Friday, 30 October 2015

Why Prisoners should have the Vote and be allowed to smoke

I have long been in favour of changing the way we punish people. We seem devoid of any creative ways to look at better and more cost effective ways of punishing those who break our laws.

I believe prison must exist for the worst crimes - murder, rape, armed robbery, serious violent crimes but, for lesser crimes, we should be thinking of some new ways that do not involve locking them up and begrudging the cost. In the meantime we should focus on rehabilitation.

I do not include those serving long term sentences in the notion that prisoners should have the vote
but for those who have less than 4 years and so will come out of the prison service while the newly elected government is still in situ, we need to see giving them the vote as part of their rehabilitation process.

Too many people do not want to understand that prison is the punishment, loss of freedom is the real kicker and that we shouldn't be making their lives completely miserable nor should we write them off.

Many prisoners have made some terrible mistakes but for some, that is all it is. Everyone deserves a chance to turn their lives around and many do - becoming worthwhile citizens who can contribute more than the average person.

At the conservative conference there was a great speaker, an ex offender who now works for St Giles. This is an extract from The Prisoners Education website

The conference also heard from an ex-prisoner, Elroy, who works at St. Giles Trust said he spent a long time in and out of prison, then tragically, a younger prisoner he had been trying to help died from a drugs overdose weeks after his release. This gave Elroy the motivation to engage in education for the first time inside and it offered him a different path.

If a person is to take self responsibility, become a good citizen and to not re-offend then they need to become part of a democracy that values law and boundaries, to take their vote seriously and to learn about what the issues are facing the country, rather than the insular, selfish mindset that probably got them to their prison cell in the first place.

Budding MPs could visit prisons and engage those that are about to be released as part of the prisoners 'home run'.

As for smoking - well I used to be a smoker and if anyone had taken away my tobacco in my own 'home' I would've probably threatened some bad behaviour too!

What is it to be? - Do we care enough about their health that we worry so much about the damage of smoking? Oh really? When did that happen?!

Well I do - and I say let them have smoke. There could be smoking cells and non-smoking cells - why not let them come up with a solution that satisfies both parties?

Do we want to make the lives of prison wardens even harder - why don't we start with eliminating illegal drugs first - wow what a random idea that is.

They have been put in prison and often spend hours a day locked in their cells - are we also going to take away the small comforts? Prison and it's regime is punishment enough - and probably a lot more damaging to their health than any tobacco smoke - which I imagine are extremely thin and do less damage than car fumes, from which they do not have to suffer.

Please - why are we bothering to do this in such a lazy way?

Let's be innovative, creative, punish with rehabilitation, deliver training and show some compassion.

We might get more Elroys and wouldnt that be just grand..

Monday, 26 October 2015

Ipswich Conservatives go Green for Halloween!

We were talking to residents in Stoke Park this weekend and we showed our support of the NSPCC's campaign for this halloween.

So just for a change for me, I went Green - for Halloween! And so did some of my colleagues including Ben Gummer.

The NSPCC is one of my favourite charities and I give to them regularly but for this particular campaign I am going to search for every bit of change lying around in my house to donate and my husband will be pleased of the clear out. They are in every nook and cranny of our house and weigh down various handbags, including those I dont use any more. Should be fun.

And it will be interesting to see how much it all is!

Hope you will support the charity when you see one of the particpants trying to raise some funds this weekend.

And have fun on Halloween - not my thing but now I have grandchildren of the right age, I might find something to enjoy!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Suffolk Community Action

  • I thought this was such a great e-mail from Community Action that I thought I'd share it

Young people in Suffolk vote in biggest numbers yet

‘Make Your Mark’ is an annual consultation run by the UK Youth Parliament where young people aged 11-18 have the opportunity to vote inform UKYP’s campaign for the next year by voting for their top issue from a list of 10. This year, over 920,000 young people voted nationally and Suffolk had a fantastic turn-out of 13,906!

15 Suffolk organisations needed for Social Impact pilot project

We are all aware of the rising need to demonstrate the Social Impact our organisations have and how they add Social Value to our communities. However, the world of Social Impact Measurement can be perceived as complex, resource heavy and expensive! We are seeking 15 organisations across Suffolk to take part in a pilot and be prepared to publicise the fantastic work that we know is happening which improves people’s lives on a daily basis.

Rural communities: The end of the road for local banking?

A new report by The Campaign for Community Banking Services (CBBS) highlights the accelerating rate of bank closures. The CBBS says that 1,200 communities across the UK have lost all their banks and hundreds more will do so in the next five years.

Communities across England are set to benefit from more than £132.6 million

Communities across England are set to benefit from more than £132.6 million after the Big Lottery Fund and EU have joined forces. The Big Lottery Fund is matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to provide joint investment in 61 local projects tackling poverty, promoting social inclusion and boosting local economies.

Positive meeting held about the future of Castle Hill Community Centre

We were very pleased to hear that there is a strong desire to keep the centre at the heart of the local community, and there was some discussion around getting interested parties to meet together again, to consider whether a partnership might be formed.

