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News Report Page 9 of 13
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Emergency food parcels to families in the North West up 28% since 2017

RISE of food banks shows Britain needs to change the economy to make it fairer, says TUC. New TUC analysis reveals that there has been a 28% increase in the number of emergency food parcels given to families in the North West since 2017. The analysis uses publicly available data from the Trussell Trust to compare the number of emergency food parcels issued in the North West between April and September 2017 (87,000) with the same 6 month period in 2019 (111,000).

The growth parallels wider trends in the economy that are pushing more families into hardship.

Wages:- The average weekly wage in the North West is still worth ₤13 less than a decade ago.

Insecure work:- 11% of workers in the North West are in insecure work (low paid, self employed, agency, casual and seasonal workers, or on zero hours contracts).

Debt:- Average household debt (unsecured) has climbed to a record high of ₤14,200.

Cuts:- Since 2010, working families have faced severe cuts to support through Tax Credits and benefits, along with cuts to community services like Children's Centres.

TUC Secretary for the North West James McKenna said:- "The commitment of so many food bank volunteers and donors to helping their neighbours is amazing. But if we had a fair economy, it wouldn't be needed. Austerity, low pay and insecure work are pushing working class families below the breadline. And Universal Credit is failing to catch people when they fall. People are fed up with a rigged economy that only serves those at the top. It's time to put working class families 1st. Let's change our economy to make it fair again for everyone"

The TUC is calling for the following changes to create a fairer economy for working families:-

Raise the miniMum wage to ₤10 per hour.

Ban zero hours contracts and use fair work contracts with flexible working rights.

Stop and scrap Universal Credit and mend the safety net.

Reverse the cuts to support for working families.

New rights for workers to bargain through trade unions for fair pay and conditions.

'Voices' is 5!

RETURN of 5th annual creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers. Coram Voice is excited to announce the return of 'Voices,' the annual writing competition for children in care and young care leavers across the country. The competition, which is now in its 5th year, if you want to enter you have until 12 February 2020.  Coram Voice, a charity that ensures the voices of children and young people in and around the care system are heard, 1st launched the competition in 2016 as a platform for care experienced young people to express their creative talents and to celebrate their voices.  The theme of this year's competition:- 'Dreams,' was as always chosen by care experienced young people. Entries can be in any written form including:- poems, short stories, raps or newspaper articles, with a 500 word limit. There are 4 age categories:- Primary School, Lower Secondary School (age 11 to 14), Upper Secondary School (age 15 to 17) and Care Leavers (age 18 to 25.)   Entries will be judged by a panel of authors, poets and presenters, due to be announced shortly, alongside young people who were finalists in last year's competition.  Previous competition entrants said that participating had inspired them to write more, made them feel appreciated and valued for their talents and helped them to express their emotions about being in care. For more information on the competition and to enter please go online now.

1 finalist in last year's competition said:- "The benefits of the competition are that you get to write down your thoughts and feelings and people actually read it" whilst another added: "I wanted to express my feelings about being in foster care and get rid of the negative stigmas about being in care."

Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice, said:- "It has been fantastic to see the competition go from strength to strength and to read all of the remarkable entries we've received over the last 5 years. This year's theme of 'dreams,' chosen by young people, is guaranteed to see more creative and inspiring written pieces from care experienced young people, reminding us all of their talent and resilience. We hope their stories will continue to improve understanding around their experiences and celebrate their achievements"

Nativity Festival at Southport's St George's United Reformed Church

OVER 9 December to 14 December 2019, the Lord Street Church had a fantastic event, featuring Christmas carols and other activities. Many Churches and associated groups have created nativity scenes made out of different materials; like:- Lego, wool, paper to more traditional scenes. The story of Christmas, from the Angel Gabriel's visit to Mary, to the family's escape to Egypt, was told in a series of scenes that had been lovingly created by various groups including:- Local Schools, Beavers, Cubs, Rainbows and Brownies, from Southport and Formby. These are some of the amazing nativity scenes that had been on display. Did you attended or take part? If you did please do let us know what you thought of this build up to Christmas 2019, at St George's United Reformed Church, Southport, by emailing us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.




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