Moving to London; A Practical Companion for Irish People
A helpful, practical and comprehensive guide to Moving to London for Irish people. Published by the London Irish Centre in May 2012.
MO VING T O LONDON a practical companion for Irish people Lead Authors Jeff Moore Jeff is the Director of Welfare at the London Irish Centre. Jeff holds an MA and is working towards a PhD in the area of migration studies. Suzanne Gallagher Suzanne holds an MA and a graduate diploma in Law. Suzanne has provided second line legal advice to professionals at the London Irish Centre and the African Cultural Centre in London. Lead Researchers Geraldine Oâ€™Regan Maisoun Yagoub Designer Kelvin Farrell - www.kelvinwins.com Kelvin is an Irish freelance designer who has worked with the us on a number of projects, including the design of the new London Irish Centre website. Sponsor The london Irish Centre would like to thank Bugler Developments for their contribution towards the costs of producing this booklet. Bugler Developments have a proud tradition of 28 years of excellence in the construction of quality residential and commercial buildings for both public and private sector clients. Contact For more information about this booklet, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Contents 4 Introduction 6 Housing What to do if you are in a crisis 29 Working in London 36 Claiming benefits 39 Setting up a bank account 41 Accessing healthcare 47 Education 52 Transport in London 58 Entertainment Advice on moving to London 68 Services for Irish people 73 References Funders 19 63 Introduction The London Irish Centre has been providing advice to Irish people thinking about moving to London for nearly 60 years. Since the recession the Centre has experienced a substantial increase in the number of individuals living in Ireland who are looking for information on moving to London, and this booklet is a response to this need. The purpose of this document is to provide essential information on housing, employment, accessing health services, banking, transport, claiming benefits, and general life in London so that you can plan your move properly. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information is accurate at the time of writing; however, the first rule of giving good advice is that information should be taken from reliable sources, and so this booklet provides links to organisations that develop policy and set rates, such as the Department of Work and Pensions, Transport for London, and letting and employment agencies. We hope that the booklet will be a useful starting point in setting you off in the right direction. If you require more detailed information we recommend that you contact these agencies or advice services, such as the London Irish Centre’s advice service, directly. This booklet is the result of a year’s worth of work by skilled advice workers and volunteers at 4 the Centre. Over the last year the London Irish Centre interviewed over 140 Irish people who have moved to London in the last 12 months. We asked them about issues such as finding work and accommodation and what advice they would have for other Irish people considering moving to London. Quotations that were representative of this group’s experience have been provided throughout this booklet. It should be noted that every individual’s experience of moving to London will be different; qualifications, professional experience, relations in London and health status will affect the experience of each migrant. The information taken from this limited sample cannot be said to represent all recent Irish migrants. However, this advice comes directly from Irish people who have recently moved to London and we believe that, in some cases, this is more informative than the opinions of practitioners. Although this booklet draws on nearly 60 years’ worth of experience of providing advice to recent migrants, it also encapsulates much of what is good about the current Irish community in London. Hundreds of recent migrants were willing to provide information on their experience so that other Irish people would find the experience easier; partner organisations, such as the Federation of Irish Societies, have given their expertise, volunteers have given their time and expertise to ensure all information is accurate, and a range of Irish professionals have also provided advice in the Employment section. Special thanks must go to Mimi Yagoub and Geraldine O’Regan for their work on the initial stages of the booklet, Suzanne Gallagher for her work on the later stages of the booklet, Kelvin Harris for his work designing the booklet and Bugler Developments who kindly sponsored the booklet. with one of these agencies before leaving Ireland or as soon as you arrive in London. They are here to provide you with advice and help you integrate in London. Jeff Moore Director of Welfare The chairperson of the Federation of Irish Societies, Mary Tilki, has claimed that “convenience may encourage unplanned, hasty migration, often associated with ‘escape’ rather than a positive decision to move and thus subsequently undermine the prospects of settlement”1. Although many of the recent migrants we work with are highly educated and independent, we also work with migrants who have not planned their move to London and arrived under chaotic circumstances. Above all, we recommend that, if you intend to move to London, you plan your move as thoroughly as possible. This booklet sets out to provide resources which may assist in the process of such planning. Towards the end of this booklet, we have provided details of agencies, which are part funded by the Irish state, and which focus on the needs of Irish people in London. We recommend that you get in touch 5 Housing 6 Finding a place to live One of your first considerations when moving to London should be what type of accommodation you will need, where you want to live and, importantly, what you can afford. “ In Cork it took me a few days to find accommodation… I’m nearly a month and a half looking here… There are plenty of houses, but it’s just there are so many people that get there before you. “ Although accessing accommodation is comparable to Ireland, what struck most people we spoke to was the high cost of privately rented accommodation, the level of competition, and large differences in price from one area to another. This section provides essential information on where to live, price guidelines, dealing with your landlord, council tax and social housing. Some useful facts Private renting rates in Central London can be double those of outer boroughs2. According to Homelet in August 2011, London tenants paid an average of £1,202 per month in rent. This is an increase of 12.2 per cent compared to the same time in 20103. The average house price in London was £343,000 in March 2011, up 5.6 per cent in the last 12 months4. Nearly half of London’s households live in flats, compared to 14 per cent in the rest of England5. 7 Thinking about where to live “ “ Knowing good and bad areas can also be a challenge. They’re a lot less defined in London. South (Clapham, Brixton, Battersea and Wandsworth): Clapham and Battersea have become very popular over the past couple of years, with many of the industrial buildings being replaced by new flats. This is a lively area with plenty of bars, restaurants, shops and pubs. Clapham is best known for its green space ‘Clapham Common’, its high street and the village. Battersea is an inner-city district of South London, situated on the south side of the River Thames. Brixton has a prominent street market and a multi-ethnic community. South West (Earl’s Court, Fulham, Putney, Wimbledon and Southfields): Excellent transport links to Central London. For more of a ‘neighbourhood’ feel, head to Putney or Fulham, where 8 lively pubs and clubs meet parks and public libraries. Wimbledon and Southfields also have lots of flat-shares and good transport links. These areas are within easy walking distance of High Street Kensington, Holland Park, Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College, the Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert museums. North (Highgate, Hampstead, Archway): These suburbs have a village atmosphere, with leafy parks, pubs and fancy restaurants. Accommodation can be expensive here, however, especially in Hampstead and Highgate. Hampstead is also known for its large hilly parkland heath. “ The main difference is the choice. You can live in some of the grandest and grottiest houses on the planet. Just depends on how prepared you are to look for something good. “ London is a vast city and making a decision about where to live will ultimately depend on a variety of factors. Price, transport links and travel, and local amenities should all be taken into account when thinking about where to live. Exploring the area and speaking with locals and friends who live there may help. You may also enquire with the metropolitan police (or check their data on the rate of crime in every area at www.met.police.uk/crimefigures ). Above all, if possible, it is best to go out and explore London yourself. North West (Notting Hill, Willesden Green, Kilburn, Wembley, Camden): Camden and Notting Hill are the trendier suburbs in this area with bustling markets (Camden and Portobello Road), and buzzing restaurants and bars. For more affordable but still buzzing suburbs, try Willesden Green, Kilburn and Wembley. The London Irish Centre is located in Camden. West (Shepherd’s Bush, Acton, Hammersmith): Shepherd’s Bush and Acton are filled with affordable accommodation, legendary pubs and pub culture, and accessible transport links. The Hammersmith and Fulham Irish Centre is also located here. South East (Blackheath, Greenwich, Docklands, Canary Wharf): There are good transport links thanks to the Jubilee line, the Docklands Light Rail (DLR) and the East London line, and accommodation is reasonably priced. Canary Wharf is a financial centre. Greenwich has a fantastic market and New Cross hosts Goldsmiths College. Irish Community Services and Lewisham Irish Centre are located here. Useful websites The Timeout website provides a detailed look at some of Londonâ€™s most popular areas www.timeout.com/london/ feature/904/london-by-area map reproduced from www.comersis.com 9 Top Tip: Learn how to use Google Maps. Itâ€™s a great way of finding out about transport links and local amenities. Google street view lets you explore places around the world through 360-degree street-level imagery. 10 The first thing you will need to do is work out a rental budget that you can realistically afford. Other costs to be considered include a deposit, council tax, utility bills, agency fees and possibly furniture or essential household items. Depending on your rental agreement some or all of these expenses may be included in your rent. Privately rented housing can be self-contained or shared with other people. It is important to be realistic about what you can afford. Sharing is usually cheaper. Top Tip: Generally, moneymanagement advisors recommend that you set aside a third of your income for your accommodation. in a lodger to help cover the mortgage or rent. Living with your landlord will mean that you have fewer rights. Such accommodation is generally advertised through local advertisers and in classified sections, such as Loot and Gumtree. Useful websites Renting private properties www.rightmove.co.uk www.primelocation.co.uk www.findaproperty.com www.londonrenting.co.uk www.zoopla.co.uk Flat shares and house shares www.gumtree.com www.spareroom.co.uk www.flatmaterooms.co.uk/ greater-london Top Tip: Never give out bank account details or agree to transfer money before viewing the property and signing the tenancy agreement. Bedsits These are normally single rooms in large houses. They can be self-contained with mini kitchens and bathrooms, or living/sleeping rooms with kitchens and bathrooms shared with other people. Shared flats or houses These are flats or houses where people live together and share the kitchen, living room, and bathroom facilities. Groups of friends often set up flat- and houseshares and may advertise a vacant room when someone leaves. Lodgings in a room in someone’s home “ I went to many viewings of rooms where sometimes as many as 30 people were looking at the room and getting interviewed by the other housemates. “ Renting a property It is quite common for people to take 11 Letting agents Another popular option is to use a local letting agent in the area in which you would like to live. Using a letting agent can be more expensive. Most agencies will charge an administration fee. Before deciding on which agency to use, it is important to ask about administration charges, as these are usually fixed. Some agencies ask for a