Issue 4 Autumn 2012
The time for nice colours
A Million Quid. To spend on money.
SPECIAL BRISTOL MAYOR’S ISSUE Who’s it going to be?
News & Reviews
Independent People’s Quarterly Magazine
Photos from camping 2012
4...Independent People gets a million quid Big Lottery Fund awards us £1m
Stuff going on at the Trinity Centre.
6...Vote for George
International artist Inkie paints a wall in our garden.
- Where are you meant to start?
Chloe reviews her support
8 - 9... Hello Peeps
Jade talks about the Youth Board
10 - 11...The Involvement Programme is back Don’t miss out - book onto the programme.
12 - 17...Bristol Mayors
Everything you need to know about the election.
Readers questions answered
Get in touch anytime... Freephone for service users: 0800 731 72 13 Head Office Kingsley Hall 59 Old Market Street, Bristol, BS2 0ER 0117 317 8800 email@example.com South Gloucestershire 23 The Parade Coniston Road Patchway Bristol BS34 5LP 01454 865 732 firstname.lastname@example.org St Georges House 101 St Georges Road Hotwells Bristol BS1 5UP 0117 927 6600 email@example.com Go to our website www.1625ip.co.uk Please donate! Find us on Facebook “Independent People”
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Welcome This is the fourth issue of ipeople. It’s Autumn. From the look of these photos you’d think we’d taken a load of young people camping last week but it was actually in June. Yeah, you remember - Summer! As you can see the weather didn’t stop them from having a ball and enjoying the beautiful countryside. Some people say staring into a horizon is good for the soul. It makes you realise how small you are whilst allowing you to imagine endless possibilities. Sounded good to us! But they didn’t sit around drinking sundowners, the group went kayaking, coasteering, surfing and walking. They learned about Health and Safety so that they could try new (scary) activities. They stepped out of their comfort zones, looked out for each other and most of all - had a laugh. All the good stuff. This issue you’ll find contributions from young people we support about things that are important to them the Youth Board, Support Workers, See No Evil and more. We showcase some of the people who are standing in the first ever elections for Bristol Mayor. There’s a whistlestop tour of how it all works, what it might mean for young people and how to vote if you want to. Hey - guess what?... The next issue will be Christmas! Time flies - don’t waste it.
The Independent People Team
INDEPENDENT PEOPLE GETS A MILLION QUID. OMG.
. It does say a million quid. What
The project is called Cashpoint. It’s a well known fact that young people in social housing and supported housing are the most likely people to struggle managing their money. Firstly - they generally don’t have a lot of it so making ends meet is hard. Secondly - a lot of young people have never had any advice or training about how to budget or where to go for help. What’s this got to do with a housing provider like Independent People? Well, it’s like this. If you’re not good with money and you don’t pay your rent or service charges, you get evicted. We’re in the business of preventing homelessness so we’re going to do whatever we can to avoid that! We’re not a letting agency, we’re here to help young people manage their housing. If that means helping them learn how to manage their money - that’s what we’ll do.
It will be open to all young people aged 16-25 in social housing across Bristol. We teamed up with other housing organisations who work with young people - like Merlin, Knightstone, Bristol City Council and with organisations who know about money like Bristol Debt Advisory Centre and the Citizens Advice Bureau. We also have links with training organisations like the Prince’s Trust and YES. Together we have loads of experience and resources to help you learn how to manage your money. It’s a skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. We also know that most young people would prefer to talk to another young person about their money issues so we’ll be training up some young people as peer mentors. They will be people who have lived in social housing or still are. People who have lived off low incomes with real stories and advice.
Look out for the adverts for Cashpoint.
Get more out of life.
VOTE fOR GEORGE! In August, local newspaper The Post teamed up with See No Evil and ran a competition for charities to have none other than Inkie, the founder of See No Evil come and paint a wall in their project. Erin, a Support Worker from St George’s House, our 25 bed accommodation unit in Bristol, entered the competition to have a wall in their garden graffed by the master artist. We were shortlisted. Sooo exciting. Then it went to the public vote. We tweeted, emailed, FB’d, BB’d, shouted, whispered and rang it out from the rooftops! And we won. We got 72% of the vote. We’d like to thank everyone who voted for GEORGE. There is now a beautiful blue haired siren on the wall at St George’s. Inkie did it in about two and half hours, with help from some of the young people who live there. They all signed their names on the wall too.
