Sunday, 7 December 2014

24+ Learners Loans

Delighted to be delivering resilience training for women 24+ who are accessing funding through Capital Apprenticeships in L3 Health and Social Care.
Weekly classes of up to 2 hours duration will be delivered in and around Westminster.
You can see more about learn now pay later below or download the document here.

24+ Advanced Learning Loans are being introduced to help support students aged 24 or above with the cost of tuition for Level 3 or 4 courses. Find out below about what the loan covers, who can apply and the benefits they offer...
Who qualifies for the loan?
The 24+ Advanced Learning Loan is not means-tested and does not require a credit check, but to be eligible for a loan you must be:

Aged 24 or over on the first day of your courseStarting your course on or after 1 August 2014
Ordinarily a resident in the UK/EU/EEA for at least three years before the start date of your course
Enrolling on a full Level 3 or Level 4 course (details below).
What can I use the loan for?
The loan is designed to pay for part of or the full cost of the tuition fee for your full Level 3 or 4 course – the loan cannot be used to pay for individual units or awards. Qualifications that you can use the loan for include:

A-Levels (up to three)Access to Higher Education Diplomas
BTEC and other Diplomas and Certificates
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
Note: Apprenticeships are no longer supported by 24+ Advanced Learning Loans
How much can I borrow?
The amount you can get depends on the course you want to take and whether you want to pay for any of the tuition fee yourself – you can choose a loan that pays for the full cost of your course or you can choose to pay all or part of the tuition fee yourself. There is a minimum loan amount of £300.
How does the loan work?
The 24+ Advanced Learning Loan is similar to existing loans for higher education – after applying to the government organisation Student Finance England (SFE), they will pay the agreed amount to Westminster College when you start your course. You only need to apply once per course, so if for example your course is longer than one year you don’t need to apply separately for each year.

Can I take out more than one loan?
You can apply for up to four loans in total, but you can only have one loan at a time – after completing each qualification you will be able to apply again, up to a maximum of four times.

What happens about repayments?
Paying back your loan is simple – you’ll only have to start making repayments in the April after you complete your course and only if you’re earning over £404 per week, £1,750 per month or £21,000 per year. Payments are automatically taken from your earnings through the tax system.

How much will I have to repay?
Repayments will be 9% of your wage above £21,000 per year, £1,750 per month or £404 per week. So if for example you are earning a salary of £25,000 per year, repayments would be calculated as 9% of £4,000, which equals a £30 repayment per month.

If your salary falls below the earning threshold, repayments will stop. If you have not repaid your loan after 30 years the outstanding debt will be written off.

You’ll only need to start repaying the loan from April 2016 after you’ve completed your course and you’re earning more than £21,000 per year.

What about interest charges?
Interest on the loan is linked to inflation and is set at the rate of the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3% when you are studying your course. After completing your course, the interest rate is charged at the rate of the RPI.

From April 2016, the interest rate charges will be based on your income, charged at RPI for incomes of £21,000 or less, RPI plus an increasing percentage up to 3% for incomes of £21,001 to £41,000, and RPI plus 3% for incomes of £41,001 and above.

How do I apply for a loan?
Students can apply for a loan online through Student Finance England. Application forms will be available through the helpline.

Can I take out a loan if I have been declared bankrupt in the past?

Yes, the loan is not dependant on your credit rating.

Can I take out a loan if I had a higher education loan in the past or I am still paying this off?
Yes, so long as you do not have any arrears. If you have arrears, you will need to pay these off first. If you took a student loan out between 1990-1997 you would not have been paying your loan back via HMRC, therefore you would need to be paying this back and have no arrears.

Can I get help with other course related costs?
In addition to the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan there is a means-tested bursary to support students who are on a low income who require support with other costs related to their course (e.g. travel or childcare costs). The bursary does not form part of the loan and is a separate application. For more information about the support offered and eligibility please read the 24+ Learning Loans policy or download an application form.

Progressing to higher education from Access?
Your loan could be written off!

If you are interested in taking one of our Access to Higher Education courses and use a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan to pay for all or part of your tuition fee, you will have any outstanding debt written off if you go on to complete a higher education qualification.