weekâ€™s rent for finding the accommodation. Others donâ€™t charge tenants, but charge the landlord. Before accepting accommodation, or handing over any money, the UK housing charity Shelter recommends that you ask the agency if it charges for: finding a place tenancy agreements and Inventories collecting the rent 12 renewing your tenancy agreement when the initial contract ends administration costs, such as phone calls and postage. Shelter also suggests that you should not pay agency fees before you have seen a property you like, as there is no guarantee that the agency will find you a home. It is illegal for a letting agency to charge you a fee unless you accept accommodation from them. They cannot charge you for taking your details or giving you a list of addresses. Useful websites Letting and classified websites www.yell.com www.thompsonlocal.com www.loot.com List of questions to ask landlord or letting agent when viewing a property How much is the rent, and how much of a deposit is needed? When is rent due? Is it due on a weekly basis or per calendar month? What are the estimated running costs of the property? Are any utilities included in the rent? Any signs of damp, any major structural work/damage? Has the property ever been burgled or damaged? Is there a Landlordâ€™s Gas Safety Record available to view? Does the landlord have a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)? If not, what is the rating? Things to check when viewing a property Are the locks of good quality and secure? Do repairs need to be carried out? Are there any broken items of furniture? Check the bathroom(s) and make sure taps are not leaking. Does the shower work properly? Are there carbon monoxide detectors present? Are there enough smoke alarms? Do they work? Is there an easy means of escape in the event of a fire? Is there any visible damp in the property? If so, what measures will the landlord take to rectify this? (Examples of measures would include damp-proofing, and providing a dehumidifier.) If you are looking at a shared property, is there a landline with Wi-Fi? 13 General rental price guidelines In September 2011 a researcher at the London Irish Centre produced approximate averages for flat-shares and one-bedroom flats in East, West, South, North and Central London using three popular lettings websites. These prices are approximations and intended as rough guidelines only. Furthermore, it has been suggested that rental prices have increased by 12% since 20116. Area East London West London South London North London Central London 14 Useful website For further information on how to prepare for viewing an apartment, check out the following link: www.primelocation.com/guides/ renting/rental-property-viewingchecklist/ Flat-share rental (per month) 1ft 1pt £450-£700 (single) €535-773 £500-£700 (double) €595-€833 £450-£650 (single) €535-773 £650-£850 €773-€1,011 £350-£450 (single) €416-€535 £400-£500 (double) €535-€892 £400-£550 (single) €476-654 £450-£750 (double) €535-892 £600-£800 (single) €714-€952 One-bedroom flat rental (per month) £700-£1000+ €714€1,190+ £1,400£1,800+ €1,666€2,142 £800-£1,200 €952€1,428+ £700-£1,400+ €833€1,666+ £1,400£1,800+ €1,666€2,142+ This booklet is sponsored by... 30 years of excellence in building quality private and affordable housing BUGLER DEVELOPMENTS LTD > Strategic partner of several housing associations > Grade A1* Premium rating with NHBC > Registered with Constructionline for contract up to ÂŁ15m and Exor to the value of ÂŁ7m > NHBC Health and Safety Gold Award winner > ISO 9001/14001 registered > Investors in People (Silver accreditation) > Experienced mixed use/brown field developer BUGLER HOMES LTD > Modern spacious apartments to bespoke executive home > Distinctive designs on each development > Excellent purchasers incentives > First class after-sales service > Land always required Bugler Developments Limited 1 Norfolk Road, Rickmansworth WD3 1JY Tel: 01923 777988 Email: email@example.com www.bugler.co.uk 15 UK average rent Image reproduced with the permission of www.homelet.co.uk 16 Dealing with your landlord Once you have found a place to live, make sure you get a copy of the tenancy agreement in advance and read it through carefully. Any questions about any specific clauses should be raised with the landlord at this stage. Landlords/ letting agents may ask you for references from a previous landlord, your employer and your bank. They may also ask you to provide a rent guarantor. Non-nationals can be asked for referees or guarantors who reside in the UK. It is important that you think about these things in advance so that you can be ready to proceed quickly once you find suitable accommodation. Top Tip: Good properties do not stay on the market in London for long. If you find a property you like, you will need to have your deposit and documentation in order so you can proceed ASAP. If you wait even a few days it could be gone. Most landlords/letting agents request one monthâ€™s rent as a deposit. This should be returned to you when you leave; however, the landlord can keep all or part of your deposit if you do not pay the rent, damage the property, remove things from the property or do not pay fuel bills. Do not hand over any money to a landlord/letting agent without getting a receipt. Your receipt should state the amount you have handed over, be clearly dated, state what the money is for, detail the address of the property and include the name/signature of the landlord or letting agent. Since 6 April 2007, landlords must pay any new deposit to a governmentauthorised tenancy deposit scheme within 14 days of receiving it7. This means that, rather than the landlord, the government scheme releases your deposit upon satisfactory completion of your tenancy. By law, if you pay a deposit to your landlord or letting agent then they must protect it in a governmentauthorised tenancy deposit protection scheme. It applies to all landlords and agents in England and Wales who have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement (the contract) with their tenant Tenancy agreement The tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord, giving you both certain rights, such as your right to occupy the accommodation and your landlordâ€™s right to receive rent for letting the accommodation. Both you and your landlord have rights and responsibilities given by law. It is recommended to always get a written copy of the tenancy agreement, as this should provide all the relevant information related to this. If you are unsure whether your landlord is responsible for a certain obligation, like repairing damages to the property, organisations such as the London Irish Centre can provide you with advice. Get (and keep) your own signed copy of the tenancy agreement, and check and note all meter readings on the day you move 17 in. It is also recommended that you take photographs of problem areas (damp, leaking taps, etc) the day you move in. Top Tip: Take a record of any damage in the property the first day you move in. This may be helpful when you are finished your tenancy. Council Tax Once you have found your property, council tax can be a considerable expense when living in London. The Valuation Office Agency website www. voa.gov.uk contains information on how much council tax you have to pay within each London borough. Before agreeing to rent a property, make sure that you fully understand whether you are responsible for paying council tax. If there is a written tenancy agreement, it should state whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for paying council tax. If your council tax evaluation appears to be high compared to other similar apartments or houses on your street, it is possible to get this reviewed. Further information can be found on the DirectGov website: www.direct.gov.uk Social Housing At the moment, the waiting list for social housing in London is extremely long, as London and the South East of England are facing a housing crisis. The 18 pressure on the government to provide accommodation means that they often will not consider demands from recent immigrants, unless your conditions are very severe. You will have to prove that you are currently legally classed as homeless, eligible for assistance, in priority need and not intentionally homeless8. In some cases, if someone leaves accommodation that is available to them in Ireland in the hope of accessing social housing in the UK, they will invariably be deemed intentionally homeless and therefore not eligible for assistance. You will also have to be particularly vulnerable to qualify. Each borough council has a housing allocation policy, which details how they allocate social housing. In deciding whether you have a local connection with its area the council has to look at whether you (or anyone in your household): have lived in the area and for how long have family connections in the area work in the area have a connection with the area for another special reason Advice services will have experience dealing with local authorities on these issues, so itâ€™s a good idea to contact an advice service, such as the London Irish Centre if you are seeking social housing. What to do if you are in a crisis 19 Homelessness If you are homeless or about to become homeless in London, the best thing to do is to get advice as soon as possible. Organisations like the London Irish Centre and Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to advise you, but again, be aware that in most cases local authorities will not have any obligation to find you housing, and social housing in London is over subscribed. If you should come to London and find yourself homeless (or likely to be homeless within 28 days), you may, in very unique circumstances, be able to get help from a London local authority. As mentioned previously, this would only be in extreme cases. The assistance they may provide will depend on your personal circumstances. Unless you are a resident in a borough for 6 months or more, local authorities may not be obliging in providing you with information about accommodation. If you have a local connection, they must, at least, provide you with information. 20 “ I thought I’d arrive and get a job, but my friend messed me around… I got mugged and all my money was taken, but going home was not an option - I’d moved to London to start a new life. “ Moving to a new city can be difficult. It can take longer than you might expect to find employment and accommodation, and London can be an expensive city. If you find yourself homeless or in real financial difficulty, there are a number of services available to you. This section explains your options. Useful numbers Shelter’s Free Housing Advice Helpline 0808 800 4444 (Free phone) The London Irish Centre’s Free Information Helpline 020 7916 2222 Useful websites www.homelesslondon.org www.homeless.org.uk www.thepavement.org.uk/ services.php Hostels and night shelters There are a variety of different types of hostels run by voluntary organisations, housing associations, councils, and private landlords. You can get details of hostels in your area from an advice centre, the council or your local library. Accessing homeless hostels is not a straight-forward process; most hostels in London will not accept you if you approach them directly. You will need to go to an advice service or local authority in order to be referred to these shelters. Most hostels only accept people who have a â€œsupport needâ€?, i.e. mental health problem, domestic violence, substance misuse etc. Top Tip: Hostels will often only accept people referred by other organisations. If you are referred, make sure you get there as early as possible. If you arrive in the evening all the beds may be gone. Hostel websites www.hostelworld.com/London www.hostelbookers.com/ LondonHostels www.astorhostels.co.uk Cold weather shelters These operate in some areas, such as Camden and Islington, between December and March and are usually free. They are typically very basic â€“ you get a bed and sometimes food. You need to be referred to these shelters via organisations such as the London Irish Centre. Bed and Breakfasts Bed and breakfast hotels are privately run hotels. They tend to be more expensive than hostels. You will need money for rent in advance. The conditions and services, such as room cleaning, may be poor and there may be no cooking facilities. You might not be allowed to stay in your room during the day. Some bed and breakfasts do not accept people claiming housing benefit. Local advice centres may list bed and breakfast accommodation in their area. They are also listed in the Yellow Pages. 