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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

My Top 15 Charities and How They Can Help!

We can’t solve all of society’s issues, but if we look around our own community there are a lot of issues to do with crime, poverty, and illness.  I don’t expect to be able to fix the world but sometimes, things happen and people find themselves in situations and they don’t know what to do or where to turn for help and advice. 

I wanted to share some information about some of the charities that I think can help and support some of these issues.  I had to draw the line at 15, because there are actually a huge amount of charities that can help you based on specific situations.  This post is a lot larger than originally planned as I thought about doing five charities, and then ten, but I just couldn’t narrow it down. 

I haven’t even began to cover charities that help those who are victims of crime, LGBT, or have specific illnesses, or just need help, support and advice because they are an older person living in poverty.  There are so many places that do offer this support and as I considered my own post, I realised my list could have been so much longer and informative – but you may have become bored if I had posted everything in one go.   The lesson learnt here is that I need to consider my posts more carefully, and consider splitting them into more than one posting over a few days. 

If you think my post is useful, or if you would like to see more of this type of thing, I might consider a charity themed month, reaching out to a larger audience.  I just want people to know that whatever their situation there are organisations that can help you – don’t give up! 

Charities are formed as they want to help and educate people on a specific topic.  The information and assistance provided by a charity can really help people in uncertain situations.  ‘Sharing is Caring’ is my theme this week, and I really want to share these charities and I will discuss briefly how they can help, and why they are important to me.

1. Trussell Trust – Food banks 
Food banks are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, especially with the cuts in benefits and job losses.  If jobs are lost and people don’t have savings, benefits aren’t instant, they take time and the application process can be difficult.  If you have a family things can be difficult so if you find yourself in a position where you can’t afford food, then you might need to visit a food bank.  I think there is a lot of stigmata about people using food banks so that they have money for smoking, drugs, or alcohol, however genuine people often find themselves in need.  Last year, my husband lost his job due to illness and it took 9 months to get benefits sorted.  If it wasn’t for the help of my family then maybe I would have needed to use a food bank.  I have made it my mission to buy something for the food bank every week in my shopping and I have been saving it in a box, and once full, I will donate.  I currently have pasta, pasta sauce, tea bags, cornflakes and blackcurrant squash.  Don’t forget, you have to be referred by a health professional, or a specific agency so people don’t just turn up and receive a food package. Imagine how difficult it would be to have to go to these people and admit that you can’t feed your family.  If you find yourself in difficulty, the Trussell Trust might be able to help.    

If I was giving to a charity, I would most likely give to a children’s charity.  This is because I have children, and children are vulnerable and need to be cared for.  I’ll admit, the adverts that highlight the abuse some children have suffered strum my heart strings.  Any charity that helps children in their hour of need – whether it be neglect, ill treatment, abuse, and illness are always good in my eyes.  The NSPCC have done some fantastic work over the years and is certainly a worthy cause.  

3. Turn2us
Turn2us is a really useful, informative charity that helps anyone in financial hardship.  They have benefits calculators online and provide a lot of information to share.  Finances are a basic necessity that allows everyone to live by being able to access food, homes, and stay warm, and people aren’t always given the right information or don’t know where to look for help.  Check out the Turn2Us website.
4.  Epilepsy Society
My husband is an epilepsy and suffers from different types of seizures.  Most of the information to do with his seizures I had to go and research myself.  As an epilepsy sufferer, he was entitled to free prescriptions for his lifetime medication, needed to keep seizure diaries to monitor the condition, yet nobody had informed us of this.  They also clarify what benefits you might be entitled to and generally help you to come to terms in living with this condition.  Charities that are based on specific illness and conditions like Cancer Research, or the British Heart Foundation, and even end of life hospice charities are extremely useful to the person who is suffering from that illness/condition and their family.  They can play an imperative part in understanding your illness/condition, and moving on if possible. If you do suffer from epilepsy then you should certainly check out the Epilepsy Society's website.  

