The Charity Commission has launched an investigati

first_imgThe Charity Commission has launched an investigation into concerns about the running of a user-led mental health arts charity that has sacked its founder, after she spent 25 years building its reputation.Michelle Baharier (pictured) called on the Charity Commission to take urgent action to save CoolTan Arts, after she was sacked by what she says was a “kangaroo court”.She was dismissed last week by a disciplinary panel set up by the charity’s board of trustees, but which she didn’t attend and plans to appeal against.She claims the allegations of bullying and harassment were “pathetic” and “made up”, and were exaggerated by a small group of senior figures at the charity who had fallen out with her.The Charity Commission is now investigating claims she has made about the way CoolTan is being run.A spokeswoman for the commission said: “We can confirm that we have an open case into CoolTan Arts and we are currently in correspondence with the trustees about our concerns and complaints made against the charity.“At this time we are unable to provide any further information until our case has concluded.”Baharier believes the charity she built up from scratch could be forced into liquidation by the end of the year if the commission does not take urgent action.CoolTan, based in Southwark, south London, offers creative workshops, self-advocacy, art projects, and a volunteering and training programme to service-users with experience of mental distress, as well as running “stigma-busting cultural walks” and a public art gallery.Baharier, who had been suspended from her position as chief executive since last October, said she now fears for the charity’s future.She said: “I have been treated as a criminal with no rights at all and have not even been allowed to collect personal belongings from CoolTan which have been there for 20 years.”She said that what had happened to the charity was “a tragedy”, and added: “I am devastated at my loss, a precious unique charity which has been torn apart.”She has secured backing from hundreds of supporters of CoolTan since her suspension last October, including leading figures in the arts and disability arts worlds, including Maggi Hambling – one of the charity’s patrons – Penny Pepper, Ju Gosling, Colin Hambrook, Clare Allan – another patron – and Caroline Cardus, and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.Among her concerns is that she believes CoolTan has spent a year’s worth of funds in the eight months since she was suspended, and is rapidly depleting financial reserves she built up over the last 25 years.She is also angry that the trustees have paid expensive human resources consultants to deal with the dispute, rather than using the free services of the conciliation service ACAS.The charity even tried to access her medical records from her doctor and community mental health team, she says, and claimed that she had lied about being a disabled person, when she has an Access to Work package to support her at work.Baharier said she was also “really concerned” about the lack of mental health-related skills among the remaining CoolTan staff.She said: “They don’t have many disabled people there anymore with lived experience.“I cannot name one member of staff who has their own mental health experience, let alone the proper skills.”She fears that with mental health provision “at an all-time low, when CoolTan goes bust it will send people into crisis”.Baharier is now taking legal action over her dismissal, with an employment tribunal due to take place in October.CoolTan’s interim senior management failed to provide a statement by noon today (2 June), as did the chair of trustees, although one trustee, Richard Truss, said that “the case against [Baharier], which we only very reluctantly pursued, was based on the evidence of a number of independent testimonies of staff members who had suffered bullying.“We had no choice but to proceed, especially as many of them are quite vulnerable people.”last_img read more