“Art is something that allows you to express your emotions. If you are upset you can get it out in a picture rather than shouting at somebody. In the same way if you are happy you can express that as well. It is very therapeutic. I am a great believer that it helps people express themselves and their emotions. “We should remember that we can all draw before we can talk.”
Inkie told the Post: “I did the outline and they helped me colour it. I also showed them different techniques they could use. There are always mistakes and I make them a lot but you can just cover them up. A few errors make it look like it has a bit of soul in it.
Jack, 18, who is known as Tolly, said: “I used to do street art and when I heard about this I was well up for it. “I wanted to see what tips I could get from Inkie and I learnt a lot. It makes you realise you can produce great street art and it doesn’t need to be illegal. It means the place we go outside to chill now has a bit of colour.”
“Many of the kids here got involved with Jack, Chantelle, Dabzz and Fay really enjoying it. Art has definitely helped me. Without art I would not have the confidence I have got.
Dabzz, also 18, added: “I wanted to get involved so I could leave my mark with Independent People because they have done a lot for me. “When I walk down Nelson Street I see the artwork and it makes me proud of Bristol. Now we have something similar here and it has really livened the place up.” Are you artistic? Do you wish you were? Get in touch with Joni or Tom if you want to be involved in the next art activity.
Let’s get messy!
After becoming homeless and living in a hostel, Chloe, 23 found a flat. She was placed on the Housing Support Register for support to set up and maintain her home. Chloe wanted to share her experiences.
Life before Independent People was hard, a struggle, confusing and stressful. Homelessness, a hostel, the whole new world of independent living, new responsibilities, running a home, cleaning, bills, food, dealing with a disability the list is endless! Where are you meant to start? It was like my whole world had turned upside down and inside out. Yes, I’m grown up mentally, been through trials and tribulations, but a new home?! No parents… no one to tell you what to do or where to go to sort this or pay that. It was a far cry from living in a hostel where the only thing I had to worry about was a TV licence and food. I found myself with a new home, new bills and rooms to decorate and furnish. As well as dealing with that I was having major surgery within two weeks of moving in. I struggled through, did what I could. I had my surgery and came home to face refusals for a Community Care Grant (CCG) and still a half empty house to sort out. Then I got a phone call from a guy called Sam. Sam explained he was my support worker with Independent People and he was there to help me deal with anything I needed help with. He helped me appeal the decision about my CCG, which I won and so was able to decorate and furnish my house. Without Sam’s help, life would be so much harder and I wouldn’t be aware of a lot of the things I am intitled to. Things I needed to be aware of regarding housing rules, unexpected bills or changes to the law & benefits that may affect me. He is there with an ear when life’s stresses become a little overwhelming, always willing and never making you feel like anything is too big or silly to help with.
Where are you meant to start?
“courage and faith”
Once I had started to get things in order and stabilised at home, Sam told me about upcoming events and groups via Independent People. This is a great benefit to me because my health issues make it very hard to socialise, meet new people and be independent to the extent that I want to be. Independent People gives me the courage and faith in myself that even though I’m unable to work due to my health, it doesn’t mean my life is over. I’m still able to live life, socialise and be a positive member of the public but most of all to myself. Independent People have helped me beyond words, they help with forms, stresses of life and isolation through illness. They have shown me that I can be who I want to be, that life is worth giving it your all and giving back to those who have helped and I cannot wait to start doing things with them. I think I can safely say that without them helping me I would be lost, isolated and most likely would have had some form of nervous breakdown by now! I thoroughly look forward to what my future holds … all because of the endless help Independent People have given me.
“I can be who I want to be” 7
Hello peeps!!! It’s Jade here to tell you what’s been going on... Firstly, about THE YOUTH BOARD The Youth Board is a group of young people, like you, who listen to what YOU have said to improve the service. We meet up every two weeks on a Tuesday afternoon. So far we are working on four things:1. 2. 3. 4.
“More than just a landlord” What other services do we provide? Improving properties Complaints and communication Peer education- young people helping young people
We put all your views together and present them to the “BIG BOARD” (the bosses of the organisation), they take it away and start improving the service.