How do you grow your community?
Let us know!

A new campaign, Grow Your Community, has been launched in Suffolk to recognise the positive changes people make to their communities and to inspire others to grow their community.
Community Action Suffolk (CAS) is asking people to visit and share how they grow their community to make it a better place. This could be something as simple as looking after a friend’s children, picking up litter on your street or doing some shopping for an elderly neighbour.

Understanding the insurance needs of voluntary and community sector organisations in Suffolk

Community Action Suffolk currently provides an extensive range of insurance products for voluntary and community sector organisations in Suffolk. We now have an opportunity to influence the development of a new insurance project for the sector. CAS is hoping to identify what the insurance needs are of voluntary and community organisations operating in Suffolk. If you are a voluntary and community organisation operating in Suffolk we would be grateful if you could fill out this quick survey. The survey will run until Friday 23 October 2015.

Welcome to new CAS members

We would like to introduce you to new members to Community Action Suffolk every fortnight, and we extend a warm welcome to:

New Horizons Club

Community Action Suffolk events

Upcoming CAS training courses

Whether you're interested in writing a good funding application or need an award in food safety, we have a wide range of courses available. CAS members receive a discount on the cost of training, for example £25 compared to £40 for our Writing A Good Funding Application course. If you would like to book on a course, please click a link below for booking instructions.

22 Oct Introduction to the principles of Youth Participation, Bury St. Edmunds
4 Nov Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace, Lowestoft
11 Nov Project Planning Course, Hadleigh
12 Nov Level 2 Emergency First Aid at Work, Ipswich
17 Nov Managing Volunteers course, Ipswich
19 Nov Introduction to Safeguarding Vulnerable People, Ipswich
25 Nov Level 2 Food Hygiene course, Ipswich
26 Nov Risk Assessment Course, Ipswich
7 Dec Writing a Good Funding Application Course , Lowestoft
8 Dec Project Planning Course, Ipswich
10 Dec Trustee Roles and Responsibilities course, Ipswich
14 Dec Fire Awareness Course, Stowmarket

View all our training courses in our events calendar.

Meet and network with local groups

These events are for voluntary and community sector organisations. All locality network and volunteering network events are free to attend and you can book online today. View all our networking events for 2015 in ourevents calendar.
Locality networking events
22 Oct Felixstowe (previously 28 Oct)
3 Nov Stowmarket
19 Nov Bury St. Edmunds
1 Dec Ipswich
3 Dec Framlingham
Volunteering network events
4 Nov Haverhill
17 Nov Stowmarket
24 Nov Ipswich

Suffolk news

Empowering children, young people and vulnerable adults to use digital technology safely

Listening to, and understanding the online experiences of children, young people and vulnerable adults has been fundamental to the success of the annual e-Safer Suffolk Cybersurvey.
In 2014, we received over 2,600 responses to the Cybersurvey. Today we need your help and commitment to reach this year’s target of 4,000. Any organisation working with groups of children (min age 10), young people or vulnerable adults can help by encouraging their service users to take part. So if you’re working with these groups – please support them to have their views heard and acted upon. Every organisation that takes part in the Cybersurvey will require an access code. To receive your code please contact:
The e-Safer Suffolk Partnership is supported by Suffolk County Council, the Local Safeguarding Children Board, Adult Safeguarding Board,  Suffolk Police and Suffolk PCC.
Closing date for responses is Monday 30 November
If have any questions regarding the content of the cybersurvey please contact: Marisa BatsonCo-Design Lead, Children and Young People's Services, Suffolk County Council.

Royal visit to Lowestoft community projects

The Princess Royal visited a number of community projects in Lowestoft on Tuesday 13 October 2015, accompanied by Community Action Suffolk’s Patron, Lady Euston. Her Royal Highness visited CAS members Catch 22DreamworXand Access Community Trust on her visit to the county, her fifth visit to meet Suffolk charities in the last five years.

29 Oct: Improving mental health for BME communities

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Healthwatch Suffolk have organised a half-day conference - ‘Inspiring progress in improving mental health for BME communities’ - to explain more about the initiative, which has been designed to increase understanding of the issues faced by the county’s diverse communities when accessing and using mental health services. For more information please click here.

Sports to support BBC Children In Need

BSC Supplementary School, currently supported by BBC Children In Need, is organising a sports marathon on Saturday 7 November 2015 at St Helens Primary School, Ipswich, IP4 2LT (2pm to 4pm). Children, parents, staff & volunteers will be trying to go around the sports circuit as many times as possible to raise money for the BBC charity event in the week leading up to the main “Children In Need” national fundraising evening on 16 November. BBC Children in Need is the BBC's UK corporate charity and they provide grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. Covering all corners of the UK they support small and large organisations which empower children and extend their life choices. 

Do you have something to promote in and around Woodbridge?

