The second meeting of the Macc Policy Network was held yesterday and it was absolutely fascinating. The range of issues that participants spoke about demonstrates again (as if it that was actually required), the richness, diversity and passion in the VCSE sector.
These are some of the issues discussed leaving out my contribution which you can read in our recent policy bulletin:
- The work of Greater Manchester Poverty Action on food poverty and the links with local growing and with diversity.
- Research into hidden young people who are unable to deal with the stress of claiming benefits, or who end up making money through criminal activities as they dont believe they can get work, who then don’t get employment support.
- Homelessness of BAME women who have left their homes because of domestic violence but then can’t use refuges because of difficulties in claiming benefits who move from one unsafe situation to one that might be even less safe.
- The high levels of exclusion and use of stigmatising pupil referral units by teenage black boys, the long-term impacts, and approaches to working with schools.
- The difficulties caused by lack of enough or the right proofs of identity.
- The hugely positive impact of school-based parenting courses.
- Community sponsorship of refugees.
- The poor standard of support for children with special educational needs.
The main presentation was on welfare benefits: the problems of moving from DLA to PIP: the impact of digital exclusion and lack of English on applying for Universal Credit; the levels of debt in Manchester being often too large to ever clear; working with banks to make it easier to get a bank account; the problems of private sector renting; the value of Whatsapp in advice giving.
I’ve left out a great deal of course. These may all seem like separate issues but there are common threads running through them all that illuminate the complex experiences of the hugely diverse communities of Manchester.
The Macc Policy Network is an opportunity for Macc’s Policy and Influence Team to talk about what we are doing (we produce a Policy Newsletter as well which you can sign up to receive via the link) but just as importantly to hear about what other VCSE organisations are involved in and for people to share with each other. If you’d like to be on the email list let me know. Nigel@macc.org.uk