21 Backpacker’s Hostels Some larger towns have backpacker hostels, which may let you pay for one night at a time. You probably won’t be able to stay in the hostel during the day. You may have to share bathroom and cooking facilities, and will probably have to share a room. However, the rents may be cheaper than for bed and breakfast hotels. Women’s Refuge Women who have to leave home because of violence or threats may find a place at a women’s refuge. These are usually ordinary houses shared by women and children. There are refuges all over the country, so if you don’t feel safe in your own area you can be placed in one that is a distance from your home. The address is kept secret to protect women from violent partners. The refuge staff can help you to claim benefits and find longer-term housing. Ring the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 200 0247 for information. 22 Day Service Day centres provide homeless people and rough sleepers with shelter during the day, along with advice, food, showers, laundry and other services. Again, advice workers will be able to recommend day centres where you will be able to get some food and a shower, and if there are winter shelters they may be able to refer you. Financial crisis If you find yourself in a financial crisis where you do not have enough money to survive, there are a number of options available to you. The Department of Work and Pensions offers a number of schemes to help those in crisis. Community care grants A Community Care Grant is a nonrepayable payment awarded for the purpose of meeting a need for community care. Grants may be awarded to people who are leaving accommodation in which they received care, to help people to continue to live in the community, or to help people on a resettlement programme to set up home. Grants can also be awarded to help ease exceptional pressures on families, to care for a prisoner or young offender on release on temporary licence, or to help with certain travel costs. They are available to people getting Income Support, income-based Jobseekerâ€™s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), Pension Credit or payment on account of one of them. improve the home, clothing and footwear, travelling expenses and certain debts. They are available to people getting income support, income-based Jobseekerâ€™s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), Pension Credit, or payment on account of one of them for at least 26 weeks. Budgeting loans have to be repaid. You can apply at your local Jobcentre Plus. Community care grants A crisis loan may be available to anyone aged 16 or over, whether or not they get any benefit, who needs help to meet expenses in an emergency or because of a disaster. A loan must be the only way of preventing serious damage or risk to the health or safety of the person or their family. Crisis loans are interest-free but have to be repaid. To apply for a crisis loan, call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 032 7952. You can apply at your local Jobcentre Plus. Budgeting loans A budgeting loan is an interest-free loan intended to help spread the cost of certain one-off expenses over a longer period. A budgeting loan can help towards the cost of various items, for example, things needed for or to 23 Managing your money Some useful information London is an expensive city. For example, in a recent cost of living survey, London was found to be the 17th most expense city in the world. Dublin came in at number 42 and Belfast at 1429. Although some things may be less expensive than in other cities in Europe, housing and travel costs are among the highest in Europe. The Financial Service Authority (FSA), the UK’s financial services regulator, is responsible for many aspects of your bank’s business with you www.fsas.gov.uk As it’s London, it was very expensive and many places needed more than one month’s rent as a deposit as well as the month’s rent itself, so you need to be very financially secure before you move! “ Cost of living Most banks in the UK ask for proof of identity and proof of address in order to set up a bank account. Basic living costs (“low cost but acceptable” budget) for typical families without children living in London (£ per week) “ “ “ The Greater London Authority states a wage earner paid less than about £7.25 an hour will be living in poverty10. Between rent and generally living in London, my professional salary does not add up and it is a constant battle. Couple with no children Single no children 2ft 1ft 1pt 2 pt 1ft 1pt ft pt Shopping basket costs 125.88 125.88 125.88 125.88 125.88 97.86 97.86 Housing 167.00 167.00 167.00 167.00 167.00 94.00 94.00 Council tax 25.16 25.16 25.16 25.16 25.16 18.87 18.87 Total transport costs 57.09 57.09 57.09 28.55 28.55 28.55 28.55 Childcare costs 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 375.13 375.13 375.13 346.59 346.59 239.27 239.27 Total costs 24 According to the Greater London Authority Living Wage department a full-time (ft) employee in London with no children would need to earn £375.13 per week in order to maintain a ‘low cost but acceptable’ standard of living11. Basic living costs (“low cost but acceptable” budget) for typical families with children living in London (£ per week) Couple with children Lone parent 2ft 1ft 1pt 2 pt 1ft 1pt ft pt Shopping basket costs 209.80 209.80 209.80 209.80 209.80 158.88 158.88 Housing 101.54 101.54 101.54 101.54 101.54 101.54 101.54 Council tax 25.16 25.16 25.16 25.16 25.16 18.87 18.87 Total transport costs 57.09 57.09 57.09 28.55 28.55 28.55 28.55 Childcare costs 240.69 115.89 115.89 0.00 0.00 240.69 115.89 Total costs 634.28 509.48 509.48 365.05 365.05 548.52 423.72 According the Greater London Authority Living Wage department a full-time (ft) employee in London with children would need to earn £548.52 per week in to maintain a ‘low cost but acceptable’ standard of living12. Cost of basic living items Cinema (adult ticket) £9 - £12 West End theatre £20-£70 Club/pub entry £5-£20 Live music/concerts £9-£50+ Chart CDs (including online) £5-£12 Newspaper £1 Pint of milk £0.60 Pub meal £6-£15 Restaurant meal £30-£50+ Pint of beer £2.50-£3.50 Bottle of wine £5-£15 25 In 2011, Mercer conducted a survey of over 214 cities across five continents measuring the cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The following table provides some information on five of the cities survey, including London. All prices are in GB pounds. “ One of the most difficult things is the cost of living… I cannot engage fully with the social and cultural side of London as all my money goes on basic living needs. “ Cost of living compared Expenditure £ London Dublin Paris Rome Amsterdam Berlin Rent of a luxury two bedroom unfurnished apartment (p/m) 2500 1050.83 1929.52 1576.25 1050.83 1050.83 Cinema, international release, 1 seat 10.8 9.2 8.67 6.57 8.76 7 Music CD 14.99 14.01 14.01 19.18 15.75 13.13 1 issue of international daily newspaper 1.8 2.28 2.63 2.19 2.19 2.63 1 cup of coffee, inc. service 2.3 2.63 3.5 2.36 2.63 3.5 Fast food hamburger meal 3.97 6.26 5.17 5.17 5.12 4.81 Milk, pasteurised whole milk 0.76 0.85 1.18 1.44 0.87 0.83 Spaghetti, pasta (1000gr) 2.38 2.78 1.73 1.44 1.91 2.78 26 This booklet was designed by... 27 Working in London 28 Like most other regions London has suffered as a result of the global recession. The employment market in London is very competitive. Qualifications, experience and attitude will all impact on your ability to find work. This section gives some information specific to different employment sectors. It also provides advice from established Irish professionals working in each sector. Some useful facts In the capital, the service sector (including finance, catering and teaching) accounts for 85% of employment, with manufacturing employing only 6%13. Youth unemployment is currently very high with one in five 16 to 24-year-olds (965,000 people) without a job14. Obtaining a National Insurance Number Top Tip: To obtain a National Insurance number after arriving in the UK, you need to telephone the Jobcentre Plus on 0845 6000 643. For more information on how to get your NI number, visit www.direct.gov.uk/ nationalinsurance. The areas of London with the highest density of job vacancies are Camden, the City of London, and Westminster15. Jobcentre Plus will then arrange an ‘Evidence of Identity’ interview for you or, in rare circumstances, send you a postal application. They will advise you of the date, time and location of your interview and what information/documentation you need to support your application. “ My advice would be to do lots of research online before you move. You can start sending your CV to companies before you move and try to arrange some interviews. If nothing else this will give you an idea of what the market is like. “ Within the United Kingdom, in order to work, claim benefits/tax credits or apply for student loans, it is essential to have a National Insurance number. Your National Insurance number is your own personal account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs. 29 What to expect at the ‘Evidence of Identity’ interview This interview is normally one-to-one, with exceptions if an interpreter is needed. You will be questioned on your background, circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number. At your interview, it will be necessary for you to prove your identity. Take as many original identity documents as you can, such as: valid passport (UK or foreign) national identity card (UK or foreign) residence permit or residence card, including biometric immigration residency documents full birth or adoption certificate full marriage or civil partnership certificate contact you, letting you know whether your application was successful and, if it was, giving you your National Insurance number. Let your employer know your National Insurance number as soon as you receive it. A National Insurance number card should be given to you once you have your number, although it may get delivered up to 12 weeks after your application. However, this card is not essential to start work; the most important piece of information you will need is the actual number. Finding employment London has a huge pool of candidates. Some people find work the day they get off the plane, but others are not as lucky. Stay patient and have a plan B ready. If you intend to move from Ireland, we recommend, where possible, starting your job search before relocating. Trades and construction driving licence (UK or foreign) If you do not have identity documents, you must still go to the interview. The information you provide might be enough to prove your identity. During the interview you will be asked to sign a National Insurance number application form. What happens next? Additional information may be asked of you after the interview. Once everything has been completed, Jobcentre Plus will 30 To work on a site in the UK you will need a site safety pass or CSCS card (see www.cscs.uk.com). You do not need this for residential work. These cost approximately £30. If you are a qualified tradesperson, you may need “ The big sites require certificates of courses taken - if you can get H&S cards or permits working at heights etc., all the better. If you do not have a driving licence, try to get it before you leave home. If you have a trade, get the certificate and ensure it is recognised in the UK. (CEO Construction Firm) “ Useful websites www.london2012.com The official site of the 2012 Olympics. www.jobseekers.direct.gov.uk Jobcentre Plus has one of Britain’s largest databases of job vacancies www.tfl.gov.uk Transport for London has been a big employer of tradespeople and construction workers. Education and social care If you are working with young people or vulnerable adults, you will need to complete a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. This can take up to five weeks and you will not be allowed to start work without it. Recruitment agencies that recruit teachers, social workers, youth workers and community workers will be able to help you apply for a CRB. Some positions in this sector, especially permanent roles, will require a full application form. The more thorough you are in completing the application the better your chances. “ Look into the differences between professional qualifications in Ireland and the UK. For example, where I work you need to have PETALS (People Exploring Teaching and Learning Styles). “ to get a specialist CSCS card, e.g. electricians need an ECS card. (Community Education Manager) www.jobsite.co.uk A good generalist recruitment site, with a large number of jobs in trades and construction. www.gumtree.com This is the largest website for classified ads in London. The construction sector of this website is good for freelance work and short-term contracts. 