If you are a local organisation or charity who would like to promote events or encouraging volunteers to join you, then don’t forget to let Woodbridge Library know. There is an information folder where posters can be left, along with an information stand where you can leave leaflets or postcards which people can pick up as they go about their business in Woodbridge. If you would like to drop information in, or send it electronically so that is can be printed off, please let in touch with Helen Scrivener the Library Manager via 01394 446510, Helen Scrivener

Village Hall chairs for sale

The Ansell Centre in Hadleigh has 50 stackable chairs which they would like to sell. They would be suitable for a village hall. For more information, contact Jan Dicks at the Ansell Centre.
Other Suffolk news:


Suffolk Community Foundation – High Sheriff’s Fund

Grants up to £1,500 are available for work with young people (aged 8-25) that addresses citizenship, community safety and crime prevention which tackles issues such as:
  • Bullying
  • Vandalism and arson
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Homelessness
  • Internet safety
  • Personal safety
  • Road safety
  • Knife crime
  • Drug and alcohol abuse/awareness
  • Community cohesion, especially with older people and minorities
The Foundation will consider applications from charities, voluntary and community groups in Suffolk whose primary aim is to improve the quality of people’s lives. For this particular fund, schools can also apply subject to the project being an extra curricular activity.
Deadline: 18 December 2015 | Apply

Edge Fund

(short deadline!) Edge Fund supports those taking action for a just, equitable and sustainable world. Funding is available for work that challenges abuses of power and aims to bring an end to the systems that cause injustice. This could be the economic system, political system, or any system that discriminates against people based on their identity or background (eg class, ability, gender, race, nationality, religion, sexuality, age or other factors)
Deadline: 25 October 2015 | Apply

Morrisons Foundation

The Morrisons Foundation provides grants towards projects undertaken by registered charities undertaking projects with the aim of improving people’s lives They is no limit to how much you can apply for, although the project must benefit people in the UK. It also supports Morrisons colleagues' fundraising by match funding their efforts pound for pound ­ up to £500­ twice a year.

Further Information
CAS members can sign up to receive our monthly Funding newsletter which contains many more funding opportunities and news. Become a CAS member today.

Local events & training

24-30 Oct The Lullaby Concerts, venues across Suffolk
24 Oct Wheldon's annual Apple Day, Sudbury
24 Oct Red Gables Garden Project fundraising sale, Stowmarket
27 Oct DanceEast, Dare to dance: a workshop for boys, Ipswich
27 Oct Avenues Group, Disability Focus Day, Ipswich
29 Oct Improving mental health for BME communities
31 Oct The Erasmus Foundation, Erasmus Day of Light, Woodbridge
5 Nov Procurement Training Workshop
7 Nov Talitha Koum, Quiz night, Ipswich
27 Nov The 3rd East Suffolk Partnership Annual Forum
4 Dec Community Action Suffolk, Volunteering Summit, Kesgrave

If you are CAS member and would like your event listed here, just email us!

Community Action Suffolk promotes our members' events and training in good faith and is not accountable for their content or organisation.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Welfare Bill Debate

Below is the conservative governement stance and one I back, not just because of party line. I'm never afraid to admit that I don't agree with a policy - we can't all agree on every single thing our parties do and say.

I've been told that 90% of people will be better off or neutral under the plan and as long as this is true, I'm more than convinced this is the right way to go. Many people are moaning about the plan - including the lady on BBC Question time - when they don't even know how they will be affected! So brainwashed by the mantra of the left who, after increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, think they can give us lessons on the economy - you have to admire them for their nerve.

The hysteria is whipped up by the left - just like they said before the coalition that we would push up unemployment, inflation, etc they are going to be proved wrong here too. That's not to say some won't suffer but we will be able to mitigate that, as Boris Johnson says, someone will be working on it now.

There are so many myths surrounding this and other plans like Universal credit - that'll be next but those on it say it's easier and they receive more money.

So read this for yourself and feel free to discuss - but any nasty or personal comments will  not get published, nor will any anonymous ones. If you have something to say then stop hiding and be a grown up!

In the Summer Budget, we offered a new deal for working people. It means Britain moving from a high-welfare, high-tax, low-wage economy to a lower-welfare, lower-tax and higher-wage one. We don’t pretend all the decisions we have taken were easy. But the reforms we make come as a single coherent plan.

It involves a new National Living Wage, reformed tax credits and lower taxes. It’s simply not credible to impose higher wages and leave tax credits unreformed, condemning taxpayers to ever-higher welfare bills. That’s a classic approach of thinking you can have everything, and in the end achieving nothing. 

Taken together with all the welfare savings and our tax cuts, a typical family where someone is working full time on the minimum wage will be over £2,400 a year better off by the end of the parliament.

The alternative to making savings in welfare is cutting the NHS, cutting working people’s pay by putting up taxes, or borrowing more and burdening our children with more debt.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Free workshops for parents of disabled children aged 0–18

 Contact a Family Local Support Hub –  Suffolk Hyndman Centre, Hospital Road, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3JT

15 October 2015

How and where to access funding to help you care for your child and family’s needs

10 December 2015

Deluxe Christmas pamper session Tips on identifying and reducing stress and how to make change

12 November 2015

Overcoming the challenges of getting out and about and having fun with your child

 All from 10am – 1pm with lunch provided To book call 01473 614452 or email