Information for learners
24+ Advanced Learning Loans Learner Contact Information

Support for individuals requiring additional information or guidance during the application process for 24+ Advanced Learning Loans is provided by Student Finance England. This can be accessed by:

calling 0845 24 02 024, Monday to Friday, 8.00am-8.00pm and Saturday to Sunday, 9.00am-4.00pm
post to – 24+ Advanced Learning Loans, PO Box 302, Darlington DL1 9NQ.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Playtime's over!

Amidst the hustle bustle of Euston station, I attended and event at 30 Euston Square, for a insight into the world of social entrepreneurship. Upon arrival staff welcomed and directed me to registration hall and coffee stands. As I poured myself a coffee, I felt a little overwhelmed by the male dominated room. A sense of discomfort clouded over me, as the age gaps seemed to quite large as well. I met Robin Pakenham from Uprise a social
developer &  a finance director, and he put my mind at ease about the event and being here. We both took our seats in the auditorium and Liam Black took the stage. Liam spoke of his book - The social entrepreneurs A -Z, which I found very inspiring and motivational. His presentation included useful information and a number of funny jokes. Everyone was interactive with a open Q&A session. As he asked if any young person wanted to comment on 'service users' I felt I needed to comment 'service users can't benefit if the service provider has no understanding nor experience in the service they are providing.'  It opened up larger conversation than I intended, which lead to disagreements with fellow attendees about how young people are difficult to train, at an apprentice level, to attain a higher position at a management level, because they had the passion and pleasure but didn't have the skills. Which you would assume would be provided through the course of the apprenticeship. I found that to be the greatest disrespect as a young person who was aiming to contribute to society while being passionate about what I do. Throughout the day,  I came across Lucy Adams, ex BBC employee, who had suffered a lot of trauma whilst employed by BBC, in a workshop called Scar Tissues, whom I found inspiring. I learnt from her that the best way forward after failure is to be better not bitter.

I created conversation with various entrepreneurs throughout the day, gained valuable knowledge and which created a sense of urgency in my mind to get on and do good through Kazuri. I never felt so motivated and fixated on my vision, a vision I share with all the people in this conference with me, to do good for our communities. I left with more than I came in with and I never felt so better about myself, and what I do. I want to channel all my new found energy and what better way to do that but through Kazuri and it's visions and values. A vision to do what I say, and say what I do. To change life's of women who have suffered a form of trauma in life. Trauma comes in many forms and we shouldn't try fit the types of trauma in a box, for the box will be to small to hold what is actually happening right under our noses.

By Aisha Begum
Apprentice at Kazuri Properties CiC

LC PLUS FORUM- November 2014

 LC Pan London Umbrella Support for Homelessness PLUS Forum
November 2014
Venue- Guildhall, Gresham Street, London, EC2
25th November 2014  14.00 – 17.00
David Makintosh, chair of the London Drug and Alcohol Forum played host to LC PLUS Forum- in association with DrugScope-  one of the leading charities supporting alcohol and drug professionals. The event was attended by organisations such as St. Mungos Broadway, Providence Row Housing Project, Clinks and Shelter that work towards housing the homeless.

The agenda looked at the complex areas of dealing with homeless people who are regular drug- users or were recovering from a drug/alcohol problem; finding suitable housing for sufferers; the current policies regarding the services for the homeless and the use of sanctions on the unemployed.
Paul Anders, Senior Policy Advisor for LDAN/ DrugScope opened up the meeting with a brief policy update and review of Universal Credit support for those dependent on drugs and/or alcohol. Ruth Goldsmith, Communications Manager for Drugscope introduced the ‘Making the Case’ toolkit to best use local services and address the issue of homelessness and substance abuse at local government, followed by Sam Thomas from DrugScope and Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) who voiced the concerns of adults with multiple needs and how best to support them. Lastly the presentations were concluded by Ellie Cumbo from Clinks who spoke on the implications government legislation and changes had on services in London.

The number of rough sleepers and homeless are increasing due to difficult living conditions- unaffordable housing and rising unemployment. Last year roughly 112,070 in England were declared homeless- 26per cent increase in four years. (Source The homelessness crisis in England: a perfect storm: The rising number of homeless people is an undeniably growing concern for LC PLUS – piled on by research revealing many homeless people were regular drug- users or were associated with drugs. Research from Homeless Link- revealed that 39per cent (of the 2500 people) was recovering from drugs related problem. (Source: Homeless Link
Some more useful facts from Homeless Link- 77per cent smoked, 35per cent only ate two meals a day and two- thirds consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol each time they drank.