31 Useful websites Useful websites www.morganhunt.com A larger agency based in several locations, providing posts in social care, education, teaching, training and many more areas. www.badenochandclark.com Specialises in accounting and finance, banking and financial services, HR, project management and IT. www.guardian.co.uk Has an online directory of higher level and permanent posts in a range of different fields. www.joslinrowe.com This is “the UK’s leading recruitment agency, providing a wide range of UK finance, accountancy and banking jobs for the country’s top employers”. www.tes.co.uk The Times educational supplement. This site has the largest amount of teaching positions in the UK. Finance, accountancy and banking Finance and banking is one of the most important activities in London, and is based in two districts: the City and the Docklands, which are home to over 500 global financial institutions. In 2008, financial services made up 19.5% of London’s economy16. Employers/agencies in this sector often check social media profiles such as LinkedIn. This can be a good way to build your profile. Hours in this sector tend to be long, but employers offer competitive salaries; employers also offer good training and career development. 32 www.morganmckinley.co.uk A global professional recruitment consultancy specialising in London “ I would advise people to look for work from Ireland first and try to have as many interviews as possible lined up. Financial markets are volatile and most financial firms both investment houses and asset managers are cutting costs so it’s not easy to pick up work right now. “ www.chambeau.com Chamberlain Beaumont is a specialist provider of welfare to work, vocational learning & HR professionals (Fixed Income Manager) Information technology The finance sector is the largest employer of IT staff in London. The area of Old Street is home to an estimated 500 digital businesses and contributes £66.4 billion annually to the UK economy17. Useful websites www.jobserve.com the largest UK jobsite, with plenty of IT jobs and sub-sites for other sectors. A large variety of agencies use this service. http://uk.linkedin.com is useful for job searching and networking with people. It is used by companies to look for candidates. A lot of technology companies advertise for positions on LinkedIn. “ A lot of the good jobs never make it onto a recruitment website or newspaper they get filled by word of mouth. Go back to those worthwhile contacts- old school, college friends, distant family, old colleagues etc you never know what could be round the corner. Make sure you always have a copy of your CV up to date and ready to go. recruitment procedures. Catering recruitment agencies offer personnel to other companies, events etc. If you are a member of an agency, you will get offered freelance, one-off work. You are usually given training. Useful websites www.offtowork.co.uk one of London’s most successful hospital recruitment and training agencies www.caterer.com search engine for 1000s of jobs in hospitality. www.retailchoice.com this site provides job listings specifically in retail, from management positions to sales assistants (IT Manager) “ Retail, hospitality and catering Some employers choose to post job offers on online recruitment sites. For these you will sometimes be requested to complete a detailed application form. Other ways of applying online are through the larger recruitment agencies’ websites (sites such as www.reed.co.uk) Chain stores will usually have online 33 Recruitment websites www.reed.co.uk the UK’s no. 1 jobsite; thousands of job offers to be found in all major industries. www.agencycentral.co.uk this website provides a list of job sites and recruitment agencies in the hospitality and retail, among many more. www.monster.co.uk the UK arm of the large US jobsite www.direct.gov.uk/en/ Employment/Jobseekers The Job Centre Plus vacancy database www.1st4jobsinlondon.co.uk a list of agencies and available roles based in the capital www.agencycentral.co.uk uinformation on all recruitment agencies in London. 34 Minimum wage in the UK There are different levels of National Minimum Wage in the UK, depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice. The current rates (from 1 October 2011) are: £6.08 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over £4.98 - the 18-20 rate £3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18 £2.60 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or those 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship Top Tip: If you have a question about your employment rights in the UK contact https://payandworkrights. direct.gov.uk/ or www.acac. co.uk Salary guides Calculating what you will need to earn to get by in London can be difficult. Housing is the most substantial cost and is often more expensive than in other comparable cities in Europe. In 2011 the median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees in London was £65118. Some useful facts In January 2011, 4% of the working age population of London claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance, compared to 5.1% in Northern Ireland19. The average amount of time taken to process new claims is 22 days20. Salary guide websites www.reedglobal.com/__assets/ asset491.pdf www.paywizard.co.uk/main/ londonpaywizard www.payscale.com/wizards/ choose.asp “ “ A big difference seems to be lower wages and significantly lower minimum wage.. 35 Claiming benefits 36 Claiming benefits The United Kingdom has a complex system of benefits. However, only some are available to new arrivals, and it is important that you are well informed on which benefits may be available to you and under which conditions. In the UK you are entitled to be treated in the same way as English nationals concerning social services, meaning that you are permitted to apply for any of the benefits available to British citizens. However, this does not mean that you will automatically get benefits, and it is essential for you to be aware that you may not qualify for them after arriving in the United Kingdom. Some of the welfare payments you received in Ireland, such as State Pension, may be transferred to your bank account in the UK. Organisations such as the London Irish Centre and Irish Advice and Information Service can help with this. The United Kingdom, like the Republic of Ireland, has a complex system of benefits. The DirectGov website provides all the relevant information on how to apply for benefits and what types of benefits are available in the United Kingdom. For advice and guidance, call the Jobcentre Plus line on 0800 055 6688. It is essential to be aware that you may not qualify for all benefits when arriving in the United Kingdom. Jobseeker’s allowance One of the most commonly claimed benefits is Jobseekers Allowance. To get Jobseeker’s Allowance you must be: Available for, capable to and actively seeking work Aged 18 or over but below State Pension age Working less than 16 hours per week on average in Great Britain In 2011 the maximum a single person aged between 16-24 years of age would be eligible for is £53.45 (€60) per week, and if you’re over 25 the maximum amount payable is £67.50 (€76)21. It is important to be aware that the amount of benefit payable in the United Kingdom for certain benefits will be significantly lower than the amount payable in the Republic of Ireland. Housing and council tax benefits Once you have made the move to London, if you are in need of financial help to pay your rent or council tax, you will need to contact your Local Authority Benefits Service. They will deal with all aspects of your claim including assisting you with filling in claim forms, advising you on what information/proofs are required, what entitlement to benefit you may have or do have and how your benefit is going to be paid. Organisations like the London Irish Centre can help you with this. 37 If you pay rent to a Housing Association, private landlord or letting agent you can claim Housing Benefit. If you are the person named on the council tax bill for your home you can claim Council Tax Benefit. As long as you pay rent or council tax and you are on benefits such as Jobseekerâ€™s Allowance or a low income you can make a claim, even if you are employed, self-employed, sick or disabled, a pensioner, single or with children, out of work or looking for work. Both benefits are assessed based on either the benefit you are receiving, your income, savings, age, the amount of rent or council tax that you pay, the size and age of your family and the contribution made by any lodgers or other adults in your household. If you think that you might be entitled, you should claim as soon as possible. Housing benefit can only be paid from the Monday after the date you tell the housing benefit department that you wish to make a claim. You may be able to get your benefit back-dated if you think that you might have been entitled for a past period and you have a good reason for not having claimed earlier (e.g. because you were ill). Time limits apply, so donâ€™t delay looking into this. Back-dating entitlement can be considered if requested in writing for a maximum of six months for all claimants under the age of 60. In order to qualify they must be able to show continuous good cause of failure to make a claim at the appropriate time. When a claim 38 is made from a person over the age of 60, in most circumstances a threemonth back-date is done automatically. Again, organisations like the London Irish Centre can help you with this. You will always be asked to provide proof of your identity, income, rent and savings and provide original documents. Entitlement to Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit can never be guaranteed. Useful websites www.direct.gov.uk All you need to know about benefits, including Housing Benefit in the UK Organisations that can help with benefits www.londonirishcentre.org www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/ get_advice.htm www.irishadvice.org.uk Setting up a bank account in the UK 39 In order to open an account at a bank, building society or credit union you will need to verify both your identity and address. Different types of accounts available include: Current Accounts: A current account is offered by most banks and allows you to pay money in and take it out. You can set up direct debits or standing orders to pay rent, utilities and other bills and arrange for your pay or benefits to be paid into it. You will often receive a debit card and a cheque book when you open a current account. You may also be offered an overdraft facility. Basic Bank Accounts: A basic bank account provides the same facilities as a current account but without an overdraft facility or cheque book. Some basic bank accounts offer debit cards (such as solo or electron) while others offer a simple cash machine card. Credit Union Accounts: Credit unions are financial cooperatives owned and controlled by their members. They offer savings and loans at fair rates of interest and are local, ethical and operate in their members’ interest. Some credit unions also offer current accounts with similar features to those offered by banks and building societies. Different banks, building societies and credit unions will all offer different products and services with a range of different features. It is important to find out which product and institution is most suitable for you and your needs. 