: “High interest products and companies are now far too easy for young people to access.

“Some young people are less likely to have the financial skills they need, they may have to live on a low income or are not in education. They are also not able to learn about money at home or at school where other young people do. Add in baffling financial jargon and a lack of knowledge will dramatically create a vicious circle of debt, increasing the risk of mental health problems and unemployment.

“We cannot afford to let children pay this price because of a simple lack of financial education. They must be equipped with the necessary skills to make informed money decisions to give them a chance of a happy future.”

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Chronicle,  14 Dec 2014

Not Wishing You A Dickensian Christmas

Its a strange thing but a “Dickensian” christmas is often held up as the personification of all things the season should strive to be… the soft, warm glow of candlelight, decorated xmas trees, hot punch, roasting chestnuts, happy families around the fire, merry carol singers gathered under the gaslight in the street, not the least phased by the several inches of snow covering everything – proper snow, snow that miraculously doesn’t turn to slush under the passage of so many feet and the wheels of carriages, or become polluted by the regular discharges from the horses that provided the motive power.

Sometimes people will organize “Dickensian Christmas” events and dress up in Victorian costume, probably read from his works… and generally miss his point.

Because the strata of society they dress up as is inevitably the upper or upper-middle classes of Victorian society. Then as now, the low paid and unemployed weren’t invited to the party – who do you think lit the candles and fires, cooked the feasts and generally did all the work ?

British society must not revert to “times of Charles Dickens” and leave the nation’s poorest families in desperate need of food and clothes, a  charity has warned.

Action for Children said the nation “can’t go back” to the scenes of desperation described by the Dickens.  The comments come as the charity said it has been regularly sending families to food and clothes banks for the first time since the 1940s.

Spokesman Jacob Tas said a “staggering” number of its centres were showing families where they could obtain emergency supplies, with some families are being forced to choose between eating, paying for heating or the rent.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of the charity’s 220 children’s centres said they aere “regularly” signposting families in need to food banks, according to its annual report, The Red Book.

And 21% of managers of the charity’s intensive family support services are signposting those in need to clothes banks, said the report released earlier this year.

Mr Tas said:  ” It’s painful and unfortunate that we have now entered in a time when we go back in comparison to the 1940s. It’s really horrible for those families who are basically already at the bottom of the food chain that they have to go to go to food banks to get their food.

“Some families now have to make a choice between either paying the rent, paying for heating or paying for food. We are talking about children that are cold at home and are hungry and that is in 2013, which is really painful for everybody involved.

“In this very wealthy country, we are in the top 10 of the richest in the world, yet here we have a two-tier society where people are struggling to feed and clothe themselves.

“We can’t go back to the times of Charles Dickens where at Christmastime we are handing out food and clothes. We should be more advanced in our opinion of society where we take care of those who need help the most.”

He said that there are a number of contributing factors to the rise in people seeking help for basic necessities including the economy, unemployment, changes to the benefits system and cuts to services. “These families are facing the maximum squeeze from all sides,” he said.

In Tyne & Wear, the  Trussell Trust, which runs several foodbanks, has already this year helped 19, 388 people – last year it was 7,020. In Newcastle’s West End 7,410 people received help – last year it was just 26.

Gateshead saw a rise from 390 last year to 1,720

The Bay Foodbank (North Tyneside) last December delivered 97 boxes of food (designed to last a family 4-5 days). In November this year they delivered 305 boxes.

The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle is expecting to help around 650 people over Christmas.

Austerity – we’re all in it together. Alledgedly. This time next year, a whole lot more of us will probably be in it, and we can all have Dickensian christmas’s.