A disabled football coach has been recognised by the prime minister with a national volunteering award, even though that work is threatened by a legal battle over the “bedroom tax” with work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.Lifelong Liverpool fan John Smith was presented with the Point of Light award in front of tens of thousands of fans at half-time of his team’s Premier League match with Bournemouth on Monday.Last year, he was presented with a Torch Trophy Trust Award by Princess Anne, again to mark his achievements as a volunteer.But Smith, from Croxteth, Liverpool, said that was topped by the presentation of the Point of Light award at the club’s Anfield stadium, where he has a season-ticket.He said: “It was a brilliant feeling, an honour. It made me feel very proud. It was better than meeting Princess Anne.”He has dedicated the award – which recognises “outstanding individual volunteers” – to his late parents.But what his fellow Liverpool supporters were not told on Monday was that Smith’s voluntary work is under threat from the bedroom tax.Because he lives alone in social housing, in a two-bedroom adapted bungalow, he was forced to find an extra £12 a week towards his housing costs after he was told he was not entitled to a second bedroom because of the government’s “spare room subsidy removal policy”, also known as the bedroom tax.This meant that Smith had to cut down on his spending on food while fighting the decision through the tribunal process, a battle which he said caused him to feel “very stressed”.Last September, he won an initial appeal, on the grounds that he needed his spare room to store essential independent living aids, including his second wheelchair and a bath chair, as well as equipment he uses to play and coach wheelchair football, boxes of specialist powdered food, a bag of swimming equipment, and a punch-bag he uses to keep fit.The room is also used to store a table football game that he plays with friends.But after his initial victory, the work and pensions secretary appealed against the tribunal’s ruling, putting at risk all of Smith’s volunteering work and social and community links.Now he is having to await the result of test cases in the Supreme Court, in which the bedroom tax will be challenged on the grounds that it discriminates against disabled adults like him.The courts have so far found that the policy does discriminate but that that discrimination is justified and therefore lawful.Ruth Knox, a volunteer with the Merseyside benefits and money advice charity Raise, which has supported Smith with his appeal, said: “It’s a case which shows how dreadful the bedroom tax is.“All of the equipment is pretty essential to enable him to participate in the community and keep himself fit and healthy.”Despite this week’s award, Smith told Disability News Service that he feels as if he is being “penalised” by Cameron’s government for being a disabled person.Knox added: “John doesn’t have any money other than the money that is considered necessary for him to live.“The bedroom tax puts him in the position where either he gives up that £12 a week and goes without something else, or he moves to a one-bedroom house.“A one-bedroom house would severely restrict what he could do. He keeps himself very much part of the community. He keeps himself fit, he has friends round for table-football, he goes swimming.“If he didn’t have that space for equipment, he couldn’t do that. It is absolutely essential for him to have a quality of life.“It does strike me as being a bit of a contradiction, but maybe Iain Duncan Smith will be able to explain it to you.“Without that extra room, John would not be able to do all that volunteering work. He would not be able to make that contribution to the community.”Knox said that her charity deals with more bedroom tax cases involving disabled people than most other advice agencies in Merseyside, because Raise was set up to support social housing tenants.She said: “We have very many cases where disabled people need an extra room for essential equipment.“We are very, very keen for people to come to us with bedroom tax issues and to challenge them legally.”At present, Raise has more than 100 such cases working their way through the appeal system.Smith took up wheelchair football five years ago at the Respect 4 All Disability Centre – which is run by the club’s Liverpool FC Foundation charity.In the last 18 months, he has trained as a wheelchair football coach and now runs weekly sessions at the centre for between 10 and 15 other wheelchair-users, and has achieved the FA level one coaching award. As he has a communication impairment, he works with his care worker to record instructions on his computer, which he then plays back during the training sessions.He also raises funds for Liverpool FC Foundation, and still plays for the club’s wheelchair football team. He says he has “a passion for playing for Liverpool Football Club”.Picture: John Smith (centre), with Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s chief executive, and Tim Kiddell (right), private secretary to the prime minister. Photograph by Andrew Powell
With Brexit negotiations in tatters, the Tories reckon it’s a good day to bury bad news: they’ve scrapped the four-hour NHS waiting time target.Make sure people know. https://t.co/65LVBUS4un— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) March 12, 2019The Labour Party has accused the government of trying to “bury bad news” today, when MPs and the media are distracted by the second meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.Addressing the Commons, Labour’s health spokesperson Jonathan Ashworth said: “You may have seen today that NHS England have announced the trialling of the abolition of the four-hour waiting time target in A&E departments.“The four-hour target allowed the last Labour government to deliver some of the lowest waiting times in history and it hasn’t been met under this government since July 2015 and, indeed, 2.8 million patients waited beyond four hours in A&E last year.“Getting rid of this target should be based on clear medical evidence, not pressure from Downing Street. Would it not have been a basic courtesy for the Secretary of State for Health to come to the House today and offered a statement?”Tags:NHS /Labour /Jonathan Ashworth / After years of Tory austerity, understaffing, cuts and privatisation more patients are waiting longer in A&E and for treatment.And now they want to ditch the targets.Changes should be based on clinical consensus not Downing Street pressure. pic.twitter.com/xVI7ATpE7W— Jonathan Ashworth (@JonAshworth) March 12, 2019
SAINTS Reserves have announced their squad for Thursday night’s trip to Keighley Cougars.The game will kick off at 7.45pm at Cougar Park.The squad is:Andre Savelio, Brad Billsborough, Brad Pinder, Calvin Wellington, Cameron Brown, Chris Follin, Dave Eccleston, Dave Llewellyn, Jack Owens, Jordan Gibbons, Mikus Ozols, Olly Davies, Ross McCauley, Theo Fages, Tom Connick, Tommi Hughes, Tony Suffolk (pictured), Travis Burns.Prices for entry are £5 adults and concessions/juniors £1.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington couple and former WWAY Extraordinary People of the Week who designs shoes while helping women in Africa are about to be featured in a major national retailer.Caroline Fisher, creative director and founder of Seeded Hand Sown, a Wilmington-based brand of handmade beaded leather sandals and her husband Tony Peele have reached a deal with Anthropologie.- Advertisement – Caroline’s line of shoes will be featured in Anthropologie stores and on their website and catalogs starting later this year.Fisher started designing while living in Africa and her designs are heavily influenced by the area.The shoes are designed here and then made by local artisans in Tanzania.