40 Why open a bank account? Bank accounts are an easy and secure way to manage your money and keep it safe. Many utility providers offer discounts if you pay your gas, electricity and other bills by direct debit from a bank account, and receiving your income (wage or benefit) directly into your bank is often much easier than receiving a cheque. A bank account also helps you keep track of how much you are spending through sending regular statements, the use of telephone or internet banking facilities and allowing you to check your balance at ATMs. ID for bank accounts Banks, building societies and credit unions operate within guidelines issued by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group on the forms of ID they can accept. There are no absolute rules. Different banks accept different forms of ID for opening an account and these do change over time; you should be able to get specific further information about acceptable documents from individual banks. Some banks are now recognising the difficulties migrants face in trying to open up an account. For example, if you’re an existing HSBC customer, you can use HSBC International Banking Centre in your home country to open a UK bank account before you move. HSBC also offer a Passport Bank Account, for which you’ll only need a valid passport or ID card, plus proof of your non-UK address, although there may be fees for such accounts. Accessing Healthcare Useful websites 41 The NHS provides the majority of healthcare in England, including primary care, in-patient care, long-term healthcare, ophthalmology and dentistry. Whether or not you can get free NHS treatment depends on your country of residence, not your citizenship. This means that as long as you are living in London you will receive the same healthcare service as any other UK national. The amount of NHS charges will depend on when the incident or injury occurred. The charges will relate to either treatment provided with admission to hospital or treatment provided without admission to hospital, but not both. Most standard GP visits are free of charge, but as of April 2011 there is a charge for prescriptions22. Registering with a GP Once you’ve settled in to an area, you should start thinking about what healthcare services you may need as a permanent resident in London. It’s a good idea to start by finding a local GP. If you fail to register soon after arrival and need the services of a GP later, you will not be able to access a GP very quickly, as you will have to wait until the registration process is finalised. Your local GP surgery provides a wide range of family health services, including: Useful websites www.nhs.uk General NHS website www.london.nhs.uk NHS London www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk (0845 4647) Round-the-clock clinical information and advice www.nhs.uk/servicedirectories Find a health service near you www.patient.co.uk Comprehensive information on health services in the UK “ “ National Health Service I have been to see the GP over here twice… I found it really strange that I didn’t need to pay. Your local GP provides: advice on health problems vaccinations examinations and treatment prescriptions for medicines referrals to other health services and social services Your surgery should be able to offer you an appointment to see a GP or other healthcare professional quickly 42 if necessary. However, if it is more convenient, you should also be able to book appointments in advance. To register with a GP, you must first contact the practice and ask to register with them. When choosing your practice, first check that it covers the area you’re living in. You can find a practice near you using the NHS Service Directory. Some GP practices will also ask to see proof of your identity, for example: photo identity, such as your passport or driving licence; proof of your address, such as a recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water or phone bill, but not a mobile phone bill) or council tax bill. Further information on how to register can be found on the NHS Direct website or at your local GP office. NHS medical card The GP practice may ask you for your NHS medical card or your NHS number. However, you don’t need either of these to register with a GP or to get NHS treatment. When you register with a GP some centres will send you a new NHS medical card, but not all health centres issue medical cards and some will only do so on request. Can I register with a specific GP? You will be registered with a GP practice rather than an individual GP. If you prefer to see a specific GP, the practice can note this in your records. However, you may have to: wait longer to see your preferred GP, or see someone else if your preferred GP is unavailable. Health checks When you register with a new GP practice, you’ll be invited to make an appointment for a health check within six months. Health checks are usually done by the practice nurse, who will ask you about your personal and family medical history. They will also ensure that any tests or checks you need are up to date, such as measuring your blood pressure or arranging cervical screening. What if the practice doesn’t accept me? Even if you can prove that you are living in the UK, a GP or dentist has the right to choose whether or not to accept you onto their list of NHS patients if you are not a British citizen. Some reasons for not being able to register with a GP practice are if: 43 the practice is not accepting new patients; difficulty in finding a GP practice. If you have difficulty finding a GP or registering with one, your local Primary Care Trust can help. You can find your Primary Care Trust (PCT) by using; the NHS Choices’ services directory or the phone book, under Health Services, in the A-Z listing of local businesses and services.You can also get assistance by calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. Emergencies A&E departments assess and treat patients with serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, such as: loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If an ambulance is needed, call 999, the 44 emergency phone number in the UK. Major A&E departments offer access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, although not all hospitals have an A&E department. At A&E a doctor or nurse will assess your condition and decide on further action. If it is not an immediate emergency, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can provide medical advice and advise you on the best local service to offer the care you need. Less severe injuries can be treated in minor injuries services and NHS walk-in centres, which can treat patients without an appointment. For illnesses that are not life-threatening, you should first contact your GP surgery. Outside of normal surgery hours you can still phone your GP, but you will usually be directed to an out-of-hours service. The out-of-hours period is from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, and all day at weekends and on bank holidays. During out-of-hours periods you can also call NHS Direct. “ I have found the NHS excellent. It did take me a while to get around to registering, but the NHS walk-in centres were always available and I have found the staff excellent. Walk-in centres “ you live outside the area that the practice covers; NHS walk-in centres offer handy access to a range of treatments. Walk-in centres are managed by primary care trusts (PCTs). infection and rashes, fractures and lacerations, emergency contraception and advice stomach upsets, cuts and bruises, and burns and strains. NHS walk-in centres are usually managed by a nurse and are available to everyone. Patients do not need an appointment. Most centres are open 365 days a year and outside office hours. “ The concrete jungle-ness of it would get you down… and the loneliness. It’s really hard to make friends and to have a life outside of college and the home. “ Emotional and mental health Moving to a new city can be stressful. Some of the individuals we spoke to said they found it difficult to make friends in London, and others said that they did not plan their move very well, which caused them stress. It is very important that you spend time planning your move so that you do not encounter this type of stress. There are a range of services available through the NHS should you experience any stress or anxiety during the course of your move to London. Organisations like Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy (Icap) have a proven track record of helping Irish people in emotional distress who are experiencing depression, anxiety or stress. We recommend that you contact Icap as soon as you begin to experience any form of stress or anxiety. Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy 0207 272 7906 www.icap.org.uk “ “ These centres deal with minor illnesses and injuries, including: The move definitely made me drink more. I get worried about it; it’s not all parties down by Big Ben. Make the most of your doctor’s appointment Tests, such as blood tests or scans: What are the tests for? How and when will I get the results? Who do I contact if I don’t get the results? Treatment: Are there other ways to treat my condition? What do you recommend? Are there any side effects or risks? How long will I need treatment for? 45 How will I know if the treatment is working? How effective is this treatment? What will happen if I don’t have any treatment? Is there anything I should stop or avoid doing? Is there anything I can do to help myself? What next? What happens next? Do I need to come back and see you? Who do I contact if things get worse? Do you have any written information? Where can I go for more information? Is there a support group or any other source of help? Before your appointment: Write down your two or three most important questions. List or bring all your medicines and pills – including vitamins and supplements. Write down details of your symptoms, including when they started and what makes them better or worse. Ask your hospital or surgery for an interpreter or communication support if needed. Ask a friend or family member to come with you, if you like. During your appointment: Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand. For example, ‘Can you say that again? I still don’t understand.’ If you don’t understand particular 46 words, ask for them to be written down and explained. Write things down, or ask a family member or friend to take notes. Before you leave your appointment: Check that... You’ve covered everything on your list You understand, for example ‘Can I just check I understood what you said?’ You know what should happen next – and when. Write it down. Ask... who to contact if you have any more problems or questions; about support groups and where to go for reliable information, and; for copies of letters written about you – you are entitled to see these. After your appointment, don’t forget the following: Write down what you discussed and what happens next. Keep your notes. Book any tests that you can and put the dates in your diary. Ask... ‘What’s happening if I’m not sent my appointment details?’ and ‘Can I have the results of any tests?’ If you don’t get the results when you expect – ask for them. Ask what the results mean. Education 47 Education in England is overseen by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The education system is divided into nursery (ages 3-4), primary education (ages 4-11), secondary education (ages 11-18) and tertiary education (ages 18+). Full-time education is compulsory for all children aged between five and 16, with a child beginning primary education during the school year they turn five. Students may then continue their secondary studies for a further two years (sixth form), leading most typically to A-level qualifications, although other qualifications and courses exist, including Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications, and International Baccalaureate (IB). Early years education All three- and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday). Free 48 early education places are available at a range of early years settings including nursery schools and classes, childrenâ€™s centres, day nurseries, play groups, preschool and child minders. Early learning is available through: nursery classes, nursery schools and day nurseries, Sure Start Childrenâ€™s Centres, pre-school playgroups, reception classes, accredited childminders who are part of an approved network. Top Tip: The National Association of Family Information Services (NAFIS) is a registered charity that supports, links, and promotes Family Information Services (FIS) in Great Britain. The NAFIS will be able to advise you about your entitlements in relation to child care, choosing child care, and what is available in your area. www.daycaretrust.org.uk/ nafis Tel: 0845 872 6260 (020 7940 7510) In London, the average cost for 25 hours of nursery care for a child under two is £118.54, equating to £6,164 per year (Daycaretrust.org.uk, 2011)23. Schools Free state school education is accessible to all children between the ages of five and 18. However, the application process is complex, and you will need to be organised to ensure that your child is placed in a safe and comfortable school. Before making applications, planning is crucial. You need to establish which schools you wish to apply to and when applying you need to establish the following: What the admission criteria are, including the catchment area When you find out which school your child has got into How to appeal if you don’t get a place at your preferred choice How local schools’ waiting lists operate 49 When applying for your child to attend a particular school, a whole host of factors are taken into consideration, including but not limited to geographical location, banding, sibling policies, religion, attainments, SEN or medical grounds. The most popular criterion is geographic location. Schools will establish a ‘catchment area’ and you need to be living within the catchment area in order to attend that school. Therefore, if you are moving to London with children, it is very important to think about the local schooling options