Counting the true cost of easy money
With the recent announcement (thankfully since reversed, amid much controversy) that QuickQuid would be the new shirt sponsor of Bolton Wanderers, I decided to do a little investigation into the cost of credit. I know a lot of people are aware that payday loans are expensive, yet so many people continue to use them.
Payday lenders are not alone when it comes to high interest charges. Just turn on the radio or television, or take a walk through the local high streets and we are bombarded with companies encouraging fast, easy money and encouraging you to go into debt.
They use headlines like ‘Getting money FAST has never been easier’ and ‘Stop worrying! Your money is waiting for you!’. They now want us to sell our clothes or sell our gold to make a fast buck! But is this really the answer?
I remember many years ago watching adverts on television and thinking that weekly payment retailer Bright House looked like a really great idea. It seemed professional, simple, an easy concept, and believe me it is simple. When I did the mystery shopping as part of my job, the woman was so polite and the process so simple, I almost bought a new cooker! Continue reading
I was honoured to be asked to come to speak to people at the ‘How many women does it take?’ event put on by Vanessa McDermott, one of the Community Development Officers in our Neighbourhood East team, last week. Women from Breightmet and the surrounding area gathered at St Catherine’s Academy, donned bright yellow t-shirts and, sustained by cups of tea, put the world to rights.
After a brief intro on the ‘power’ of social media’ with discussion of the Arab Spring, Kony 2012 and Malala Yusefzai, some people (if not all!) were, I hope, inspired to be using these channels to campaign and get their voice heard.
As the day went on, and Craig from our Income Management team faced a barrage of objections and complaints around the government’s bedroom tax, it was clear that there were some main themes and that there would be no problem in getting the women to share their opinion.
One of the sessions was working with a writer to write a ‘rant’. I’ve never seen a writing workshop and it was great to see Louise draw out the ideas and get something produced in only 20 minutes. Continue reading
“If These Walls Could Talk…” is an installation that fills a house on Greenroyd Avenue full of the creative writing and reflections of the wonderful women of Breightmet.
The project is collaboration between local women, Bolton at Home’s Neighbourhood Management Team, Bright Meadows and Leverhulme Children’s Centres, Breightmet Library and a number of artists.
Louise Wallwein (poet) has been working with the groups fortnightly since last autumn to develop layers upon layers of creative writing. Other artists involved in transforming this into the installation are: Paul Gent (wall graphics), Jennifer Gilmour (textiles), Mel Harris (sound recording) and Mark Haig (sound installation) and the Breightmet Knit and Natter groups have also been heavily involved in crafting things for the project.
The women’s groups consist of women who come together once a week to chat, have a brew, escape from the children for two hours and experience something creative (and sometimes challenging) every week. The groups are held at Bright Meadows and Leverhulme Children’s Centres and Breightmet Library and are jointly facilitated by Bolton at Home. Crèches have been provided to enable women with childcare responsibilities to participate. Continue reading
‘You’ve got a problem with your survey’ was a refrain I got a bit tired of hearing recently.
So this is the situation. I’d issued a survey to my LinkedIn connections, our Bolton at Home Twitter followers and various other people via email as part of some research I’m doing for my MSc dissertation in digital marketing communications (that’s a whole other blog post, so I won’t indulge you in the gory details now).
One question on the survey seemed to be proving a sticking point. Recipients were asked to rank options in order of preference, yet it appeared people were instead giving the options a score out of eight. Of course, the computer said “no” when the same score was allocated to two different options.
Grrr, I’ve obviously not explained it well enough. So I tweak the instructions AND send out a covering email to survey recipients with more detail, but still the complaints continued. Continue reading
You may or may not be aware that tenancy fraud is on the increase around the country. No longer is it just confined to London or the South East.
Bolton at Home is committed to reducing the current housing register and that includes recovering properties that are unlawfully occupied.
What is tenancy fraud?
There are several variations of breaches of tenancy that are classed as tenancy fraud. The main ones are subletting, not using the property as the principle home, selling the key to the property, Right-to-Buy fraud and running a business from the property. Recent statistics show that Right-to-Buy fraud has increased 52 per cent nationally in the past three years.
Why is tackling tenancy fraud important?
Tenancy fraud not only denies people access to social housing, it is also linked to benefit fraud, anti-social behaviour and, in some cases, serious criminal activity, such as illegal drug use, drug cultivation and prostitution. Continue reading