It is unanimous that the current system in place to ‘support’ our vulnerable people is failing and I am thankful to the London Council Plus and DrugScope for highlighting ways the government and the organisations can help. 

Download DragScope Making the Case Toolkit;

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Getting on Board Conference Time Table

Getting on Board - Conference agenda draft

  •          Creating organic workplaces for maximum productivity that benefit employers and employees
  •          Presenting a compelling business case for more women operating at board level
  •          Exploring through role play, challenging assumptions and demonstrating the benefit of gender balanced boards in western European and North American cultures
  •          Appreciating  strengths and different  leadership operating styles
  •          Developing the talent pipeline dramatically to bring women into leadership positions
  •      Embedding strategies for conquering unconscious bias

Session and objectives
Registration and coffee

Kazuri Minds Welcome and Housekeeping 


Introduction to the day – programme, the corporate gender landscape, purpose of the day

Mindfulness and expression for openness


Proposed legislation – what it means and implication for companies
Written questions

Coffee break

Q and A
Flo answers 2-3 most popular questions

Felt sense Meditation

Discussion section: What barriers do you see or have you seen to women’s advancement

Exercise on policy  review using part of diagnostic tool
Steve and Paul

Change management – implications of making a change

Professor Liz Kelly - keynote

Group discussion - Confronting uncomfortable and difficult issues,

Leadership behaviours


Motivation and values


Organisational and personal values charter

Steve /Paul
Plenary – individual take aways and actions, evaluation

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Christian Candy development plan threatens death of essential homelessness and trauma services for vulnerable women in Camden

Kazuri Properties, a small social enterprise has operated from this building since June 2013. We operate an office, emergency and crisis services for women who have suffered domestic violence, are at risk of homelessness or fleeing terror. This is an essential community service.

We have developed a plan to build much needed refuge and transitional accommodation in a run down part of Camden with high levels of social exclusion and deprivation. This has the support of over 40 local third sector organisations and 400 people so far, have signed our petition to retain the building. Andy's Taverna on the ground floor is a much loved local restaurant. After it is refurbished, the owner has agreed to let us run a training kitchen, like Jamie's 15, until noon every day for women to learn catering and cooking skills.
We were in negotiations with the landlord for over a year and raised private and grant funds to purchase the building. We paid towards the development,  planning and implementation costs. The building was obtained illegally by Rev 1 LTD's directors  Evan Ivey and JP Tolaini after Stefan Bobolecki, Rob Sprunt (former director of development for LB Brent) & Stephen Gilbert FRICS who were working as consultants for Kazuri, took commercially sensitive information to JP Tolaini. They scuppered our deal and passed privileged material in breach of their professional duties to a rival commercial developer who cares nothing about the community and is cited in the local paper   "I believe I can build people beautiful, higher-quality living spaces with dashes of flair and panache that will be a joy to live in."  This would have been his first foray into property development, his background is in marketing. Mr Ivey plans to put in more yuppy flats (13) and an art gallery. Andy's restaurant is a much loved Camden institution.
Evan Ivey, JP Tolaini and Colin Sanders a director of a specialist lending company, Omni Capital which is funded by Christian Candy and JP Tolaini are being investigated by Holborn burglary squad for breaking and entering, theft, violations of the Landlord Tenant Act and the Protection from Eviction Act. Crime Reference number 2325478/14.
In March 2014, they broke into the property and changed the locks before they owned it, aided and abetted by Mayfair property consultant, Tony Lorenz.

When the locks were changed illegally, 2 very vulnerable women were living in the property and were further traumatised by their actions. One was 19, fleeing FGM and the other a 23 year old who had left a domestic violence situation. Her former partner had pushed her down the stairs. He knew she was pregnant so he kicked her in the stomach. She lost her baby. You can read their stories below.
This is what Christian Candy's money supports, developments which gazzump services to combat violence against women and girls. Please stop the Candys and developers like Evan Ivey, JP Tolaini and Omni Capital encroaching on Camden's vital and vibrant community life and services.
This matter is now before the Central London County Court where Deputy District Judge Dagnall expressed specific concerns about how the purchase was based on professional trust being broken.  

