Disabled activists are organising a national day o

first_imgDisabled activists are organising a national day of action to push for the government’s new universal credit benefit system to be scrapped.Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) believes that the “punishing” universal credit (UC) regime, which is slowly replacing six working-age benefits, is “rotten to the core”.DPAC says UC is too flawed to be simply “paused and fixed” – the “wimpish” policy that the Labour opposition has adopted – and that it is “an economic and political disaster bringing further distress and impoverishment to those forced to endure it”.Part of the aim of the day of action on 1 March is to focus on Labour’s failure to adopt a “stop and scrap” policy, with the possibility that some protests could be aimed at the party.The day of action will include a protest in Westminster, with activists meeting outside the visitors’ entrance of the House of Commons.A DPAC spokesperson said: “No civilized government should impose this on its citizens and no opposition party should want to simply pause and fix it.”Among the impacts of UC on disabled people that have alarmed DPAC are the introduction of mandatory health and work conversations for all disabled claimants; the difficulty of an online-only system that makes it “difficult or impossible” for some disabled people to claim; and the possibility that disabled people with part-time jobs that suit their support needs will be forced into unsuitable full-time jobs.A key concern is over the scrapping of severe (£62.45 per week) and enhanced disability premiums (£15.90 per week), which are currently added to some means-tested disability benefits to help with the costs of disability.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) argued this week that it had “simplified and rationalised the various, complex disability premiums” that exist in the current system, but without explaining how it had done so and who would lose out.DPAC also points to widespread problems faced by all UC claimants, such as the introduction of “harsh” sanctions for those who have jobs, as well as those who are out-of-work, if they fail to meet the terms of a “claimant commitment” (an agreement to look for work or increase earnings).It also highlights the long delays faced by claimants before they receive their first UC payment; reported increases in rent arrears among UC claimants, caused by housing payments no longer being paid direct to landlords; and letting agents reportedly refusing to rent properties to UC claimants.Campaigners have warned that the rollout has been leaving hundreds of thousands in debt, and forcing people – many of them disabled – to borrow from loan sharks, pawnbrokers and payday loan companies, while many have been left facing eviction because of the rollout.Following these and other concerns, chancellor Philip Hammond announced in November’s budget a package of improvements to UC that will cost £1.5 billion over the next five years (£300 million in 2018-19), including removing the seven-day waiting period for new claimants so that entitlement starts on the day of the claim.A DWP spokeswoman said: “Universal credit lies at the heart of our reforms to transform the welfare system, so it supports those who can work and cares for those who can’t.“And it’s working. Under universal credit people are finding a job faster and staying in it longer than under the old system, while having the right help in place for people who need it.“We have listened to feedback and are bringing in a £1.5 billion package of improvements announced in the budget to make it easier for people moving onto universal credit.“Continuing to roll out universal credit in a safe and controlled way will mean many more people will benefit from moving into employment.”She said it had “always been part of the design of universal credit that we would simplify and reduce the number of different rates for sickness and disability” and that those currently claiming the severe and enhanced premiums would not see their benefits reduced in cash terms when moving onto universal credit, unless their circumstances changed.But such claimants can see their benefits reduced if there is any change in their circumstances.DWP argues that this “requirement to make a new claim to benefit where there has been a change of circumstance is not new”. Despite requests from Disability News Service to clarify exactly how disabled people previously in receipt of the premiums will be affected by UC, DWP has so far been unable to do so.But it claims that anyone who is in the ESA support group and only qualifies for the enhanced disability premium will be better off under UC by more than £90 per month.The DWP spokeswoman said the health and work conversations would “help ensure that people are supported during the initial stages of claiming benefits” and that any actions agreed would be voluntary, while “safeguards will be put in place to ensure there are appropriate exemptions from attending”.She said DWP understood that some people would need extra support in making a UC claim, including claims being able to be taken over the phone, or appointments made for visits to people’s homes.Work coaches will provide “ongoing support for people who need it and that can be face-to-face, via text message, over the phone or through people’s online journals”, while there are computers and free wi-fi in all Jobcentre Plus offices for the public and claimants to use, and jobcentre staff can input claimant details for those who need support.She said the claimant commitment sets out what is expected of claimants “in return for the support they will receive”, with claimants “encouraged to tell their work coach what they can manage and what is realistic and achievable for them”.And she said that sanctions were “only ever used in a small minority of cases” and it was “right that we encourage claimants to do everything they can to prepare for, or find work in return for benefits”, while claimants can ask for a reconsideration of the sanction decision and then have a right to appeal to a tribunal.She said that most claimants were “comfortable managing their money but advances are available for anyone who needs extra help, and arrangements can be made to pay rent direct to landlords if needed”, while anyone applying for UC can apply for a 100 per cent advance, while there was “budgeting support” for those who need it.last_img read more