“a group of young people like you”
The Youth Board is a brilliant idea because it’s young people who have been in the same situation as you. You will be listened to and not judged. And it’s young people who present it to the board for you. Secondly, I am also part of the PEER SUPPORT STEERING GROUP. We meet up every two weeks on a Thursday afternoon. The Peer Support Group are young people who are there for you, to share their experiences, to help you. They are there for you to talk to - a young person. What peer support is aiming to do is to have more accessible support for young people to help young people with their experiences from a different point of view. The idea of the Peer Support Group came from the Youth Board which actually means it came from one of you! At the moment we’re meeting up to discuss ideas about what “peer support” will be and how it will work. We have been working on understanding the roles, what training we need, getting the right information and resources. We are about to start making a flyer and peer support pack - could do with some help if you’re up for it! Also, we’re doing a questionnaire with young people about what they know about Independent People services - please help us by filling it in when you see it.
“it came from one of you”
If you want more info or if you want to join ask your Support Worker or ring Tom or Joni. You can join at anytime.
Feeling arty? Please help us by designing a logo for us!
Design a logo for the
Peer Support Group Young people supporting other young people at Independent People.
Hand it to your support worker or drop it into the office in Old Market
THE ESSENTIAL “Cup of tea” guide to the Mayoral Elections
We reckon we can tell you what you need to know about the first ever Bristol Mayoral Elections - in the time it takes you to drink a cup of tea. Off you go then..... STICK THE KETTLE ON!
First things first ... Why are we electing a Mayor ?
What will the Mayor be in charge of?
On 3 May 2012 ten English cities held referendums (votes) on whether to have an elected Mayor chosen by the people in those cities.
The Mayor will replace the current Council Leader to lead the city council and its full range of services, and represent the interests of Bristol citizens.
Bristol chose to have one. Almost a quarter (1 in 4) of Bristol’s people voted – that’s not a very good turn out - obviously too busy drinking tea. Around 41 thousand people said YES. Around 35 thousand people said NO.
Who can stand for Mayor?
16 English cities already have Mayors. At the moment the local council makes all the decisions. If Bristol had a Mayor they would be the leader of the council (Bristol’s head honcho or honchette!) – but they wouldn’t have any extra powers than the council does now. They will be Mayor for four years.
Anyone over 18 who lives, works or occupies land as owner or tenant in Bristol, will be able to stand in the election. It costs money to enter the election. So that counts some people out unless they can get their supporters to chip in! Each of the Political Parties have put forward their own candidates - so there are Conservative, Lib Dem, Labour, Respect and Green Party candidates. But some candidates are just doing it by themselves - they are called independent candidates.
Who gets to vote?
Everybody aged 18 or above, who lives in the City of Bristol, is on the Electoral Register and is allowed to vote in local elections. The Electoral Register is a list of people in the Bristol area who are allowed to vote in an election. If you’re not sure if you’re allowed to vote - call the council on 0117 922 3400
When is the election?
Thursday 15 November 2012
How do you vote?
First you have to register – you should have got a registration letter in the post – fill it in and send it back by 8th October. For more information or to ask to register call 0117 922 3400. Once you’ve registered you’ll get a “Polling Card” in the post (by November 2nd) You can choose to either vote by taking your card to a Polling Station (they will tell you where they are nearer the time) or you can vote by post. That’s the basic why, what, where and when. Now for the who...
Who are these brave people who think they can run Bristol?
We won’t have the official list until 24th October. There are some candidates who have already said they are standing. We tried to interview as many as possible for you. Dani, a young person we support came up with five questions to ask each of them. We’ve done them in alphabetical order so no-one gets upset. You can find loads more information on the internet about them. How’s your tea?