when considering where to live. Sibling policies can be the greatest challenge to those new to London or if you’re trying to get your firstborn into a school. For religious schools, you often need to demonstrate that you are practising that religion. For instance, the majority of places in Catholic schools go to Catholics. First of all, you need to have your child baptised a Catholic, and you also need to be attending mass regularly and be involved in parish life from when you move to London. To find schools in your local area, you can use a postcode search engine provided on the Directgov website: http://schoolsfinder.direct.gov.uk. How to apply Local authorities coordinate the admissions process for all types of state schools, even if the local authority is not the school’s admission authority. You may be asked to put down one or more primary schools, and for secondary schools you can apply to at least three schools. Whether you can apply to more than three secondary schools will depend on the policy of your local 50 authority. Have a look on your local authority website. Further education Many London institutions offer a variety of higher and further education courses. Most of them are not free to over 19 year olds, but the British government offers a range of benefit options to students, depending on your circumstances. The UK’s Further Education (FE) system includes the next steps after the compulsory stage of secondary school - in short, sixth forms and colleges and offers a range of qualifications including A-levels, NVQs, vocational and training courses and apprenticeships. Apprenticeships involve balancing work with study and can be a way of entering a particular occupation or continuing into Higher Education. They can last 1-4 years. For further information or to search and apply for apprenticeships, visit the national apprenticeships website, www.apprenticeships.org.uk. All vocational qualifications can be accessed through a range of learning providers or through your current job. To search for courses online you can use the Next Step course search. A-levels and certain vocational qualifications can help you gain entry into university, provided you meet the individual requirements for your degree, but they usually require you to have some form of prior qualification. To find institutions offering a range of courses all over the UK, use the Next Step online course search at https:// nextstep.direct.gov.uk. Universities offer foundation degrees, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees/diplomas and research degrees. Historically, all undergraduate education was mostly state-financed, with a small student contribution called top-up fees, however fees of up to £9,000 per annum will be charged from October 2012. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is the British admission service for students applying to university and college. As nearly all British higher education institutions are members of UCAS, all those wishing to study for undergraduate degrees in the UK must apply through UCAS. This applies to all categories of applicants - regardless of whether qualifying as a home student (generally British and EU students) or as an overseas student (find out more at www.ucas.com). The UK government gives out loans to university students that cover tuition and living costs, not including art foundation students. These have to be paid back with interest once you’ve completed your studies, but only once you are earning £21,000 a year or more. If you have not been living in England for the past three years, you may have to apply for student finance through your regional organisations. The DirectGov Student Finance page for foreign students can provide you with more information on how to do this. Useful websites www.education.gov.uk The Department of Education is responsible for education and children’s services in the UK. www.educationuk.org The official British Council website for international students looking for courses or to studying in Britain. www.studylondon.ac.uk Official website for universities in London www.london.ac.uk University of London is the largest contact teaching university in the United Kingdom and one of the largest universities in Europe. It comprises 19 colleges and 12 institutes. www.londoncolleges.com A website for the Association of Colleges London Region. It was set up to provide an easy route to finding out about the opportunities on offer at London Colleges. www.educatelondon.co.uk Course listings, guides and reviews. 51 Transport in London 52 London transport consists of an extensive bus system, a tram system in some less central areas and an intricate and wide-spread tube network that includes the Underground, the DLR and the London Overground. When planning your journey in London, it is best to first consult the Transport for London website to establish the best route and find out whether there are any planned closures or any delays. “ Top Tip: Learn how to use www.tfl.gov.uk, it is an essential tool for Londoners. Learning to use transport like TfL is really important. I spend so much time travelling, I need to know how things work… If the tube is down it really affects my day. “ Oyster Cards The most widely used travel pass in central London is currently the Oyster card. This is a plastic smartcard that provides discounted rates and can be used instead of paper tickets on London’s buses, tube, trams, DLR, London Overground and National Rail Services. You can also use your Oyster card to get the pay as you go fare on Thames Clippers boat services by showing your Oyster card when buying your ticket. Then, you are likely to explore the city in your ﬁrst week, so the cheapest option is a weekly travelcard for zones 1 to 4. This gives you unlimited access to the travel network. As soon as you settle in, you can save money by using an Oyster card, which you can buy at most tube stations or offlicence cafés. You swipe the card at the beginning and end of each journey and the system works out the best rate and deducts it from your pre-paid balance. Oyster cards don’t work on all forms of transport. They will not work on some national rail services. Getting your Oyster card There are many different ways of buying and adding credit to your Oyster card: Once you get a UK address you can use Oyster online: www.tfl. gov.uk/oyster Use an Oyster ticket stop You can use one of the city’s six centrally located London travel information centres You can go to a tube station and almost all train stations A £5 returnable deposit is charged when you obtain an Oyster card When you ﬁrst arrive at the airport, buy a single tube ticket to your destination. 53 The Tube The tube is the fastest, easiest and most tightly-packed way to get from zone to zone. It has over 270 stations and 400 kilometres of track, of which about 55% is above ground. Recently, over one billion passenger journeys were recorded in a year. Rush-hour means time to get up close and personal with your fellow travellers. However, at any other time of day it’s a pretty easy ride. Some lines are faster than others and there are always upgrades and improvements being made across the network, so delays and reroutes are common. How to use The Tube Make sure you buy a ticket as you will get fined £20 if you don’t have one. Remember, even if you can get in at one station without a ticket, you’ll need one at the other end. Once you’ve bought your ticket, you’ll need to put it through the machine to 54 get through the barriers. If you’re just starting your journey, the ticket will come through and you’ll need to pull it from the top of the machine for the barriers to open. If you’ve got a single or return ticket and are at the end of your journey, the machine will retain the card and the barriers will open automatically. All travelcards will be fed back to you to use again. Oyster cards have to be touched on the reader at the start and end of your journey. The Underground services usually run from around 4.30am to 1am (with shorter services on weekends). Each station should list their ﬁrst and last train times for the day. If for some reason your ticket doesn’t open the barriers or if you have luggage, there are TfL attendants to help you. It’s illegal to buy tickets from ticket touts. National Rail National Rail trains depart from key stations throughout London, taking you out of London or to areas within London which the tube doesn’t serve. You can use your travelcard if you’re within your zones, or buy an extension before you start your journey. Main BR terminals include Waterloo, Paddington, King’s Cross, Victoria and Charing Cross. www.nationalrail.co.uk Buses London’s bus network has over 8,000 buses and 700 bus routes. Although buses mostly take longer than the tube, they cover areas the tube doesn’t serve and some routes have a 24-hour service. Night buses run from midnight to 6am and have the letter ‘N’ before the bus number. Bus tickets can be bought with cash on board most buses. Otherwise, pre-purchase your ticket from a ticket machine by the bus stop or from a ticket retailer. Bus fares are simple – all fares cost £2.30 (cheaper with an Oyster card or bus pass). But be warned: evading fares is taken very seriously. The national bus and coach system is very good with most long-distance bus trips leaving from the Victoria Coach Station, which is situated near the Victoria Train Station. www.nationalexpress.com Black cabs These vehicles and drivers have a good reputation. They’re a bit more expensive than public transport, but can carry ﬁve passengers and are economical if there are a few of you. The meter is clearly visible so you can keep watch of your fare. Unoccupied black cabs have the yellow light on their roof illuminated. All cab drivers and cars must be licenced under strict regulations – they must display their registration number clearly. Mini cabs/Private hire operators These are independent taxi operators that run throughout London. Make sure you agree to the fare in advance as there isn’t a meter. It’s cheaper than a black cab, but you can’t hail one on the street – it’s illegal. You have to either call a licenced operator or go to the company’s ofﬁces. All minicab operators must be licenced by the Public Carriage Ofﬁce and strict regulations have been introduced to licence all drivers and cars. To check if a company is licenced, visit www.tﬂ .gov.uk/pco. Cars and driver’s licences Having your own car in London is an absolute luxury as it can incur more hassle and expense than it’s worth. Renting a car for a weekend can be a good way to get out and explore the country. Policies vary with relation to age restrictions. After you’ve been in the UK for one year you’ll have to apply to exchange your driver’s licence for a UK 55 driver’s licence. If you’ve been in the UK for over a year and are caught driving without a UK driver’s licence, you are breaking the law. Use your local post ofﬁce to get the application form D1 and send it in with required documents and payment (about £50) to the DVLA, Swansea, SA6 7JL. They will require your current driver’s licence, which they will send back to the authority that licensed you. When you return home, you can regain your original driver’s licence. Also see www.dvla.gov.uk/drivers. Congestion charge The London congestion charge came into effect to ‘help get London moving’. This means that every vehicle that enters a speciﬁed central London boundary from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) will have to pay a daily £8 charge. Cycling In July 2010, TfL and Barclays Bank launched a new cycle hire scheme for Londoners. Anybody with a credit or debit card can make use of the 400 docking stations, positioned in 9 central London boroughs. This scheme is mostly advisable to casual bicycle users looking to make short journeys. You will firstly need to pay an access fee before hiring the bike (£1 for 24 hours, £5 for 7 days). Access can either be purchased online (TfL website), by phone (0845 026 3630) or at the docking station. You will then be charged a steadily increasing usage charge depending on the length of your 56 journey. However, the first 30 minutes of hire are free. You need to be at least 14 to use one of the bikes (on someone else’s access) and 18 to buy access. You are also only allowed to hire a bike for a maximum of 24 hours at a time or you will be fined a hefty charge of £150. If you want to be more than just a casual user, you can become a member of the scheme and get access to the £45 annual membership, a cheaper option if you plan to use the bikes regularly. Another option for keen cyclists is purchasing a foldable bicycle, which has the advantage of being allowed on any London transport. These can come in the price range of £100-£300+. Useful