Road to SFPD reform cautiously sometimes haltingly engages community

first_imgThat prospect is what drew Camarena, an attorney from Mexico and a community activist in the Mission District, to sit on the Working Group for Community Policing, one of the five areas the Justice Department’s recommendations fall under. The others include bias, accountability, use of force, and recruitment, hiring, and personnel practices. Each is led by a command-level officer — the Executive Sponsor — and some include Police Commissioners.“Community engagement is about changing the way policies are made,” Camarena added, pointing out that some officers conflate it with community relations. Community engagement is not, Camarena says, coffee with a cop. Instead, she and others see it as a process where police take into account civilian recommendations.While the Community Policing working group, led by Commander David Lazar, has been praised for facilitating the most dynamic and involved participation, the two-way exchange between officers and the community was supposed to be present in each working group.But numerous people who have spoken to Mission Local expressed dissatisfaction and frustration with how the group leaders have integrated their input. They described an opaque, and — at best — confusing process that mostly keeps community participants at the periphery of developing new policies.The use-of-force working group, headed by Commander Peter Walsh, faced the most challenges, according to those who spoke to Mission Local. Stakeholders who would not speak on the record said that they have repeatedly asked Walsh to invite representatives of the ACLU or the Blue Ribbon Panel, a panel sponsored by the District Attorney that was largely ignored by the SFPD. These suggestions have faced resistance, they said.Nevertheless, many believe there is a sincere desire among the police officers who have taken leadership roles in the working groups to involve the community — they just lack a real infrastructure to do so.“I never felt ignored, but what I did suspect was there was no mechanism for taking the feedback and incorporating it into the process,” said John Talbot, a member of the bias and accountability working groups.Measuringcommunity involvement is tricky. While members of the police department may feel like they are putting in a valiant effort — putting in extra hours to attend meetings late into the night, patiently listening to citizens’ concerns and explaining the intricacies of their work — it still falls short for those who expect to have a voice in how they, and their neighbors, are policed.Traditionally, police reform has not included the community, and experts on police reform say that getting through the resistance to community involvement is the next frontier. Whether San Francisco gets there is yet to be seen.Barry Friedman, the director of New York University’s Policing Project, works with cities around the country to make police departments’ practices more transparent and accountable to the community.“Democracy works this way around everything except policing,” Friedman said.The Five Working Groups and commanders in charge.The five working groups and the progress of the recommendations. SanFrancisco’s attempt to incorporate community input into the police reform effort could be viewed as delusional (police would never take advice from civilians) to foolhardy (the two would never get along). Nevertheless, that is what the SFPD and civilian stakeholders have attempted to do as they work through the Justice Department’s 272 recommendations to make the SFPD better.Nearly half of those recommendations have found solutions — at least on paper. To gauge the success of community input, Mission Local surveyed dozens of residents who have participated — and are likely to continue to participate — in the process.  The oversight of the working groups is even more critical now because the Department of Justice pulled out of this role in the fall, and although Police Chief Bill Scott has promised to replace it with another independent review group, that group has yet to be announced.Many said they remain skeptical, and would like to see stronger mechanisms for incorporating their input. For now, the residents — who generally represent stakeholders such as the Bar Association, neighborhood activists and criminal-justice professionals — will remain on the committees that are far from finished with the work.“It’s a kind of a revolutionary concept,” said Adriana Camarena about involving community in reform, “to turn a hierarchical, isolated agency into one that is very responsive to community concerns.” “To be fair to the police,” Friedman adds, “it’s historical. But we’re trying to change that.”“One of the great unanswered questions around policing is what the metric should be used for measuring the success around community involvement,” Friedman said. “We have clearance rates, arrests, traffic stops. But we don’t have good metrics for this, and I don’t think anyone has come close to answering it.”SanFrancisco has already had civilian oversight through its Police Commission. But it is trying to expand that infrastructure, in which citizens can influence how the department works through the working groups.Deputy Chief Michael Connolly, who heads the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau, the organizational umbrella for the working groups, said that the SFPD is committed to making this collaborative process an ongoing one — not one that will end once the DOJ’s 272 recommendations are addressed.Lieutenant Yulanda Williams, who did the initial groundwork of casting a wide net of invitations to community members of all perspectives to attend the working groups, also says that the department has tried to be responsive to criticism.