For one vendor the street is both home and business

first_img 0% Abdiel Avila, 58, sets up on Mission Street every morning. He spreads a blanket out beneath the shade of a tree near 17th Street and pulls out watches, chargers, shoes, backpacks, movies, bike seats, and whatever has come his way. Once, he even tried to sell a dog someone gave him. On a good day, he says, he can make up to $200. Next to Avila is a young man in a green hoodie lining up shoes on a blanket. A young woman approaches him and begins shouting. “He is also homeless,” Avila says of his nearby vendor and friend. “That’s his girlfriend and she stole something from him.” Avila shakes his head. It is one of many experiences the vendors on Mission street can identify with. Many also share in chronic homelessness and unemployment. Some also struggle with drug addiction. Still, like Avila, they endure. “This is not a permanent occupation,” says Avila, shoving some peanuts into his mouth even though he claims to be allergic to them. He is on the lookout for a new job and in the past has worked on and off in different hotels and restaurants. He misses the stability that comes with a regular paycheck, but he’s also managed to survive a life of insecurity.   Born in Mexico, Avila was 26-years-old when an 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City, leaving his family and thousands more homeless. His family found a place in nearby Puebla, but there were no jobs in the smaller city and they had to return to the capital. In the 12 years that followed, Avila never managed to get a foothold in the economy and by 1997 he decided to try his luck in the United States. At the age 38, he landed in the Mission District. “It was hard to get here,” he says, looking away. “After crossing the border, I spent five days in the desert not knowing where I was going. It was a relief to arrive in the Mission.”    Nevertheless, it’s been lonely. He has one cousin who lives nearby, but has lost any connection he had with the children he left behind in Mexico. “I am very alone, even with the partner I have now,” he says. An older woman with short red hair greets Avila as she walks down the street with her flowered grocery cart. “That’s one of my regulars,” he says. “I have a couple of them and they often give me stuff to sell. I try never to steal. I don’t feel comfortable doing it and it’s not worth the risk.” Avila says his best job has been working in local hotels where the owners will rent him a discounted room, a perk that allows him to avoid the shelters. The latter, he says, are like prisons, “There are rules for everything, even for going to the bathroom, and there is no space or privacy.”  Any time he spent there, he says, “brings back really bad memories.” He would rather sleep on the streets, he says. The only reason he visits a shelter now is to eat. “When I don’t have money or spent it on drugs, which I am trying to give up, I go to St. Anthony’s,” he says. The dining room at 121 Golden Gate Ave. in the Tenderloin serves meals to the poor and the homeless. But generally, he says, food is not a problem. “We can get it somehow or another,” he says. Housing, however, is another story. He has been living in hotels and on the street years.  For the last few months, he’s been able to sleep in a hotel room he shares with his current partner. But he never knows how long that arrangement will last.         Still, he says, he hasn’t given up. And right now, selling on the streets on Mission Street is working for him. He stands in the same place every day hoping that he will hear back from employers. “I want to get my life back together,” he says. center_img Tags: 17th Street • homeless • immigrants • mission street • street vendors Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

SAINTS are delighted to have partnered with Cable

first_imgSAINTS are delighted to have partnered with Cable Taxis for the 2013 season.The St.Helens-based firm’s livery will adorn both the Club’s home and away shorts this year.Cable are the largest private hire taxi company in the St Helens area and have been operating since 1994.Situated in the town centre, they provide a friendly and reliable service and have a fleet of around 150 vehicles.Head of Sales and Marketing for St.Helens R.F.C., Dave Hutchinson said: “We are delighted to team up with Cable Taxis on our playing shorts for the 2013 season.“Not only have they supported the Club in this way, but offer “Freephone” services inside all main hospitality areas within the stadium, meaning our fans now have a directline into Cable Taxis any time when using Langtree Park’s facilities.“These freephones are located on the first and second floors as well as the reception and Red V Café areas.“Having already become Premier Business Club members last year, it is great to have even more support from Cable during our second season and we thank all at Cable for your continued support.”Cable Taxis added: “As a local business of St Helens it is an honour to be sponsoring our local rugby league team St. Helens R.F.C.“It is a great pleasure to see our logo on the kit and we are looking forward to a successful 2013 season.”last_img read more

PLAYOFF fever is sweeping across the Saints as the

first_imgPLAYOFF fever is sweeping across the Saints as they prepare for their ‘do or die’ clash with Hull KR this Saturday.Fans have been queuing at Langtree Park to secure tickets for the Super League Playoff Eliminator which kicks off at 5pm.Season Ticket holders have been taking advantage of the priority period to save their places and have until 12 pm on Tuesday September 10 to save their ‘spec’.Tickets will then go on General Sale at the Ticket Office and online here from Tuesday afternoon.Prices are £15 for adults, £13 for concessions and young adults and £5 for juniors.This will be your last chance to see your Saints at Langtree Park and say goodbye to Francis Meli and Tony Puletua.Saints need your support as they face a side that has already beaten them at home this season.Club Captain Paul Wellens said: “We are heading into the playoffs in good shape, are confident and the mentality of the group is strong.“We have been working hard and have key players returning too. We are up for it.“We know more than most what Hull KR are about and it will be difficult game. But we are very confident we can do what it takes.”last_img read more

