Home truths

IT is difficult to get to grips with the ins and outs of homelessness across the UK. Policy is devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and data is difficult to collect. But last week the National Audit Office (NAO) drew attention to the Government’s tackling of the issue in England.
A report by the NAO noted that ‘homelessness in England in each of its various forms has increased in recent years’.

Release from prison can be followed by rehabilitation

A FEW months ago Riana Taylor received a phone call from someone saying that she should look at a copy of a newspaper. The paper was carrying a story about someone who had been receiving help through a Circle of Support and Accountability. Riana, the chief executive officer of Circles UK,

Help is at hand

AFTER the Grenfell Tower disaster, thousands of people responded with donations of food, clothing, bedding and other basic items for homeless survivors.

A Salvation Army church near to the tower was the recipient of a staggering number of donated clothes. The British Red Cross said it was handling clothes that had been donated to various groups and that those items had grown to a size that would cover three football pitches.

Did you hear about the reformation?

IN the opening scene of A Monk’s Tale, three beaming actors stride onstage and, through a jolly song, issue the audience with the following warning: ‘Don’t start an argument and don’t mention religion.’ But then, over the next 60 minutes, they present a comedy play that does exactly that.

Writer and director James Cary explains why, for his latest touring production, he decided to tackle one of the biggest events in Church history – and write about the funny side of it.

End game

A WAR of words is taking place on the global stage. In July, North Korea claimed it had successfully launched an intercontinental missile capable of delivering deadly payloads to the west coast of America. Last month, a test missile overflew Japan. North Korea has also announced that it has carried out underground hydrogen bomb tests.

Doctors give attention to those in detention

Every year in the UK, some 30,000 people are detained in immigration removal centres (IRCs), known colloquially as ‘detention centres’. At any one time, about 2,700 people are held, according to government statistics. Many detainees are deported within a few weeks of being detained, but some are held for longer. People can be held indefinitely in immigration removal centres,’ says Emma Ginn, director of Medical Justice, a charity that provides independent medical advice to immigration detainees and advocates their rights. ‘Immigration detention is not part of any criminal sentence.

Zion - the last word in heavenliness

IN this series we have explored the meanings of lots of Bible words that we may have seen before but not understood and names that we found vaguely familiar but didn’t know why. We’ve looked at Jewish beliefs, feasts and practices, which all had a bearing on the life and ministry of Jesus. This week we reach the end of our A to Z. 

Xerxes: The son of Darius and grandson of Cyrus the Great, Xerxes was King of Persia from 486 to 464BC and chose a Jew named Esther to be his queen. 

For the record

‘THE first nine years of living in this country, I had a hard time,’ says Zimbabwe-born King Cas Ajani, who arrived in the UK in 1998. ‘I came to the country at a time when it was “cool” to be from the Caribbean, but not Africa. I just didn’t understand it. At school, people would laugh because I didn’t know what a kebab was or because I didn’t know who Steps or S Club 7 were. In Zimbabwe, I grew up listening to R&B artists, such as Monica. People definitely weren’t afraid to tell me that I didn’t fit in or that they didn’t like me.’ 

Immigration detention picture is unsettling

ONE of the many unresolved issues of the labyrinth that is Brexit is the status of EU citizens currently living, working and paying taxes in the UK. On the other side of la Manche, many ex-pat Brits are worried about the sun going down on their hard-won retirement plans.

On the right track for going straight

‘IF a person has committed a crime in their past but wants to change, then we need to give them a second chance,’ says Diego Fuentes, a regional talent partner for Virgin Trains. ‘Everybody makes mistakes and we need to help ex-offenders move forwards and reintegrate into society.’