Help save this important community resource - sign our petition to ask Eric Pickles, Secretary of State to intervene here

Christian Candy - developer not known for his taste in design and famously involved in a row with HH Prince Charles and the Emir of Qatar over the Chelsea barracks development.
FGM/C is a practice that goes right to the heart of a girl’s ability to make decisions about her own life and her own body. It results in severe pain, difficulties urinating and menstruating, pain during sex, serious problems in childbirth, physical disability and psychological damage.

Mala’s Story , 19
I am a woman who was born and raised in east London.  When I reached 16, my mother told me I had to be cut, it is the tradition in our culture. I was very frightened and I  ran away  to my aunt but she was scared of the family so she returned me to my family. My father beat me that night until I bled and my eyes were shut  swollen from bruises. He threw me out of the house and said I had shamed the family. He locked the door and said I should not come home, I was dead to him. 

I ran away but the police did not know what to do. Finally, I was told about a charity that helps women with housing but I had no money and no way to pay for anything, but the people were very kind. They gave me one bedroom in a flat in Camden, to share with another woman. I am attending cooking classes and sewing classes and I do volunteering as a sales assistant in a local charity shop. When I came home one afternoon in March, the locks had been changed.  I was very frightened, I thought  I had done something bad and the charity had evicted me. I called the manager and she was very angry and surprised. I was crying in the streets, I had nowhere to go. 

My biggest fear is that I will be returned to my family and I will be cut. I have cousin sisters who have been cut. They get infections; it is painful to go to the toilet.  One of them had a baby and almost died because she lost too much blood in childbirth.

One of the workers of the charity came and got a key and she let us in, they promised us they did not change the locks and they did not know what was happening. My flatmate was also very scared and frightened; we did not want to go to the police or social services, they do not know what to do with women in our situation. They never believe us. 

One in four women will at some point in their life be beaten or abused by someone in their home. About 4,000 of them die each year, with 75% of them getting killed when they try to leave or after they’ve left the abuser.

Anise’s Story 23
I was pregnant the first time he hit me. I fell backwards down the stairs, He punched my face, he kicked my stomach with his work boots on.

I lost the baby. I was 21. Two years later I got pregnant again and he hit me again.  He told me I was too ugly to have his baby. This time I ran out of the house and neighbours called the police. When they came they said I had provoked him and we should not bring the police into our arguments.

I had nowhere to go, the local council didn’t have anywhere for me. A friend of my sister was doing some voluntary work for a social enterprise and she called the owner and asked if they had anywhere I could stay. It was three days before Xmas. The lady put me up in a flat in Camden, where I have lived for 10 months. It’s a cosy flat, not luxury,  and it has everything we need, sheets, towels, there was even food in the fridge and the bed had been made for me when I  stayed the first night. For the first few months I was scared to be by myself, than I got a flat mate and we could cook together and clean the flat together.

I was at a counselling session that afternoon, I walked home because it was a lovely sunny day. I got to the flat and my key wouldn’t turn in the lock. The restaurant owner came out and told me the keys had been changed by the new owner. I was angry and scared. I thought we had been locked out. When the lady came from  Kazuri, the restaurant owner gave her the new key but I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach again. It took a long time to feel safe and having the locks changed on our home was a mean thing to do. 

Help us beat the bullies - Camden doesn't need "flats with panache" or One Hyde Park monstrosities. You can support us by tweeting about it, sharing on Facebook and signing our petition to Eric Pickles. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Resilience, Mindfulness and building a Relational Approach, London, September 25th

Working with vulnerable and protected groups to build resilience : 
building capacity in ourselves and our communities, supporting mindfulness,  a relational approach and resilience:

A conference for practitioners on using creativity, nature, positive relationships, friendships, inclusion

Conference date: Thursday  25 September 2014   Central London  Venue:  
Time: 10 am- 4pm (Arrivals from 9.15am:  refreshments & pastries; registration & documentation)

This training  in London on 25 September 2014 will bring together leading experts, experienced front-line practitioners and  innovative interventions  to evaluate with your participation and experiences how traumatized and vulnerable communities can recover and build sustainable lives as participating stakeholders in civil society. We'll also be looking at how trauma affects us personally and we'll build a toolkit to takeaway , which will  consider how those we come into contact with, from our colleagues to our clients and stakeholders can build long-term resilience and well-being.  To find out about the key themes and questions that the training will explore, read on!