“It was never the direct intent to not listen to people,” Williams says, adding that Commander Lazar and other officers have tried to make changes to address concerns.The difficulty of this process — and frustrations inherent to it — was on display at the Taser working group’s first meeting after the Police Commission approved the weapons in early November.The group had convened to review the latest draft of the SFPD’s Taser policy before it was passed on to the Police Commission. Many in attendance felt like the policy failed to reflect their concerns.“We made critiques, and all they did was make it worse,” said Tom Meyer with the San Francisco Bar Association.Among his concerns was that the policy had relaxed language around limiting the use of Tasers on vulnerable people, such as pregnant women and children. In a previous draft, the police had prohibited the use of Tasers on these groups unless deadly force would be permitted. The latest version only said “special consideration shall be made” in those circumstances.“It’s been a process driven by Commissioner Melara and the SFPD,” said David Rizk, another lawyer with the Bar Association. “I think it’s fair to say the stakeholders have been in the back seat. This hasn’t been a consensus-building exercise.”Two days later, at the Working Group for Accountability meeting, there was confusion about when community members could be part of the process.After Sergeant Gary Buckner finished presenting his solution to a recommendation that the SFPD find a way to better maintain its general orders — so that orders would not remain untouched for more than 20 years ­­– Barbara Attard raised her hand.“I’m unclear what is supposed to be happening at these meetings,” she said.Made with Infogram.Deputy Chief Mikail Ali, who was newly appointed to head the accountability working group, explained that developing policy takes place outside of the Executive Sponsor meetings. Buckner had worked with a subgroup to develop the recommendation.“These meetings are only for presenting the work that takes place elsewhere,” Ali said.Attard has worked in police oversight for over three decades and says she has not known how to get involved at the policy-creation level.Buckner said he had invited people to be involved in a sub-group to develop policy, but Attard said she never got an invitation.“I put my name in, but it wasn’t clear to me how this process would work,” she said after the meeting.She didn’t have objections to Buckner’s presentation, but she didn’t just want to be a sounding board.“I signed on to this to actually work on policy. It’s my expertise for the last 20 years. I’m less interested in overview than hands-on input on policies.”Members from the use-of-force working group echoed Attard’s frustration. They said that they are only able to ask questions and make suggestions on the policies presented to them, but there is no way for them to see if their input has an impact.Commander Walsh said that he was not aware that stakeholders feel there is a lack of transparency in the group.“I do not believe we have rejected a community member’s idea outright,” he wrote in an email to Mission Local.“If members have recommendations or opinions, the Department weighs them to see if they are practical and/or adaptable,” Walsh wrote.Forall working groups, policy recommendations are created outside the meetings — either in a subgroup, or by an SFPD project manager. Those policies are then presented to community members for discussion and feedback. What happens next is less clear.Karen Fleshman, who has been involved in grassroots police accountability groups like San Franciscans for Police Accountability and Justice 4 Mario Woods, sits on the Working Group on Bias. She says she feels like the police department has taken the community’s input into consideration while they draft their policies.“But where it goes from there is totally opaque,” said Fleshman. “It gets sucked into the SFPD, and God knows what happens.”Camarena said that even the Community Engagement working group has failed to harness their more robust participation into policy formation. But Lazar said that he implements the “overwhelming majority” of what the community recommends.An example of this disconnect, Camarena said, was the increase of foot patrols across the city — quadrupling them in Mission District and doubling them in the Bayview.Police Chief Bill Scott announced the increase at the end of August, before the working group took up the DOJ recommendation that the SFPD evaluate whether implementation of foot and bicycle patrols would improve trust between the department and community.Though she does not inherently object to increased foot patrols, Camarena has serious concerns that, without thoughtful attention to underlying issues like bias, accountability and use of force, simply increasing foot patrols is not necessarily a good thing.Lazar said increasing foot patrol is not controversial and, since foot patrols were already part of SFPD,  implementing them was not a matter of policy change.“We look forward to hearing their conversation about foot patrol, but in the meantime, we’re rolling it out,” Lazar said.Despite these complaints,  Camarena gives Commander Lazar credit for being more responsive to change. After receiving feedback, he now writes down community recommendations and clearly communicates back to the group what policy recommendation he is making to the Chief of Police — even if they don’t reflect the community’s input.It’s a start.“I want more transparency. SFPD is not used to transparency,” Camarena says. 0% Tags: police • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

