Working with Villages in Palestine

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At our Branch Committee in June we heard from Lisa Dundas about the work of the Working with Villages in Palestine. We agreed to give them a donation and to let our members know more about their work. Lisa has prepared a brief blog/article below. We hope you find this of interest. Links at the bottom of the article are available for those wanting to find out more or to get involved in the support work.

Thanks

Coventry City Unison

 

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Working with Villages in Palestine was formed in August 2014 in the aftermath of the bombings in Gaza. Elaine was out in the West Bank in a village, 65 miles away and could feel the bombs dropping through the earth. Every morning she was greeted with a fresh breakfast of olives, oil, eggs, bread, milk, cheese and yogurt and she realised that all of these had come from her hosts own land. He explained how expensive goats were though, which could provide the milk, and therefore cheese and yoghurt. Elaine hatched a plan to raise £1000 to take out to buy a few goats. By December, Lisa had joined her and when they flew out for two weeks to spend the money, they had raised £7000.

They travelled to many villages and used contacts of friends of friends to meet with town councils to see where the money would be best spent and to get ideas for future projects. They ended up delivering goats and sheep to families, planted fruit trees and delivered food parcels.

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The 2015 trip grew considerably and they raised just over £12,000. They also had a volunteer who came with them to help with the project. They worked in the same areas they had visited previously, building relationships with the villagers. This year they donated a hatchery to the  threatened village of Yanoun (funded by a donation by Unite) This hatchery is to be run as a co-operative for everyone in the village to benefit from.

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They bought 10 sheep and goats (which had gone up in price considerably, now at between £3-400) planted over 300 fruit trees, including olive, fig, orange and lemon and delivered 65 food parcels with a months -worth of essentials in.

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They funded a school bus for Bedouin children from a threatened community to be able to continue their education, paid for a land survey for a Bedouin farmer to keep his land, planted trees for the Land defence coalition and invested in small local community projects, selling their produce back in the UK. They delivered presents to the children’s hospital in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, involved children in an art and photography project they are working on and initiated a pilot scheme in Irrigation systems for the garden, so people can grow their own veg.

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This year they are returning in October with an 8 strong team, with the forecast of raising double the money spent last year. Working with Villages in Palestine also have “Football for Palestine” fundraising and joining them out there on some of the projects. 100% of what is raised is spent on the ground on grassroots projects. If you want to know more, please look at the website, or Facebook page.

www.working-with-villages.com

facebook.com/WorkingWithVillagesinPalestine

Brexit and Pensions

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NB This article was written on 23rd June.  It does not give specific details on how the the West Midlands Pension Scheme, your works pension scheme, will be affected. Please see the financial press for the current situation

 

The impact on pension fund investments with a vote to leave will likely be significant. Defined Benefit funds will see deficits rise and Defined Contribution funds will fall in value and ultimately in their ability to deliver something to live on.

 

There will be a short-term negative impact on UK growth, and part of that could feed into lower growth in Europe. This could have huge implications for gilt yields which would impact Defined Benefit (DB) schemes.

 

 

The effect on yields will depend on how much the likelihood of Brexit is already priced into the market. Although it would appear to be priced in given the market has already adopted lower yield expectations, evidence of falling US yields suggests this may not be the case.

 

UK equities are widely expected to tank following a Brexit vote but again how much they fall by depends on the extent to which the risk has already been priced into the market.

 

The impact of the referendum on equities has probably been muted because the UK market is so international. More pressure on the riskier assets is likely.

 

As for sterling, which is expected to fall 10% following a Brexit vote, the impact on pension funds depends on how much they invest overseas.

 

If we see a sharp fall then we will see currency gains from overseas assets – so schemes could see a degree of currency benefit from those overseas assets they’re holding.  If overseas markets are negatively affected by Brexit, the value of those oversea assets may fall, affecting pension schemes negatively.

SHOULD WE STAY OR GO – READ THE DEBATE IN OUR UNION STREET NEWS SPECIAL

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Union Street News Issue 14 – Branch Magazine of Coventry City Unison. Read our Branch Debate on the EU Referendum.. let us know your comments and why not send us an article or review for the next issues.

Thanks

Coventry City Unison Communications

Union Street News Issue 14

SCHOOL UNIFORM GRANT QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

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What are UNISON School Uniform Grants?

In addition to our normal range of services and in response to the growing difficulties many members on low income face, a programme has been put in place that will assist our most vulnerable members with the cost of purchasingschool uniforms.

How much are the Grants?

They are one-off grants of £40.00 per school age child, up to a total of £120.00

Am I eligible?

To be eligible you must be:

A member who has paid 4 weeks subscriptions before the launch date of this programme (23/5/16)

Have a total net annual household income of £18,000 or less. [Note:By household income we mean net earnings after tax, national insurance, pension deductions of you, your partner and any other adults living in the property]. The following is not included as income for the purpose of this specific grants programme:- Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Child Benefit and the childcare cost element only of Working Tax Credit.  Responsible for meeting household bills and struggling to pay them. Financially responsible for the child/children. Not eligible for funding for uniform costs from your Local Authority.

Is there anything else that may affect my entitlement to apply?

Members and their partners must not have combined savings or, a rolling bank balance of more than £800.00. Savings of any other adults in the household do not apply.  You must not have received financial assistance from UNISON There for You during the previous six months. Applications are limited to one per household  Ensure you send all requested paperwork with the form or the application cannot be accepted

How do I apply?

To apply for a School Uniform Grant simply: Print out and complete the short 2-page application form that is attached to this post Download from our website www.unison.org/thereforyou

Contact Unison Direct on 0800 0857 857 for a form to be posted to you. Provide us with evidence of your entire household income by sending copies of You and your partner (if applicable) last month’s payslip(s), Last full month’s bank statements for all bank accounts held by you and your partner (if applicable)

Submit the form along with the completed short survey by 15 July 2016. Post your application including all supporting paperwork to: UNISON Welfare, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY.

Where can I go for further help or advice?

There is a limited amount of funding in the school uniform grants programme and once it has been exhausted no further awards for the year can be made. However if you are facing unforeseen hardship it may be possible for you to apply to our general grants programme.

We will let you know if this applies to you. For further information, please see our web pages at www.unison.org/thereforyou,

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