Key Themes
Mindfulness as a means of building a creative identity  
Creativity as a means of strengthening positive self-image to retell personal narratives  of identity  
Resilience as a framework to build success and opportunities 
Relationships in the workplace, positive relationship skills that enhance our ability to find allies and draw in the support we need
Enhancing your personal and career capital 
Visioning skills that strengthen our sense of purpose by helping us see, and then head for, the outcomes that attract us
Creative problem-solving skills that help us find a path through the obstacles in the way
Emotional intelligence skills that raise our capacity to work with our emotions, so that we can benefit from the guiding signals and energy they offer.
The day will involve a mix of  presentation, story telling, guided exercises and group discussion. The goal is to increase each participant’s ability to draw upon the resilience they need in their lives.
Who should attend the conference?

Chief executives and  senior managers of  probation services,  supported housing services, solicitors and advocates, judges and magistrates
Service managers of commissioned services to vulnerable and protected communities 
Mentors and coaches
Faith groups and community organisations  
Staff in community mental health services
Local authority commissioners of social care and / or  housing services
Health and well-being commissioners.
Context for the training
Research demonstrates that  mindfulness techniques  allow people in organizations to listen more attentively, communicate more clearly, manage stress and foster strong relationships. Using an Asset Based Community Development approach, we nurture existing skills and latent talents in others and ourselves and burnish the path for an individual's best self to step forward. 
Despite our increased understanding of human psychology and brain functions, workplace problems associated with employee productivity, engagement, mental health and good leadership are persistent. The fast pace of technological change has been shown to have detrimental effects on people’s ability to concentrate and focus. With decreased attention spans and a lack of focus comes anxiety and stress and for many, a feeling of overwhelm at work and in their personal lives.

Initiatives to introduce mindfulness into the workplace, holds a promise for a cost effective way to improve employee productivity and well-being, while reducing health care costs, most of which are stress related.

Key questions 
Are there new approaches out there to build capacity and resilience in  vulnerable groups and communities with protected characteristics?  
Is there a bigger role for front line practitioners, mentors, faith groups, community groups and how do we protect ourselves from secondary trauma?
How can we use art and creativity more effectively in our own lives?  
 How do we ensure that our workplaces are healthy and vibrant, that we bring out the best in our colleagues and become our best and most brilliant selves?
 How do we bring a relational approach to our own work and personal lives and  how does this create safety? 
Farah Damji - Founder, Kazuri Properties CiC
Flo Krause - barrister specializing in human rights and public law
Madeleine Maine - artist and mindfulness practitioner
Annell Smith - former senior civil servant, London Probation Trust and Ministry of Justice
Endorsements for previous Kazuri Resilience Training Events

“Thank you.  Very insightful and effective tool on remembering the ethics of empathy,"  Degree Student in Criminology , Kings College London  

“Flo Krause brings a personal and insightful glimpse into how brain trauma creates dysfunction and affects behavior.  Really useful in dealing with people who might appear difficult but can't express their anxieties, only though aggression or violence. A lot to think about," Crisis manager  

“All trainers  made points that transferred their knowledge and will be useful in dealing with my clients on a daily basis," Community organizer, Brent  

"Flo Krause's experience and stories brought the  training to life, I had never made the link between how victims can become perpetrators and the interconnections of  perceived silos," Director , Morgan Stanley

"Greater understanding of roots and consequences of trauma. Meditation made me realize how tired I am!" Chief Executive, Capstone International   

Sunday, 22 June 2014

From a Survivor!

Your Thriver > Survivor comment made me laugh. I hadn't thought to put it into those words myself but I remember realising that the best possible revenge was to become totally awesome. It is a pretty amazing journey to be on, and I'm so grateful for my life now. I'm keen to spread that enthusiasm.