5. Carers UK 
I am registered with my local carer’s organisation for the simple fact I look after my husband.  This is only a temporary thing as we know that eventually the tablet combination will be correct and he will recover, but in the meantime, it’s important to know that there is something out there to help and support the carer, and you are worth something and don’t have to come last all of the time.  They can help you to adapt to the changes and come to terms with the stresses and strains this can have on life and relationships.  If you are a carer you should check out Carers UK, and there may be a local charity in your area that can help too.  

6. CAB
Citizen’s Advice Bureaux is a national organisation that helps many people.  It can help with debt advice, consumer issues, legal issues, and even give advice on benefits.  This popular organisation has plenty of drop in sessions that almost anyone can go to for advice, and it’s volunteer ran.  They certainly deserve a mention as they have helped so many people with so many issues. CAB are a good starting point even if they need to refer you to another service and definitely worth a visit if you are in need.  

7.  Riverside  
Riverside is an interesting charity.  I had to research this one, but one thing I have noticed that is becoming problematic in society are loan sharks.  People feel embarrassed and afraid if they are subjected to the wrath of a loan shark, but these people never go away and they take everything.  Their demands increase and it’s time to take action – this isn’t acceptable!  If you do find yourself the victim of a loan shark then you should certainly contact Riverside.  

8. End Fuel Poverty
Another issue that seems to be on the increase is fuel poverty.  It’s a choice for people suffering financial hardship – do they heat their home, or do they eat?  If you find yourself in that situation then you should certainly check out End Fuel Poverty’s website.  

9. Child Poverty action group
As I mentioned earlier, children are vulnerable and I hate to think of children suffering.  Children being in poverty and not being able to do anything about it is awful.  CPAD does some great work to help prevent this. 

10.   Shaw Trust
The Shaw trust concentrate on helping disabled people get into work.  With so many barriers, this charity offers a helping hand and I think this is great because there should be opportunities provided, training for people who become disabled and can no longer work in their previous role.  

11.   Mind
Most people do or have suffered from some sort of mental health issue in their life time.  Mind offer some excellent counselling, and courses that help you to cope with your circumstances.  They haven’t got a magic wand and if you need a doctor, medication or a specialist, then you should always seek the assistance you need, but if a certain situation has set you back or this feeling is fairly new to you then Mind can be a useful starting point. 

12.   Lifeline 
If anyone has any issues with addiction – either drug or alcohol related, then Lifeline provides support to help you get through this.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate this is a delicate and controversial issue as some people don’t want to be helped but imagine what it would be like in society if there was no organisation to help those that do?  Lifeline offers services and support, not just the person with the addiction issue, but also the people also affected like their family.  People often consider the person with the addiction and don’t think about how it affects the family and relationships so the fact that they consider this as a whole is a great thing as sometimes families struggle to cope. If you find yourself or a family member has an addiction issue you should certainly check out what Lifeline can offer.     

13.   Freedom
Freedom is a charity that helps people who are forced into arranged marriages at a young age.  It has initiatives that helps raise awareness that there is freedom to choose and this is so important today.  A lot of people forced into this are young and impressionable, and because of their beliefs they think they have no choice.  Freedom promotes empowerment!  

What I like about respect is that they cater for men, women and young people.  At one time domestic violence charities were aimed at protecting women, and I think it’s great that the world is moving on and recognising that the issue is much larger.  If you are a person suffering from domestic violence, you can get help and should certainly check out RESPECT

15.   Homeless charity
Homelessness is increasing in the UK and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t know where to start.  Shelter can really help with this as they have emergency accommodation available if you are without accommodation immediately, but they also give advice and help people into permanent accommodation too. 

I hope you found this post useful.  What charities are available in your area and are important to you?  If you found yourself in a difficult situation would you know where to go to get help? 
The important thing to remember is that my list is by no means exhaustive and narrowing down the charities was a much harder job than I thought.  I think if I wrote the list again, some of these charities would change.  These are charities I think are important when looking at my own situation and society today, but there are so many more worthy charities and causes that I probably haven’t even thought of yet (and will be frustrated when I think about them later).
Come on, what is important in your community? 
This is just the tip of the iceberg guys – ‘Sharing is Caring’ so share your views, and your charities/schemes! 

Laters, Janet 

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