websites Transport for London price guide www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416. aspx Tfl all Fares. www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/tickets/ faresandtickets/farefinder/ current/default.aspx Tfl fare finder. New TFL fares from 2 January 2012 Travelcards Oyster pay as you go Peak single Offpeak single Peak price cap Offpeak price cap £4.30 £2.00 £2.00 £8.40 £7.00 Zones 1-2 £4.30 £2.00 £2.00 £8.40 Euston Zone 2 £4.30 £2.00 £2.00 £8.40 Zones 1-3 £4.30 £3.10 £2.60 Euston Zone 3 £4.30 £2.90 £2.60 Zones 1-4 £5.30 £3.60 Euston Zone 4 £5.30 Zones 1-5 Day offpeak 7Day Monthly Annual £8.40 £7.00 £29.20 £112.20 £1,168 £7.00 £8.40 £7.00 £29.20 £112.20 £1,168 £7.00 £8.40 £7.00 £29.20 £112.20 £1,168 £10.60 £7.70 £10.60 £7.70 £34.20 £131.40 £1,368 £10.60 £7.70 £10.60 £7.70 £34.20 £131.40 £1,368 £2.60 £10.60 £7.70 £10.60 £7.70 £41.80 £160.60 £1,672 £3.30 £2.60 £10.60 £7.70 £10.60 £7.70 £41.80 £160.60 £1,672 £5.30 £4.40 £2.90 £15.80 £8.50 £15.80 £8.50 £49.80 £191.30 £1,992 Zone 2 only £4.30 £1.50 £1.40 £8.40 £7.00 £8.40 £7.00 £22.00 £84.50 £880 Zones 2-3 £4.30 £1.50 £1.40 £10.60 £7.70 £10.60 £7.70 £22.00 £84.50 £880 Zone Cash Zone 1 only Day anytime 57 Entertainment 58 London is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, and welcoming city and there is no end to the opportunities that living here can give you. Museums and galleries London is a culture lover’s paradise. The city is teeming with hidden jewels and world-famous galleries and museums, many of which have free admission. For fans of art and history The British Museum is unmissable, with frequently changing exhibitions ranging from Picasso to Ancient Egypt on top of its already fascinating permanent collections (www.britishmuseum. org). Other essential visits include the TATE Modern on the River Thames for its extraordinary array of contemporary art (www.tate.org.uk/modern) and The National Gallery for its equally impressive range of artwork (www. nationalgallery.org.uk). Visit South Kensington and Exhibition Road and you’ll find the Natural History Museum (www.nhm.ac.uk), the Science Museum (www.sciencemuseum.org. uk) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (www.vam.ac.uk), all within a few metres of each other for a day packed with learning and entertainment. Festivals and events Film, design, ice sculpture and mime - London has a multitude of festivals taking place throughout the year. Although these are constantly changing and being replaced by others, there are some annual big ones that can’t be missed. The Notting Hill carnival (www. thenottinghillcarnival.com) takes place every August bank holiday weekend in the streets of London, W11. This event welcomes over a million visitors every year, making it the largest street festival in Europe. It began in 1964, allowing the city’s Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. Each year, the streets are filled with hundreds of Caribbean food stalls, steel bands, static sound systems and amazing floats and performers. There are quite a few music festivals that take place annually in the capital, mainly around summertime. Hyde Park typically hosts the biggest ones, along with single concerts. Well-known summer music fests are Wireless (www. wirelessfestival.co.uk) and Hard Rock Calling (www.hardrockcalling.co.uk), with world-famous performers taking to the stage every year. Most religious festivals, as well as many other regular and one-off events are celebrated in London’s most famous public venue: Trafalgar Square. Anyone can join in the huge festivities held in honour of Chinese New Year, Christmas, Eid and of course St. Patrick’s Day. 59 Wimbledon is known throughout the world as the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. The famous grass courts are located in south west London and for two weeks each late June/early July welcome hundreds of tennis players and thousands more visitors from around the globe. You can try getting a ticket through the public ballot held early on in the year, but you are not guaranteed to be successful. A large number of visitors, however, choose to spend hours queuing at the gates on the day, or even overnight, if looking to get show tickets. The equally renowned London Marathon (www.virginlondonmarathon.com) has taken place in the capital since 1981. With more than 35,000 runners every spring, this sporting event is one of the top five world marathons and is televised in more than 150 countries. For the best up-to-date news of what’s going on in London, the Time Out London magazine provides excellent weekly info at £2.99 per issue. The London Irish Centre provides one of the largest Arts and cultural programmes for Irish people in London. At our ‘home away from home,’ you can learn Irish music or dance, watch Irish films and attend regular social events. You can also brush up on your Gaeilge at the UK’s largest Irish language department. The centre also hosts the UK’s largest Irish music and dance festival every summer. We can find out more at www. londonirishcentre.org. Return to Camden Town Festival (www. returntocamden.org) - This is the UK’s flagship traditional Irish music, song and dance festival. Held over ten days in October at the London Irish Centre and other venues in Camden, it boasts some of the top traditional players, singers and dancers from the UK, Ireland and the US, entertaining and offering lessons in a programme of concerts, céilís and workshops for adults and children at all levels. Parks Irish events in London St Patrick’s Day (www.london.gov.uk/ stpatricksday) - Organised by the Mayor of London’s office every March, this is a free family day out that offers the chance to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint and experience all things Irish – food, dance, crafts, culture and music – with a huge parade of floats, dancers and musicians. More events are held in Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square – where the famous fountains spout green water for the day! 60 London has many famous and beautiful parks for you to explore when looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Centrally located and bordered by the Bayswater, Kensington and Mayfair areas, Hyde Park is the one of the biggest and most well-known of the city’s parks (www.royalparks.gov. uk/Hyde-Park). Famous for housing the celebrated speaker’s corner, this huge open space can provide hours of peacefulness and tranquillity in the heart of the capital. Another of London’s royal parks, Regent’s Park (www.royalparks.gov. uk/The-Regents-Park), is the location of Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens, making springtime here a truly memorable site. It’s also ideal for duck-feeding and playground sessions for the little ones, a pleasurable boat ride on the lake or a visit to London Zoo. Slightly smaller than Hyde Park, its summertime rush of picnickers takes away some of the stillness and calm that can be found at other times of the year. At the Northern edge of central London lies Hampstead Heath, a haven of English countryside teeming with wildlife. This spectacular stretch of secluded woods, open fields and swimming ponds has an amazing atmosphere created by the multitude of appreciative visitors, youths and happy families. Richmond Park (www.royalparks.gov. uk/Richmond-Park) is the city’s largest park, situated 30 minutes south west of central London. This truly amazing spread of land encompasses dense forest, century-old oaks, grassy plains and scenic hills. From here you can enjoy unique panoramic views of the city and find yourself surrounded by the famous red and fallow deer introduced by Charles I. Virtually unchanged since the 17th century, this is the perfect destination for a family day-trip or picturesque get-away. Sports and leisure If you want to make sure you’re keeping active while living in the capital, there are luckily many options to choose from. There are many gyms and leisure centres you can join as a member or casual visitor, all of them varying in quality and price. Most have pools and gym equipment while some also include spa and other facilities such as climbingwalls. Here you can also find a variety of group courses, and these exercise clubs are often available in colleges and centres for adult learning. If you prefer independent work-outs, there are plenty of parks to go running in, and since the cycle hire scheme (www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling) was introduced cycling has also become a very popular way for Londoners to keep in shape. Londoners are also encouraged to walk as much as possible, which should be relatively easy in such a compact city as you can usually find 61 most necessities just a stone’s throw away. For those interested in sports, London is home to many football clubs including Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. Cricket is also huge in England, with Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. John’s Wood being renowned as the ‘House of Cricket’. There are also certain Irish sports organisations located in London. Here are some of them: There are also certain Irish sports organisations located in London. Here are some of them: sportsmen and women of all ages. For more information you can visit their website. www.londongaa.org London Irish Rugby Club This famous rugby club plays home matches at the Madejski stadium in Reading, about 30 minutes west of London. For fixtures and a great history of the club, visit the website. www.london-irish.com Tara Gaelic Football Club The club’s seniors’, ladies’ and minor’s Gaelic football teams train at Northolt Rugby Ground in Greenford and Elthorne Road Recreation Ground in Kingsbury. Check the website for training times. www.taragfc.co.uk Kilburn Gaels The Kilburn Gaels is a hurling club that trains in Cricklewood and Highgate depending on what level you play at. Check the website for venue details and dates. www.kilburngaelshurlingclub.org Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) The association promotes and organises traditional Irish sports and competitions, with teams and clubs involving 62 Advice on moving to London 63 What recent migrants say... “I’d get more advice about where to live and how much rent to pay.” “I would advise you to start looking for a job as soon as possible. Research first the best areas to live in. I would also say that you will be surprised how many people won’t be able to understand your accent here! If I was to move again, I would have started saving money sooner so I would have less worry once I got here.” “I would save as much money as possible. Setting-up costs can run between £3,500-£5,000 (6 weeks’ deposit required by most rental agencies). Do a rekey mission for where you think you would like to live before moving - a narrowed down search is better than a broad one and public transport is well connected to most areas. Be prepared for a change in pace - London can be draining at first. The first task when arriving in London is to set up a National Insurance interview. You will need the NI number to set up a bank account. I would also say the best time of year to move is mid-year. We moved in January and it was miserable!” “Travel over for interviews and secure a job first as it is almost essential to securing accommodation.” “Research the areas you might live in in advance of moving over, and have temporary or short-term accommodation arranged for a month or more.” 64 “Fly over for interviews. Most companies will pay for your interview expenses, so make sure you have a job before you move. Hard lesson learnt, I thought it would be easier. I was paid to fly over and attend interviews but didn’t get the jobs. I should have waited before moving. Have somewhere to stay, even if it’s a friend or cousin, before you arrive.” “I think I would advise someone to look for accommodation well in advance. This was a mistake I made, and left me in the position of having to look in my first few weeks of a new job which was extremely stressful.” “Don’t go unless you have a job sorted first and don’t commit to living somewhere until you have moved over and got your bearings. Also be aware of water charges and council tax that you don’t have to pay at home.” 65 What advice professionals say... “Before deciding on emigration to the UK there are a number of issues to consider. The most important is accommodation: a person on an average income can expect to spend 30-40% of their income on rent. It is advisable to source employment before arriving in the UK, but where this is not possible, it is advisable to have enough savings for a month’s deposit and month’s rent up front. People with limited means are advised to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) immediately upon arrival. We advise