SAINTS are the first team to be members of Rugby L

first_imgSAINTS are the first team to be members of Rugby League Cares!We are the first full Super League side to support the organisation.St Helens captain Jon Wilkin said: “It’s great that all of the boys have signed up to Rugby League Cares.“The charity does so much to assist players, particularly at the point of retirement and transitioning from the sport to a future career.“We are behind them with this and their other work and would encourage others to take a look at the charity and support them however they can.”Neil from RL Cares said: “Rugby League Cares plays an important role as part of the player welfare programme supported by the RFL and clubs.“Providing support to players with education helps them plan for the future and leave the sport well equipped to take on their next challenge.“One or two of the lads have benefitted from the charity and it good to see them all join up and give something back.”Neil Kilshaw, Saints Player Performance Manager, added: “Rugby League Cares plays an important role as part of the player welfare programme supported by the RFL and clubs.“Providing support to players with education helps them plan for the future and leave the sport well equipped to take on their next challenge.“One or two of the lads have benefitted from the charity and it good to see them all join up and give something back.”To become a member click here.last_img read more

Castle Hayne man guilty of kidnapping brutally assaulting woman

first_imgRandy Doyle Jackson had pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges October 4, 2017. (Photo: NHC District Attorney’s Office) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Castle Hayne man is going to prison after he kidnapped a woman and brutally assaulted her.49-year-old Randy Doyle Jackson pleaded guilty Wednesday in New Hanover County Superior Court to first degree kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.- Advertisement – The Honorable Judge Charles H. Henry sentenced Jackson to at least five years behind bars. The case stems from Jackson holding the victim against her will and brutally assaulting her leading to numerous injuries all over her body.The Assistant District Attorney read a statement from the victim which said, “Knowing that I can now close this chapter of my life, I hope this serves as a lesson to anyone who thinks that they can get away with something so horrible, that justice can be served.”last_img read more

10th annual Street Turkeys of Wilmington aims to collect more than 70000

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 10th annual Street Turkeys of Wilmington collected food donations from five spots around the area.The food drive benefits The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.- Advertisement – Volunteers collected turkeys, canned goods and other donations from four local Harris Teeters, as well as The Landing in Wrightsville Beach.Last year, the drive collected enough food to feed more than 70,000 people. Jai Isear is the event coordinator and says he expects to collect even more food this year.“It’s wonderful that we’ve turned this into a family tradition for a lot of folks. Our churches come together. But it’s turned into more of a community event and that’s our goal. We want this whole community to be a part of this thing. And if everybody does just a little something, it’s amazing collectively, the effect it can have on our community,” said Jai Isear.Related Article: Smithfield Foods donates $100K to the local food bankOverall, the event has helped the Food Bank give out almost 470,000 meals.You can donate money through Sunday by clicking here.last_img read more

