Posts Tagged ‘social justice’

Left Out In The Cold – the Broken of Britain Campaign #tbob

Monday, March 7th, 2011
Powerful images and messages from the Broken of Britain campaign

“We don’t want to be ‘Left Out In The Cold’ ”, say Britain’s disabled people.  On the eve of the second reading of the government’s controversial Welfare Reform Bill on 9th March, a stark image of disabled campaigner Kaliya Franklin aims to convey how vulnerable some of the bills proposals will leave sick and disabled people across the UK.

The photograph depicts a naked Franklin lying on the sand on a wintry beach, next to her empty wheelchair.

Just like Franklin’s wheelchair in the image, social care and support will be left out of reach for many of those most in need if these reforms go ahead, literally leaving many “Left Out in the Cold.”

“We decided to use one thought provoking image to make our point,” explains Franklin. “Sick and disabled people are often left voiceless in society, so we hoped using a single image might reflect this.”

Says Franklin, “It’s vital we all remember we are just an accident or illness away from becoming disabled. Many people think if they do become disabled that the state will look after them.

“But the fact is that even under current provisions, disability benefits are not enough for disabled people to live on. If the Welfare Reform Bill is passed, the situation will become unimaginably worse.”

In January, Franklin released a video on YouTube that explained how able-bodied people would be in for a major shock if they found themselves needing to apply for disability benefits. The video can be seen at

The Broken of Britain group has been campaigning since summer 2010 to raise awareness of the government’s wider anti-disability policies. The group has consistently drawn attention to disabled people being the target of unjust government rhetoric and sham consultations, tabloid slander and political myths.

It says: “We are now the targets of deep and damaging cuts to disability services that are contained in and symbolised by the Welfare Reform Bill. The Bill disguises cuts and changes to a number of benefits, from housing benefit to Income Support that will punish disabled people.”

Read more at Left Out In The Cold by Kaliya Franklin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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Cranky Old Man

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

old man imageThis moving poem was recently sent to me and I can understand why it has gained such a wide audience.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in New South Wales, Australia it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.  Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in Christmas editions of magazines around the country and magazines for Mental Health.  This old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses?          –   What do you see?
What are you thinking               –   When you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man,                    –   Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit                     –   With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food              –   And makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice    –   ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice           –   The things that you do.
And forever is losing                 –   A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not                 –   Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding           –   The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?       –   Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse       –   You’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am                  –   As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,            –   As I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten             –   With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters                   –   Who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen             –   With wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now            –   A lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty           –   My heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows             –   That I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now                 –   I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide               –  And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty                         –  My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other                  –   With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons           –   Have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me       –   To see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more                   –   Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children            –   My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me              –   My wife is now dead.
I look at the future                     –   I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing       –  Young of their own.
And I think of the years              –  And all the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man                   –   And nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age             –   Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles                –   Grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone                  –   Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass          –   A young man still dwells,
And now and again                    –   My battered heart swells
I remember the joys                   –   I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living           –   Life over again.

I think of the years, all too few    –   Gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact           –   That nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people        –   Open and see.
Not a cranky old man !              –   Look closer . .   see . . . . . . . . ME!!

It is worth remembering this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within . . . . .  we will all be there, too one day!

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Refugee Week – Different pasts, shared future

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Refugee Week takes place from the 16th – 22nd June. It will be celebrated by a UK wide programme of events which celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK.

During Refugee Week hundreds of events exploring refugee experiences take place across the UK. These range from small community and school activities to art exhibitions, political debates, film screenings, conferences, big music festivals, sports events etc…Find out what is happening in your area.

Anyone can get involved in Refugee Week either by organising or visiting an event or by just spreading the word!

I love the idea of Small Actions and the Refugee Week UK team are looking for ideas for ‘small actions’ that could help change the way British born people and refugees see ach other. A small action could be anything from inviting a refugee friend to share a cup of tea with your grandpa to learning to say hello in a different language. Any action that, when performed by lots of people, can lead to big changes. Refugee week are collecting as many serious, silly and simple actions as they can. I like the idea of being able to say hello in at least 20 languages! Check out Small Action for inspiration and add your own!

Social work has always championed social justice and should be at the forefront of challenging the same old myths and scare stories which are constantly being given airspace and by extension credibility. The truth is in short supply. This leaflet, produced by the Refugee Council, lists these facts and figures that you can rely on.more information

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Social Work – reflecting and defending the values of a just and civilised society

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

When you are confronted by endless paperwork, bureaucracy and performance targets that seem to have no relevance to the people you support, it is easy to forget the long and honourable traditions and values of social work. It is worth reflecting that the skills and knowledge learned, developed and applied every day should give the profession a formidable voice. This is a theme I will be exploring over the next few months. I look forward to a lively and controversial debate about the issues and contradictions which have always surrounded the social work role. As Mother Teresa stated so eloquently “Do not wait for leaders. do it alone, person to person”

The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) formally adopted the following definition of social work in July 2000


The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.


Social work in its various forms addresses the multiple, complex transactions between people and their environments. Its mission is to enable all people to develop their full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent dysfunction. Professional social work is focused on problem solving and change. As such, social workers are change agents in society and in the lives of the individuals, families and communities they serve. Social work is an interrelated system of values, theory and practice.


Social work grew out of humanitarian and democratic ideals, and its values are based on respect for the equality, worth, and dignity of all people. Since its beginnings over a century ago, social work practice has focused on meeting human needs and developing human potential. Human rights and social justice serve as the motivation and justification for social work action. In solidarity with those who are dis-advantaged, the profession strives to alleviate poverty and to liberate vulnerable and oppressed people in order to promote social inclusion. Social work values are embodied in the profession’s national and international codes of ethics.


Social work bases its methodology on a systematic body of evidence-based knowledge derived from research and practice evaluation, including local and indigenous knowledge specific to its context. It recognises the complexity of interactions between human beings and their environment, and the capacity of people both to be affected by and to alter the multiple influences upon them including bio-psychosocial factors. The social work profession draws on theories of human development and behaviour and social systems to analyse complex situations and to facilitate individual, organisational, social and cultural changes.


Social work addresses the barriers, inequities and injustices that exist in society. It responds to crises and emergencies as well as to everyday personal and social problems. Social work utilises a variety of skills, techniques, and activities consistent with its holistic focus on persons and their environments. Social work interventions range from primarily person-focused psychosocial processes to involvement in social policy, planning and development. These include counselling, clinical social work, group work, social pedagogical work, and family treatment and therapy as well as efforts to help people obtain services and resources in the community. Interventions also include agency administration, community organisation and engaging in social and political action to impact social policy and economic development. The holistic focus of social work is universal, but the priorities of social work practice will vary from country to country and from time to time depending on cultural, historical, and socio-economic conditions.

* This international definition of the social work profession replaces the IFSW definition adopted in 1982. It is understood that social work in the 21st century is dynamic and evolving, and therefore no definition should be regarded as exhaustive.

Find out more about IFSW

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