A Gremlin in the works.

It has been very kindly brought to GMWRAGs attention that our last post, regarding the current vacancy in Tameside, set members a challenge that was perhaps a little too taxing in that we didn’t link to the application process and we published an incorrect closing date, albeit that we’d given you 48 hours less than you actually have!

GMWRAG is pleased to say that both errors have quickly been fixed and for those of you who don’t have the energy then the application process starts here and ends at 11:59pm on Wednesday the 30th of August 2017 not Monday the 30th, which is of course a Bank Holiday.

Those of you cheered by the prospect of filling your application forms can console yourselves with the thought that the weather forecast for the Bank Holiday is rubbish and 11:59 is not so bad if you’re a Blondie fan.



Ooh look. GMWRAG has remembered that we’re supposed to have meetings.

You may have been wondering what on earth happened to the first scheduled GMWRAG meeting of 2017 back in March. As ever, we’ve had to do a little rejigging and as a consequence of that we are pleased to announce that our first meeting of 2017 will take place at the (almost) height of summer in sunny Stockport courtesy of our friends at Stockport Advice (or Benefits Appeal Help as they now appear to be known!). An agenda will be cobbled together circulated in due course. If members have any priorities for speakers please let us know asap via @GMWRAGTweets.

The minutes of the last meeting, which took place in Tameside in December 2016, can still be downloaded from here.

In the meantime all you need to know is that the meeting is our new style “clandestine” meeting :).

In order to get into our exclusive club you will need to make your way to Fred Perry House where you will be hooded and escorted to the depths of Stopford House, otherwise known as “next door”. Special tokens and a magic password will need to be ordered in advance in order to give each of you a sticker with your name on to say that, yes, you are a part of the show.

We will, as ever, cast open the doors with a dramatic swoosh and maybe a very large gong at 9:30am for lukewarm coffee, tea from an urn down the corridor, cold water and stale biscuits. Oh yeah, and networking. Is that still a thing? The meeting itself will commence at 10:00am and will run to 4:00pm with a break for lunch if you ask nicely and play well.

GMWRAG hopes our members are able to discern fact from “fake news” in the above paragraphs. Agenda to follow.

Agenda for the Tameside GMWRAG meeting now available.

If you’ve been paying attention then you’ll already know that the next GMWRAG meeting will take place on Friday the 9th of December 2016 in Tameside. Just about everything you could possibly want to know was contained in our authoritative (well, long) post here.

The only thing missing from that post was, of course, the agenda. We are pleased to announce that the agenda can now be downloaded from here.

Please remember to download and print both the agenda and minutes and bring them with you to the meeting. GMWRAG hosts are kind enough to provide a room and refreshments from their own pocket. There is no budget for printing. If anyone fancies chairing the p.m. meeting that would be much appreciated.

This is a full day meeting and to add value we have managed to secure the services of two speakers (although two may eventually read four).

SPEAKER 1 – Homeless Prevention Service officers.

The increase in rough sleeping in the towns and cities across Greater Manchester is self-evident. The increase in other forms of homelessness is seen in the queues in reception areas of council homelessness services.

Welfare rights advisers know some of the causes – bedroom tax, benefit cap, rates of LHA for singles and couples in shared accommodation, and under 35’s, as well as massive reductions in community support services, MH support, and housing rights advice services.

Other factors include reduction in hostel bed spaces, reductions in supported accommodation, rent increases that price out benefit claimants, and unfair and unreasonable sanction decisions.

Listen to those tasked with dealing with part of this situation. What can be done by local authorities to meet the need? What legal and policy restrictions do they have to work with? What are the procedures for the single and family homeless officers to respond to housing need of applicants?

David Unsworth and Jean Cavanagh specialise in brokering accommodation for applicants, sometimes vulnerable and hard to accommodate groups. They work with MH services, ex-offender support, hospital discharge teams and others. Mandy Bradbury will come along if she is available. She is the Team Leader for the Homeless Prevention and Assessment Service at Manchester City Council. They are also interested in finding out about advice services available across Greater Manchester, as their service increasingly is looking to place people outside Manchester.

SPEAKER 2 – GM Law Centre John Nicholson, Barrister and Chair of the GM Law Centre Steering Group) will talk about the reasons for the project, the current stage of development, and plans for the next 2 years and more.

Both speakers have plenty of time built into the agenda for questions and discussion.

We look forward to seeing you there.