Tim Collins Independent Candidate Why do you think young people should vote for you? I want a better Bristol economically for all its residents - young and old alike. I want to provide the infrastructure - including homes for young people - cheaper public transport and attract inward investment to stimulate economic growth which will create job opportunities. What can you do for young people and Bristol? I believe my policies for boosting our economy in Bristol will benefit everyone, but I am concerned that certain Govt. policies discriminate against the young, especially the minimum wage rates, rules for welfare benefits and proposals for restricting housing provision to the under 25s. I will seek to mitigate the effects of these policies in Bristol. What is your experience of homelessness? I have experienced homelessness on two occasions, both for short periods fortunately. Once in the States, when I considered going to the Salvation Army, but a friend helped me out. In Bristol, I had to walk up and down Park Street during the night until my friend’s shop opened in the daytime, when I would sleep on a mattress in the basement. All I can remember about it, is wanting to change my socks and wash my feet. Do you think you get on with young people? I hope to think that I get on well with young people. What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? I am not a better candidate, but hope that my experience of having grown up here attending Bristol schools and spending most of my 49 years in this city, puts me in a good position to understand the needs and dreams of Bristol’s residents.
George Ferguson Independent Candidate Why do you think young people should vote for you? The voices of young people of Bristol have been ignored. I shall include young people in the decision making process. Young people need the opportunity to be heard and to help make Bristol a better and happier place to live. My Tobacco Factory and Brewery Theatre projects have involved many young people in all sorts of activities. What can you do for young people and Bristol? I shall ask the youth community to help with the appointment of two youth mayors (female & male) to champion the young people of the city. I will take their views extremely seriously. Any politician that says they can deliver for young people without having them at the heart of their plans is not being honest with themselves. What is your experience of homelessness? My best direct experience of homelessness is one of housing homeless young people from the street in our family home. We also housed Ugandan Asian refugees to act as a stepping stone to help them back to work and normal life. I have also worked with many housing associations and other agencies to house homeless people. Do you think you get on with young people? I do tend to get on with people of all ages and backgrounds because I am genuinely interested in their plight. I am President of the AYA, operators of the Youth Bus on which I have served as I did on adventure playgrounds. Being around young people is a great reminder of how adults can sometimes be boringly sensible and just too safe!
What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? I stand because Iâ€™m determined to make Bristol a better place for all. I have no political ambitions. Party politics and politicians have held Bristol back. As an independent mayor I will do what is best for Bristol and the people who live here. My real world experience, my media skills, and success as a business and social entrepreneur will help put Bristol back on track.
Geoff Gollop Conservative Why do you think young people should vote for you? The main thing is that young people should vote. Bristol belongs to young people as much as adults with the added incentive that you will be living here for a longer time. You have a lot of power in that they can help choose the person who they think that will be the best Mayor to give the Bristol they want to live in. What can you do for young people and Bristol? Young people want to be listened to and be taken seriously. Bristol needs reliable, affordable public transport; good sports facilities including stadia; an arena; affordable homes and real and exciting job opportunities. All of these will benefit residents of all ages and I believe I can work with others to achieve these. What is your experience of homelessness? I am fortunate to have always had a home, but in the last year I have visited 5 of the homeless agencies in Bristol, met with workers and homeless and discussed issues with them to help me understand the issues.
Do you think you get on with young people? My teenage children are probably the ones who should answer that question, but I believe so. Young people have so much energy and enthusiasm, and can often see solutions that adults can’t see, but also see through promises that can’t be kept. I believe in honest answers. What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? Having teenage children is a real benefit for me. I can never think I am too important because they will make fun of me, and they will tell me if my policies don’t make sense to them.
Neil Maggs Respect Why do you think young people should vote for you?
I want a better Bristol for young people to live in. I want a Bristol with full employment, so that everyone can earn a living, have a good career and look forward to a brighter future. And I want to see more housing at a price that young people can afford to rent or to buy. The Respect Party, with our commitment to Peace, Justice and Equality, is the future. What can you do for young people and Bristol? I have pledged to take only an average wage, not the excessive pay that some people at the top get. Nor will I recruit a Mayoral band of bureaucrats. With the savings I make I will take on 25 Young Apprentices to give them the start in their working lives that they deserve. And bringing back the Bristol DLO, to refurbish the empty houses around the city, will create jobs and make more houses available.