people to apply for benefits for several reasons: it will generate official proof of address which is necessary to obtain a National Insurance number (PRSI equivalent) and a bank account; it entitles the claimant to Housing Benefit (Rent Allowance) and Council Tax Benefit; and it entitles the claimant to free prescriptions. For those moving to the UK for reasons other than to work, it is important to bear in mind that except in certain exceptional cases, you will not be eligible for social housing and will be deemed intentionally homeless by local authorities if you have left a home in Ireland that was available to you. Therefore, having a deposit and rent up front is imperative to access accommodation in the private housing sector. Welfare benefits in the UK are significantly less generous than in Ireland. A typical JSA claimant over the age of 25 years can expect to receive £67.50 per week. Families with dependent children will be entitled to claim child benefit, tax credits and free school meals. Advice on other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (Incapacity), Disability Living Allowance, Pensions, Attendance Allowance, Carers Allowance, premiums, grants and loans is available at our drop-in Advice Service in Camden.” (Advice Manager) 66 “Investigate as much as possible aspects of your move. There is no excuse to not do this, with easy Internet access. Investigate job opportunities, areas, the cost of living, and the cost of private rented properties. Work out how much the move will cost, and how long you can afford to live without work.” (Advice Worker) “People should consider giving themselves a deadline, as money will not last long in this city. Make sure to be computer literate - it is no longer a bonus, it is an absolute essential.” (Advice Worker) “Coming to London is a big step and something that should be given a lot of consideration. I would also advise that it is not as easy as some people seem to think to access social housing, and consequently you need to ensure that you are able to cope with the rent and deposit in advance, or if you are likely to qualify for housing benefit/local housing allowance you must be in a position to cover any shortfall. I would also advise you to bring as much money with you as possible and also as many ID as possible. I would point out that if you are entitled to benefits, it can take a little while before you receive payment so you should try to come prepared for this too.” (Advice Worker) “If you have friends or family in the city, make use of them. They will be a help in some way, even if it is experience, knowledge, and awareness.” (Advice Worker) 67 Services for Irish people in London 68 The London Irish Centre learn Irish music or dance, watch Irish films and attend regular social events. You can also brush up on your Gaeilge at the UK’s largest Irish language department. The centre also hosts the UK’s largest Irish music and dance festival every summer. The London Irish Centre 50-52 Camden Square London NW1 9XB 020 7916 2222 firstname.lastname@example.org www.londonirishcentre.org The London Irish Centre is the largest centre for Irish people outside Ireland. The centre provides legal advice on housing, welfare benefits, debt, returning to Ireland and independent living, as well as regularly carrying out events and activities surrounding Irish art and culture. The centre provides support to individuals looking for employment, counselling services, activities for individuals with poor mental health and alcohol aftercare services. LIC provides a wide range of services to older Irish people and has one of the largest volunteering programmes in central London. Safestart Safe Start Foundation strives to alleviate poverty and improve people’s lives through the holistic provision of accommodation, housing advice, employment training and brokerage. 1 Bridgehill Close, Wembley Middlesex HA0 1EP 020 8900 0001 email@example.com www.safestart.org.uk As well as being a welfare service, the London Irish Centre has been a hub of social and cultural activity for the Irish community in the city for over 50 years. At our ‘home away from home,’ you can 69 www.icap.org.uk Immigrant counselling & Psychotherapy Other services for Irish people in London Irish support & advice service Lewisham Irish Community Centre Hammersmith & Fulham Irish Centre Information and advice on a wide range of issues, including housing and benefits. Outreach and social support for families and individuals. Full cultural and social programme. Blacks Rd W6 9DT Tel. 0208 7410466 Irish Community Services (Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham) Irish Community Services provide a range of services and opportunities for the Irish community in Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham. Services include advice and advocacy, carersâ€™ support, elders outreach, lunch clubs, floating support worker and volunteer opportunities. 1-4 Beresford Square Beresford Street Woolwich SE18 6BB 020 8854 4466 www.irishcommunityservices.org The Irish Embassy in London www.embassyofireland.co.uk 70 Information and advice on housing, benefits and a wide range of other issues. Social and cultural events, including a pensioners group. Also, Irish Youth Cafe and Support Project. 0208 695 9608 firstname.lastname@example.org www.lewisham-irish.org Haringey Irish Cultural and Community Centre Information and advice on a wide range of issues, help with employment and training. Also social club. Pretoria Rd Tottenham N17 8DX Tel. 0208 8853490 [advice and information] 0208 3651125 Cricklewood Homeless Concern CHC is a voluntary sector charity working with single homeless people in Brent and surrounding boroughs. We offer a range of basic and specialised services from hot meals and washing facilities to advice, counselling, identifying suitable accommodation, resettlement and outreach work. We rely on a range of funders and our local community to support our work. 60 Ashford Road London NW2 6TU ph. 020 8208 1608 fx. 020 8830 5637 email@example.com www.chc.org.uk Brent Irish Advisor Service Information and advice service offering advice on housing, referrals, accessing benefits, and with many other issues affecting the Irish community. Also housing outreach support. The BIAS Community Service works with children, families, and the elderly, including daycare. The Old Library Building Willesden Green Library Centre 95 High Rd Willesden NW10 Tel. 0208 459 6655 Irish Chaplaincy in Britain www.irishchaplaincy.org.uk Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith www.irishculturalcentre.co.uk Luton Irish Forum www.lutonirishforum.org Irish networks in London The Federation of Irish Societies (FIS) The Federation of Irish Societies (FIS) is the national representative body for the Irish in Britain. Working together with our 150 Irish cultural and community members FIS endeavors to raise the profile and contribution of the Irish community in Britain. Our mission is to achieve a confident, healthy and empowered Irish community participating fully in a multi-cultural Britain. The diversity of our membership is essential to the delivery of this aim â€“ covering activity in arts and culture, sport, Irish centres and welfare agencies. www.irishinbritain.org IIBN (Irish International Business Network) IIBN is a global, not-for-profit membership organisation which brings together successful Irish entrepreneurs and business men and women. The objective of IIBN is to facilitate greater communication and connectivity between Irish business communities throughout the world with a view to identifying and exploiting opportunities. IIBN has chapters in London, New York and Dublin. Business connections are facilitated via online activity and regular events. www.iibn.com London Irish Business Society (LIBS) The London Irish Business Society (LIBS) is Londonâ€™s most active networking society for high potential professionals with an interest in the Irish economy. Established in 2009 with the aim of 71 of bringing together the many Irish professionals working in the London area, LIBS currently has a membership base of over 1000, drawn from a variety of business backgrounds. As highlighted in a recent feature article in the Irish Times, LIBS events are organised throughout the year and offer members a chance to meet with wellestablished Irish business leaders with UK expertise. www.li-bs.co.uk London Society of Chartered Accountants Ireland The London Society of Chartered Accountants Ireland is a District Society of Chartered Accountants Ireland which is the largest and longest established accountancy body in Ireland. The London Society has over 1,200 members and our mission is to act as a professional and social forum for Irish Chartered Accountants in London. We aim to achieve this objective through various CPD events and Social Activities. Our members play an active role in the development of the London economy by working in the areas of finance, business and industry or by working in practice, offering expertise in audit, tax, accountancy and consultancy to a wide range of clients. Although many of our events are specifically targeted at accountants, we are very happy to open up others, as appropriate, to a wider audience. london.charteredaccountants.ie/ 72 The National University of Ireland (NUI) Club London The National University of Ireland Club London was founded by Dr. T.J. Kiernan while he was Secretary to the Irish High Commissioner in the Irish Embassy London, and his wife Delia Murphy (NUI Galway Graduate) on the 14 February 1929. The National University of Ireland Club London remains a very active graduate club at which newly arrived graduates in London can meet with fellow graduates from National University of Ireland franchises as well as other Irish Universities, Colleges and Institutes of Technology in the greater London area. Membership is free and open to all Irish graduates based in London. www.nuiclub.co.uk/Site_2/Welcome_ to_NUI_Club_London.html References 1. Tilki et al. (2009) http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/6350/ 14. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ business-12477563 2. Greater London Authority (2009) http://www.london.gov.uk/rents/london/private/ 15. Greater London Authority Intelligence Unit (2011) http://data.london.gov.uk/documents/glalondon-borough-profiles-key-findings.pdf 3. Homelet (2011) www.homelet.co.uk 4. Greater London Authority (2009) http://www. london.gov.uk/rents/london/private/ 5. Greater London Authority (2011) http://data. london.gov.uk/documents/focus-on-london2011-housing.pdf 6. Homelet (2011) http://homelet.co.uk/news/ article/82 7. Direct Gov 2011 http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/ HomeAndCommunity/Privaterenting/Tenancies/ DG_189120 8. Shelter (2010) http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/ finding_a_place_to_live/council_waiting_lists/ who_gets_priority 9. Mercer (2011) http://uk.mercer.com/articles/1095320 10. Greater London Authority Economics (2011) http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/ living-wage-2011.pdf 11. Greater London Authority, A Living Wage for London (2011) http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/ living-wage-2011.pdf 12. Greater London Authority, A Living Wage for London (2011) http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/ living-wage-2011.pdf 16. City of London (2011) http://www. cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_ Services/Business/Business_support_and_ advice/Economic_information_and_analysis/ Research+and+statistics+FAQ.htm 17. Daily Mirror (2011) http://www.mirror.co.uk/advice/ jobs/2011/10/06/technology-jobs-boom-in-eastlondon-115875-23471677/ 18. Office of National Statistics, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (2011) 19. Office of National, Labour Market Statistic (2011) 20. Department of Work and Pensions (2011) http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/rti/ rti_jul2011.pdf 21. DirectGov (2011) http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/ groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/ digitalasset/dg_200090.html 22. National Health Service (2011) http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcosts/ Pages/Prescriptioncosts.aspx 23. Day Care Trust (2011) http://www.daycaretrust.org.uk/pages/rapid-risein-childcare-costs-adds-to-family-finance-woes. html 13. Greater London Authority, Innovation in London (2007) http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/ economic_unit/docs/wp_19_innovation_in_ london.pdf 73 The London Irish Centre 50-52 Camden Square London NW1 9XB Tel: 020 7916 2222 (Main line) Tel: 020 7916 7272 (Conference & Banqueting) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.londonirishcentre.org 74