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During the recent National Adoption Week, it became clear that there are many myths about coming forward as a possible adoptive parent which need to be dispelled.

Some people think you can't be considered if you are single, over 55, LGBT, on a low (or no) income, have a disability, or live in a rented home. These are all false.

The only requirements to begin the screening process are that you are over 21 and have the ability to provide a stable and loving home to one or more children.

Call the Amazing Adopters hotline on 01234 718718 to talk to our specialist team. There are currently 24 youngster in Bedford borough just waiting for your call.

Cllr Sue Oliver

Lead Member for Children's Servcies

Bedford Borough Council

Dispel adoption myths

During the recent National Adoption Week, it became clear that there are many myths about coming forward as a possible adoptive parent which need to be dispelled. Some people think...

Music and dance were the order of the day at a 'truly multi-cultural' event celebrating Diwali held in Bedford.

More than 2,500 people paid a visit to the Festival of Light, hosted by Bedford Indian Community (BIC), which was open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

"Overall it was the biggest and best event so far by the Bedford Indian Community’, said chairman of BIC, Ramprasad Bangaru, "we are very pleased by the outcome of 10 months of hard work in planning and execution.

"Various community leaders also attended the event and made the event a truly multicultural event."
A procession of Dhol drummers kicked off proceedings marching through the town centre, ending at the Corn Exchange. North Indian and South Indian dishes were served, alongside Italian food.
Patrick Hall, parliamentary candidate for the Labour party, said, 'I was glad to see such talent and enthusiasm at a happy, sharing, and peaceful celebration. It made me proud of Bedford'.
[Originally appeared in the Bedfordshire on Sunday]

Festival lights up

Music and dance were the order of the day at a 'truly multi-cultural' event celebrating Diwali held in Bedford. More than 2,500 people paid a visit to the Festival of...

Labour Parliamentary Candidate Patrick Hall has given his full backing to the Citizens Advice Bureau's campaign for urgent changes to the administration of Employment Support Allowance.

ESA was introduced by the Government to replace Incapacity Benefit and is supposed to support people who become sick or disabled and are therefore unable to work.

The recently published report states that Bedford CAB deals with more problems arising from ESA than any other single issue. The evidence from local people points to a policy that is poorly designed which causes hardship and distress to many and which wastes  great deal of public money owing to poor decisions, delays and appeals.

Patrick Hall said,

'The CAB is to be congratulated in constructively drawing attention to the evidence of people's experience of dealing with this system. It is unacceptable that the sick and disabled are frequently spoken to by officials in a rude and abrupt manner, with decisions being made which reveal an incompetent and careless approach to the facts. I am stunned that many people have been told that they are not sick enough to qualify for ESA, only to turned down for Job Seekers Allowance because they are judged unfit for work. Such a Catch 22 position forces people to turn to charity, the Foodbank and borrowing off friends whilst they desperately seek help.'

Another major obstacle facing the sick and disabled is the question of medical evidence. Not only have Government officials often ignored it when provided, many people cannot afford to pay for it in the first place. There is no national requirement nor funding for family doctors to provide a medical report for patients seeking ESA on grounds of sickness. Nationally, 15% of GPs refuse to provide a medical report. Of those that do, 24% do so for free and the rest charge varying amounts up to £125. People on the assessment ESA rate receive £71.70 per week. If an individual appeals a decision to refuse ESA, they lose all benefit during the mandatory reconsideration period which can take months. Charging for medical evidence seriously disadvantages the vulnerable. Owing to cuts in legal aid, this cost is no longer covered even for those few still able to obtain welfare benefit legal aid.

Patrick added,

'I am pleased that Bedford CAB is trying to work with local GPs through Healthwatch Bedford and NHS England in order to improve the situation regarding charging. But ultimately this is a matter for Government and the Department for Work and Pensions. Also, CAB is right to point out that the sick and disabled should not have to travel to Luton for the Work Capability Test but should be able to access assessments locally.'

Patrick Hall Backs CAB 'FIT FOR WORK' Campaign

Labour Parliamentary Candidate Patrick Hall has given his full backing to the Citizens Advice Bureau's campaign for urgent changes to the administration of Employment Support Allowance. ESA was introduced by...

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