What is your experience of homelessness? In this wealthy country, in the 21st century, we should have eliminated homelessness. The Respect Party works with all sections of the community, including homeless, refugees and asylum seekers, to help bring them all into society and give everyone a fair chance in life. We can afford hostels and the help excluded people need to give them hope and a future. Do you think you get on with young people? I have spent the last 7 years working in a secondary school. My job before that was in a FE College. There can be no better grounding for working with young people than being surrounded by them all day. I doubt any other candidate can claim that background. What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? The Respect Party, only 9 years old, is not tainted by the mess that the 3 main parties have suffered with their boom and bust economics. We believe in jobs for all, in putting people before profit, in public services not privatisation. I will put these into practice as Mayor of Bristol. Lets Get Bristol Back to Work!! Bristol Deserves Respect!! Vote Neil Maggs for Mayor of Bristol!!
Independent Candidate Eric Mutch Why do you think young people should vote for you?
Because I will gift you the resources to meet your basic needs, so you are free to fulfil your unlimited potential and build the life of your hopes and dreams.
What can you do for young people and Bristol? I will pay everyone over 18, working, non working or retired, an unconditional basic income of £15,000 every year, index linked to inflation, so they are free to follow their passion in life and do stuff “just for the love of it” What is your experience of homelessness? I was temporarily homeless when I left rehab in 1995. I believe homelessness in a society with so many empty buildings is not just a travesty, its insanity. Do you think you get on with young people? Yes. I respect all young people as equals. Old people like me may have life experience to offer, but young people have the ideas, creativity and dynamism to solve the major challenges we face as humanity. What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? I am the candidate who will invest in people. Gift people enough resources to live on and let’s see what sort of society they then create.
What can you do for young people and Bristol? No one should be making rash promises for the short term. But my policies on training, investment in jobs, supporting a living wage, housing and affordable public transport would soon improve the lives of many young people. What is your experience of homelessness? I have never been homeless. But the Bristol mayor will have to really understand how it affects young people. A priority for me would be to talk directly to homeless, or recently homeless, young people before taking developing policies any further. Do you think you get on with young people? Well, I am one of the younger mayoral candidates! Many of my colleagues in the Green Party are younger than me. And I have two young children. In any case I think get on well with everyone. What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? First of all my policies, which are ambitious but realistic. Secondly my commitment to giving all people more power over their lives. And thirdly ..... I listen to everyone and think about what I hear.
Daniella Radice Marvin Rees Green Party Labour Party
Why do you think young people should vote for you?
If you look at my manifesto, you will see that my vision is for a working city that is also green, inclusive and healthy. I am the only candidate who has thought all this through in detail. And is prepared to think differently to achieve this. My manifesto is available on http://www.daniellaformayor.wordpress.com
why do you think young people should vote for you? I want to make Bristol a better place to live and to create an environment where young people can develop and thrive.
What can you do for young people and Bristol? I intend to set up the position of “young mayor” with a proper support structure and ensure that all young peoples issues are taken seriously and developed. I want to change the way politics works in the city to broaden the pool people come from to involve themselves in decision making. What is your experience homelessness? I don’t have personal experience but I have endured housing instability and lived in a refuge for a time as a child. I know there is more to tackling homelessness than providing homes but I will put affordable housing at the centre of my policies. Do you think you get on with young people? I do. I still see myself as young and I still enjoy the same things as I did when I was younger. Having a young mayor and involving young people in decisions is important to me. What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? I don’t feel comfortable claiming that. I know I have the vision and drive to be Mayor of this city but I will lay out my ideas and policies and the voters will decide.
Jon Rogers Lib Dem Party
Why do you think young people should vote for you? I have lived in Bristol for almost 40 years. I am a doctor and a recently retired General Practitioner. I know the problems faced by people, young and old, and I know how much can be done to make things better in Bristol.
What can you do for young people and Bristol? I will help give young people the best start in life, investing in nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools.Ensuring that everyone has access to education. I am also introducing cheaper bus fares. What is your experience of homelessness? I have looked after many homeless people. I have even used my surgery address to register homeless, as you need an address to get on a GP’s books. I will bring empty homes back into use, using council powers, and will push developers to build more affordable homes in their developments. Do you think you get on with young people? I am friendly, respectful and trusted.I am not judgemental. I have a great relationship with my own, adult, children and I am expecting to be a grandfather in the new year! What makes you a better candidate than everyone else? My view is that every candidate is different, not better or worse! I have skills and experience from 30 years as a GP, and 7 years as a Bristol City Councillor. I have a record of making things happen and I want to do more!