A patient at NHRMC’s Rehab Hospital shoots on the goal, cheered on by UNCW hockey players (Photo: Justin McKee/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Winter Olympics have had people around the world cheering on their favorite athletes and teams this month.In Wilmington, some patients at New Hanover Regional Medical Center are having their own kind of hockey game, all thanks to UNCW.- Advertisement – Tuesday was the gold medal match at the 2018 Rehab Games.Members of UNCW’s club ice hockey team showed patients how to play and cheered them on as they put the biscuit in the basket.One of the players, Bennett Clark, says he thought the best part is seeing the patients loosen up and have fun.Related Article: WPD arrests 8 people after dozens of shootings in less than 3 weeks“It’s gonna be awkward for anyone if you haven’t picked up a hockey stick before and you try to help them out a little bit,” Clark said. “As they get more comfortable, I feel like they get the hang of it more and that’s when they start really enjoying it. Letting loose and having fun, I think that’s the most important part.”Much like the Olympics, there is also curling, biathlon, and skiing.The Rehab Hospital puts the Games together for both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A 12-year-old boy at Murray Middle School is the latest in a string of students in our area arrested for making threats about violence at school.New Hanover County Sheriff’s Spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer says a teacher overheard the boy make a threat today during school. When she asked the boy, who was working at a computer, what he was doing, Brewer says he told her that he was looking for a layout of the school to shoot it up. That’s when Brewer says the teacher called the school’s SRO, who interviewed the child.- Advertisement – Investigators charged the boy with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property.“Parents, please talk to your children about the seriousness of making any threat of any kind,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said in a statement to WWAY.
The sheriff’s office posted this video to their Facebook page saying “what better time to produce a #lipsyncchallenge video than while we have our awesome BCSO Cadets with us!”The song of choice in the video is Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away.”The Facebook post goes on to say they “wouldn’t want to make a video without community representation and these young people are great examples of our wonderful community.”Related Article: Two arrested on drugs, weapons charges in Brunswick CountyBrunswick County Schools PIO Daniel Seamans helped produce the video.Thanks to everyone at the sheriff’s office for all you do! BCSO takes on Lip Sync Challenge (Photo: Facebook) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office has joined the law enforcement lip sync challenge trend and put out their own video.WATCH VIDEO BELOW:- Advertisement –
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity needs you. They are currently seeking volunteers that would like to assist in hurricane recovery efforts.The organization is partnering with Baptists on Mission for many projects throughout the area.- Advertisement – View sign-up dates by here. For additional questions about volunteer efforts, please email Chris Teeter, Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Projects consist of mucking out flooded homes and clearing debris and mold damage inside of homes.Volunteers are needed Tuesdays through Saturdays.Cape Fear Habitat is also in need of several items for relief efforts:DehumidifiersTyvek suitsAnti-microbial spray (Shockwave)N95 Respirator masksThick plastic protective glovesBox fansCommercial garbage cansContractor clean up bagsPitchforksLeaf rakesPush broomsFlat shovelsWheelbarrowsTarps, straps, tie downs5,000 horsepower generatorsChalk lines-chalk boxExtra chalk – red or bluePlywood skill saw bladesMulti tool bladesBattery operated trim sawsBattery operated saw zawsUtility knives with replacement bladesTape measures
Pig farm (Photo: US EPA) RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The world’s largest pork company is teaming up with a major energy company to turn pig manure into renewable natural gas.Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy announced a joint venture partnership Tuesday to trap methane from hog waste and convert it into power for heating homes and generating electricity.- Advertisement – Smithfield previously announced that its company-owned and contract farms over the next decade will cover waste-treatment pits to capture the gas and keep out rainwater. The gas will be channeled to processing centers and converted into natural gas.The joint venture with Dominion will operate initially in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah. The first projects are scheduled to be operating by late 2019.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Go ahead and take a deep breath of fresh air! Wilmington has been ranked 13th for cleanest year-round particle pollution.The American Lung Association’s 2019 “State of the Air” report says North Carolina has improved rankings for the nation’s most widespread air pollutants.- Advertisement – Having zero unhealthy air days, Wilmington ranked on all three cleanest cities lists that include ozone, short-term, and year-round particle pollution in the 20th annual report.Learn more here about city rankings, as well as air quality across North Carolina and the nation, in the 2019 “State of the Air” report.