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Issue:- 11/12November 2009

North West housing associations back N.H.F. campaign on supported housing

HOUSING associations across the North West are helping celebrate Supported Housing Month North. The aim of the month of activity is to highlight the difference housing associations are making through working with over 165,000 people across the North of England.

Events in the North West includes members of Contour Housing taking part in a 5K fun run to raise funds to furnish a new purpose built refuge for women and children in Preston. This takes place on Sunday, 22 November 2009.

Other events that have been held are:-

Already Green Vale Homes in Rossendale launched a 'Safe Neighbour Scheme' in partnership with Rossendale Police. The scheme is aimed at reducing burglary against vulnerable/older people throughout the Rossendale Valley. This took place on Thursday, 5 November 2009.

Chester and District Housing Trust have organised training for residents, advising them on things like how to change a plug, put up a curtain rail or bleed a radiator. This took place on Thursday, 11 November 2009.

Supported Housing Month North was coordinated by the National Housing Federation. Across the North has taken place between since 2 November 2009 and will run until 30 November 2009.

· Over 180 housing associations provide supported housing services - tailoring them to meet individual needs.

· Every pound spent on Supporting People saves £1.79 on other public services.

· The services range from foyers for young people and homeless hostels to refuges and residential care homes.

· Nationally this vital sector is saving mainstream services £1.22 billion by supporting the client.

Sallie Bridgen, National Housing Federation North West regional manager said:- "Housing associations and other providers working in supported housing are unsung heroes. 

They groups make a huge contribution through an enormous variety of services, tailored to meet a wide range of needs.

The aim of Supported Housing Month North is to highlight just some of the activities taking place helping individuals, families and the wider community.

We are delighted so many North West organisations have got involved!

With the removal of the ring fence around Supporting People funding, it is vitally important that commissioners, MPs, stakeholders and Councillors are fully aware of the contribution that the sector is making in supporting and improving the lives of so many individuals in communities throughout the North West." 


A former UK Independence Party MEP, Tom Wise was sentenced by a British court to two years imprisonment for the abuse of parliamentary expenses. Tom Wise, who was elected in 2004, was found to have fraudulently claimed £39,000 of parliamentary expenses. On 20 April 2009, Bedfordshire Police was advised by The Crown Prosecution Service, that charges should be brought againced UKIP, Thomas Wise MEP and his then researcher Lindsay Jenkins, with one count each of false accounting contrary to the Theft Act 1968 and one count each of money laundering contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

On Wednesday, 11 November 2009, Southwark Crown Court heard that the former member for the East of England could have pocketed up to £180,000 had the suspicious claims not been exposed by the Sunday Telegraph in 2005.

The jury heard that Wise, who is 61, managed to fool senior European Parliament officials into clearing him of wrongdoing in an investigation. But Wise admitted the fraud last week, changing his plea to guilty part-way through his trial for false accounting. This was just as the party leader, Nigel Farage, was due to give evidence against him.

Wise told the Court that he was entirely to blame and Ms Jenkins, whom he had been asked to sign blank documents, was innocent. This has lead to his former researcher, who had also been on trial, being cleared of the false accounting charges, as well as an allegation of using criminal property.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, sentencing, Wise, that he was guilty of a “gross breach of trust.”

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC also said that:- “It is no exaggeration to say that you had hardly got your feet beneath your desk as an MEP before you were planning to defraud the parliament to which you were elected and the people you were elected to serve. This was a very deliberate and blatant dishonesty … You knew the system of expenses inside out and this was a claim you devised and planned with some care.”

The North West Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies revealed in 2008 the existence of a secret report by the European Parliament's auditor that highlighted major abuses by some MEPs of allowances intended for the payment of parliamentary assistants.

On Wednesday, 11 November 2009, MEP Chris Davies called on the president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, to set up a special committee to investigate the expenses of MEPs prior to the tightening of the procedures. If suspicions of malpractice are raised he wants the evidence presented to national police authorities so that prosecutions can be considered.

Davies commented:- "The European Parliament has made big improvements in the control of MEPs' expenses that should curb the abuses, but those who in the past treated public money as their own should not be allowed to escape prosecution."

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