So - that’s it. Just one last thing. Did you know the Mayor’s got no bling? The “elected” Mayor you’re voting for is not the same as the “Lord Mayor” who has the fancy garms and jewellery. The Lord Mayor - Peter Main’s job is to promote Bristol till he’s blue in the face! Don’t let Bristol’s new leader get elected without YOU having your say. Remember this is isn’t all the candidates, so keep an eye out for local meetings and leaflets, or search online to get more information. Good luck and thanks to Tim, George, Geoff, Neil, Eric, Daniella, Marvin and Jon for sharing a cup of tea time with us.
Our Josh has been advising young people for years. He’s a salt of the earth, no nonsense, no jargon, no bull kind of guy. If he can’t answer your question he’ll find someone who can. Hi Josh, I smoke Cannabis and I like it, but it’s starting to affect my life. My girlfriend’s always going on at me because I can’t get up in the mornings and keep missing appointments. Who can I talk to without risking getting into trouble or just being told to stop smoking. From Jack (not my real name BTW!) Hello Jack, Most people who start smoking cannabis do so socially for the feelings of laughter (the giggles), your senses are heightened and everything seems so clear and bold. You may even feel you have the answers to most things and can put the world to rights? Over time however, these effects subside and for some users, smoking becomes “habitual”. This is where users are smoking frequently because it becomes the norm and not for the effects. Prolonged use can even make you feel quite paranoid. If you are missing appointments this could mean your use is becoming problematic. You may find other areas of your life are also lacking “get up and go”. Talk to Frank confidentially on 0800 667700 or www.talktofrank.com. Your Support Worker will also more than happily link you with local agencies who will help you make an informed decision about the levels you choose to use without judging you. Hope that helps - all the best - Josh
Dear Josh, I’m not studying or working and people keep asking me what I want to do, I have no idea what I want to do! How do I find out what I like? Martina Hi Martina, Not being at school, College or Uni, most of us feel an enormous amount of pressure, being expected to know what we want to do and pick the right course or find the right job?! This can leave us feeling anxious or lost even. There are many people who can help you look at your options. They will listen to what you enjoy, what you don’t enjoy and work out whether getting a job or building on your skills by learning is the right move. College is not like school so don’t be put off if being at school didn’t work out for you. You might just need to try some new things to find out what you like - there are all sorts of taster days around. We have Education, Training and Employment advisors at Independent People. Speak to you Support Worker who can also help you look at your options but will refer you into local agencies who can help. There’s nothing wrong with doing something else while you figure out what your real passion is. Good luck! Josh.
Post your question to the address on the inside cover, send a text to 07797801655 (Standard rates apply) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you give us your contact details if you want a personal reply and 18 remember if you have a serious concern contact us straight away.
Useful Numbers In an emergency for Fire, Police and Ambulance services dial 999 SHELTER 24 hour freephone number:
0808 800 444
SMELL GAS OR SUSPECT A LEAK? Call National Grid using a phone outside your home and then call your landlord’s repair line 0800 111999 POWER FAILURE- ELECTRICITY 24 hours 0800 365 900 Councils Bristol City Council (8.30am- 8pm) 0117 922 2200 Emergency Control Centre (24 hrs) 0117 922 2050 South Glos Council (Switchboard and out of hours) 01454 868686 Police (main switchboard) 0845 4567 000 Emergency 999 Hospitals and Health Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) 0117 923 0000 Southmead Hospital 0117 950 5050 Frenchay Hospital 0117 970 1212 NHS Direct (24Hrs) 0845 4647 GP / Health Centres 0845 4647
0300 1234 999
Useful Mental Health contacts: www.mind.org.uk tel: 0117 980 0370 www.rethink.org tel: 0300 5000 927 www.awp.nhs.uk tel: 01249 468 000 Avon and Wiltshire NHS: www.bristol.gov.uk/balp Bristol active life project 19
If you’re a Service User use the
0800 731 7213
number to contact your support worker If you need help, advice or want to talk about something that’s worrying you your support worker will try to help you or will put you in touch with the right people. There’s always someone to talk to. Check the back of your Service User Handbook for other useful organisations and freephone numbers.
The quarterly magazine for service users, friends and supporters of Independent People