Man charged in state troopers murder will face death penalty

first_img Chauncey Askew’s attorney Richard Miller, left, in Columbus County Court Jan 11 2019 (Photo: Justin Smith/The News Reporter) Member of the audience at the Askew hearing on Jan 11 2019 (Photo: Justin Smith/The News Reporter) Columbus County District Attorney Jon David requested to try this case as a capital case. A judge ruled in favor of the District Attorney’s office.Askew’s attorney argued for a continuance Friday because he questions Askew’s competency. The judge denied that request.Askew will be assigned a second attorney for the trial.Related Article: State board suspends license for oral surgeon accused of sexually abusing patientsWe will hear from Askew’s family coming up tonight on WWAY. Chauncey Askew appears in the Columbus County Courthouse on Jan 11 2019 (Photo: Justin Smith/The News Reporter) Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene and Clerk of Court Jess Hill during Askew’s hearing in a Columbus County courtroom Jan 11 2019 (Photo: Justin Smith/The News Reporter) 1 of 6center_img Chauncey Askew appears in the Columbus County Courthouse on Jan 11 2019 (Photo: Justin Smith/The News Reporter) District Attorney Jon David addresses Judge Douglas Sasser in court Jan 11 2019 (Photo: Justin Smith/The News Reporter) – Advertisement – Chauncy Askew appears in court. (Photo: Justin Smith/News Reporter) COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The man suspected of shooting and killing State Trooper Kevin Conner will face the death penalty.Chauncy Askew was charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of Conner on October 17.last_img read more

Wilmington man pleads guilty to robbery setting fire that killed dog

first_imgSaeed Abdelsalem El-Helo (Photo: District Attorney’s Office) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man who robbed a local convenience store and barricaded himself inside of a home before setting it on fire will spend at least three years in prison.Saeed Abdelsalem El-Helo, 27, pleaded guilty to Common Law Robbery, Second Degree Arson, and two counts of Cruelty to Animals.- Advertisement – On May 27, 2018 El-Helo entered the Scotchman store at 2902 Carolina Beach Road shortly after 4:00 p.m., told the clerk that he had a gun, and ordered the clerk to give him the money from the cash register.Witnesses described the vehicle El-Helo was driving when he left the scene. Surveillance images also captured the incident. A detective familiar with El-Helo quickly identified him.El-Helo’s vehicle was spotted outside of 2815 Vance Street. Police attempted totake El-Helo into custody, but were forced to take cover outside of the residence when he threatened that he had a firearm.Related Article: Wilmington mom pleads for community to help solve son’s murderSWAT team members and negotiators were called to the residence to assist in thestandoff.El-Helo later lit the house on fire and remained inside until ultimately crawling out of awindow. One dog that had been caged in the house died, while another was revived by firefighters.El-Helo was treated at the burn unit at UNC-Chapel Hill. He confessed to robbing the Scotchman and setting the house on fire, but denied that he had a firearm during the incidents. No gun was ever recovered.El-Helo was ordered to pay nearly $3,000 in restitution as part of his sentence. He will spend a maximum of 6 years behind bars.last_img read more

What would UNCW do if an emergency happened on campus

first_img UNCW Assistant Police Chief Chris Bertram says communication plays a core role in UNCW’s Emergency Response Plan.“University has what we call an ‘All Hazards Plan,’ Bertram said. “That addresses everything from a chemical spill to a tornado to a hurricane, an active shooter and pretty much everything in between.”This plan first includes dispatching police immediately to the scene, next, a campus-wide email, text message and phone call with detailed instructions, followed by a siren, which indicates staying put and finding shelter.Related Article: Devontae Cacok named preseason Mid-Major All-AmericanBut would students like Rebecca Harris and Erika Foty know what to do during an emergency?“All of the syllabi, there’s definitely an outline of what the safety procedures are and who we need to contact if we’re ever in danger,” Harris said.“A lot of the buildings on campus have a bunch of posters that says if an intruder comes in, there’s a list of what to do,” Foty said.These posters explain the “run-hide-fight” mentality.“If you can get out of the area, if you can’t you hide and then it comes right down to it if you have a choice to fight, you fight,” Bertram added.Between campus police, campus security guards and emergency call-lights scattered across campus that directly contact UNCW police, students feel that they are in good hands.Bertram also explained that UNCW offers active shooter training twice a month at the police department for anyone who would like to learn more. 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s not something we want to think about, but after the UNC Charlotte shooting WWAY went to UNC Wilmington to find out how the campus would respond during an emergency.UNCW’s campus is just over one square mile and with about 17,000 students, school leaders know it is imperative that they have an effective emergency plan in place.- Advertisement – last_img read more