HAVE you seen our Ladbrokes Crossbar ChallengeCan

first_imgHAVE you seen our Ladbrokes Crossbar Challenge?Can the Saints hit the bar from 30 metres out?Click here to find out!last_img

LOOKING purely at the 6030 scoreline and you woul

first_imgLOOKING purely at the 60-30 scoreline and you would be forgiven for thinking that the defensive effort from both teams had been terrible, writes Graham Henthorne.And whilst that is partly true I’d prefer to say that the score is due to some sparkling attacking play from both sides.The Saints were first out of the blocks and were 10 points up in as many minutes with tries from Matty Fleming and Jack Ashworth.The first came after Brad Billsborough’s last tackle kick on half way had been charged down but rebounded into Saints hands. After great drives from Ricky Bailey, Greg Richards and Matty Lees, Danny Richardson, back to his scintillating best, chose to run it spinning the ball out wide right to the charging Matty Fleming who bulldozed his way through three to the line.Jack Ashworth’s first came after good work again from Richards and Jonah Cunningham who were held short. On the last Richardson’s deft grubber gave Ashworth a stroll over the line.But not to be out done the visitors came storming back with two tries of their own and as the game went into its second quarter FC were ahead by two.The Saints just needed to ride the storm, get back to what was working for them and that’s exactly what they did in the remaining twenty minutes.On 25 minutes Ashworth came up with a great offload to put Josh Eaves under the sticks to regain the lead for the Saints.The third tackle after the restart saw a mesmerising 80 metre run. Calvin Wellington made the initial break and support from Josh Eaves, Bailey and Ashworth saw the Saints 10 metres from the line. From the play the ball Richardson again took control throwing a miss pass out to Jake Spedding for the wingers’ first.The last score of the half saw Fleming through down the right, he dummied to Spedding before passing it inside to bailey who outstripped the cover to go under the sticks.The second half started as the first had ended with the Saints flooding forward in attack.Bailey was held up over the line in the first set before the ball was spread right to Ashworth on the last for the big second row to step inside his defender to score.Matty Fleming scored his second thanks to another towering bomb from Richardson which landed smack bang in between the full back and winger who both allowed it to bounce directly into the waiting grasp of the Saints centre who jogged over the line.The game was well and truly put to bed on the quarter hour as a neat short ball from Aaron Smith put Cunningham over under the black dot.However, nobody told the visitors that as, combined with a sharp offloading game, they took advantage of some lapses in concentration from the Saints to score three tries in quick succession to close within 14 points with as many minutes remaining.But that was as close as they got as the Saints decided to play again scoring three effortless tries in the final six minutes to blow the score out.Spedding got his brace weaving between the static defensive lines on the right.Jordan Gibbons reacted quickest to dive on a loose ball deep in the let in goal area after a great Dave Eccleston break.The final try was finished off by Greg Richards powering over from close range after a sharp dummy half break from Smith.Both sides were keen to get the Reserves season under way and the Saints produced a sparkling display from 1 to 19.Richards, Ashworth and the terrifyingly direct Matty Lees dictated the play up front and with significant fire power out wide it was easy for Danny Richardson to showcase his wares.Next for the Saints in a fortnight is a visit over the lump. Play for 80 like they did for 50 and it could be another happy trip home from Orrell.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Matty Fleming (3 & 49), Jack Ashworth (8 & 45), Josh Eaves (25), Jake Spedding (27 & 74), Ricky Bailey (33), Jonah Cunningham (54), Jordan Gibbons (76), Greg Richards (78).Goals: Danny Richardson (8 from 11).Hull FC:Tries: Nick Armstrong (12), Jack Wray (18), Mike Adlard (60), Curtis Heil (66), Jez Litten (67).Goals: Nick Armstrong (5 from 5).Half Time: 26-12Full Time: 60-30Teams:Saints:1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Jake Spedding, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Calvin Wellington, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Brad Billsborough, 7. Danny Richardson; 8. Greg Richards, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Jack Ashworth, 12. Ben Morris, 13. Jonah Cunningham. Subs: 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Callum Hazzard, 16. Mike Weldon, 17. Owen Smith, 18. Jordan Gibbons, 19. Dave Eccleston.Hull FC:1. Mike Adlard; 2. Nick Armstrong, 3. Matt Cook, 4. Connor Bower, 5. Callum Lancaster; 6. Jake Connor, 7. Jack Wray; 8. Ross Osbourne, 9. Josh Wood, 10. Zac Braham, 11. Brandon Westerman, 12. Ash Bastiman, 13. Zeus Silk. Subs: 14. Jack Sanderson, 15. Alex Gilbey, 16. Curtis Heil, **. Jez Litten.last_img read more

Join us at Haydock Park Golf Club from 1030am as

first_imgJoin us at Haydock Park Golf Club from 10.30am as Team Captains Paul Sculthorpe MBE and Tommy Martyn go head-to-head in our Ryder Cup style format.Our Saints legends will perform a live draw over breakfast to determine which Captain you will play for and the winning team will be crowned from 6pm during our evening BBQ alongside the 18th hole – all hosted by our Lounge MC Pete Emmett who will also announce the individual prize winners for the Longest Drive, Nearest the Pin and Players of the Day.And, if you’re lucky (or skilful) enough to hit a hole-in-one on the 18th, you will win our star prize of an Audi A4 for a year courtesy of our partners at Warrington Audi – terms and conditions apply.Prices are just £150 + vat per team of two and we are now down to our final few places available.If you would like to join us then book now –  alternatively you can call 01744 455053 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.SponsorshipWe also have sponsorship available at just £300 + vat.You will receive branding on your tee or green whilst receiving a team of two to play during the competition.Acknowledgments across literature issued on the day will also be included as will references to your business across both the Saints website and social media channels as we feature the event.To reserve your sponsorship, please call us on 01744 455080 or email us here.last_img read more

The lads braved some icy conditions in North Wales

first_imgThe lads braved some icy conditions in North Wales but enjoyed some great team building exercises including go-karting, mixed in with training and skills work.The squad made use of the extensive facilities at Deeside Leisure Centre including the 3G pitches to train on.On the visit of St.Helens R.F.C. Lee Breeze Centre Development Officer at Deeside Leisure Centre said, “We were delighted to be able to host Saints for their training camps on the build up to the new Super League season. During their time with us they used our Strength and Conditioning gym, grass pitch and our 3G pitches as well as braving the ice rink for a squad photo!last_img read more

UNCW rings in 70 years

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not foundhttps://cdn.field59.com/WWAY/1505958609-e23db79b9185c39ca53332c3dcdc4359f2bdaad4_fl9-720p.mp4 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Before many of us were born, UNCW was there as Wilmington college. Now, the University’s staff and students celebrate as the school recognizes its 70 years of existence.UNCW started back in 1947, just around the end of World War II. Chancellor Jose Sartarelli says this all happened because of the schools mission to support and encourage students. He believes even the first chancellor of the school expected the university to be a staple for years to come.- Advertisement – “Whoever was thinking about the future of this university back when it was just a junior college back in 1947, probably had very high aspirations. Whether those high aspirations were communicated or not, I’m not sure but they probably did it and I know they had big aspirations for the college,” Sartarelli said.Seventy years ago, UNCW’s first class was made up of a total of 238 students.last_img read more

Flight 22 MLK Jam coming to Trask High School

first_img We’ll see both of the Ashley Screaming Eagles teams, Wilmington Christian Academy and South Columbus represent our area schools.Full Court Press co-host and Flight 22 founder Nathan Faulk says it’s a great event across the board.“It’s a day of basketball and a day of celebration,” Faulk said. “Obviously we’re celebrating a great man that day, so why not do it with basketball? That’s how we’ve always looked at it. The same great teams are there and the same great players and it will be the same kind of event.”Related Article: Services held in Tabor City for slain NC trooperGreat is a perfect way to describe the basketball that will go down on Monday. Our teams, the defending state champions, Northside Jacksonville, college prospects and much more.Now as always you can catch highlights from the MLK Jam on WWAY sports. ROCKY POINT, NC (WWAY) — While you’re celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, you can enjoy some great basketball action during the Flight 22 MLK Jam.The basketball event starts at 10:30 a.m. and runs until the final game beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Trask High School in Rocky Point. There are schools from across the state including teams from right here in our area.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Wilmington man gets 5 years for assaulting an infant

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man will spend the at least the next 5 years behind bars after assaulting a baby back in 2016.Frederick Cohen, 29, pleaded guilty in court Monday to Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Injury.- Advertisement – On November 9, 2016, a 3 month old baby was brought to a pediatrician with bruising on her torso. Doctors determined that the bruising was consistent with non-accidental trauma, and ordered a series of X-rays.These tests showed the child had three broken ribs, an injury sustained while she was in Cohen’s care.Officials say Cohen was out of custody before the plea, but will start serving his sentence immediately.last_img read more

NC schools receive 2M federal grant for hurricane recovery

first_imgDamage to Pender Co. schools due to Florence (Photo: Pender County Schools) NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — State superintendent has announced North Carolina is receiving a $2 million grant to aid in continued hurricane Florence and Michael recovery efforts for area schools.The funds will help restore learning environments in hundreds of schools in 12 districts and help more than 130,000 students.- Advertisement – The money will help rebuild playgrounds, transporting students displaced by the storm, pay those who helped restore schools, and provide more instructional time.Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender and Onslow County schools will benefit from this grant, as well as the GLOW Academy of Wilmington.last_img read more