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‘Get your glow on!’ SVP urge Electric Picnic revellers

By Sarah Mac Donald - 31 August, 2013

UK “cannot afford poverty” leading Catholic charities warn.

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The Society of St Vincent de Paul is hosting its first Electric Picnic tent at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Stradbally jamboree.
 
The charity is urging revellers to ‘Get your glow on!’ It is an invitation to get involved in SVP activities so they feel good on the inside and create a ‘glow’ on the outside.
 
The SVP tent is located in the Late Night Arena near the Body & Soul area. The pop-up store contains a range of ‘glow’ products as well as vintage clothes and a seating area where festival-goers can find out more about SVP’s work
 
Alongside the pop-up shop, people can sign up for volunteering opportunities and support the campaign to end austerity in Budget 2014.
 
“The SVP has always attracted young people and has many strong conferences in second and third level schools, colleges and universities. But recently we have strengthened both our engagement with youth and young adults, and our public campaigning work. Participation in events such as Electric Picnic is a natural progression in these areas of work,” John-Mark McCafferty, the SVP Head of Social Justice & Policy said. 
 
On Friday night, DJ Fatboy Slim performed hits such as ‘Praise You’ and ‘Right Here, Right Now’. Today, Icelandic singer, Bjork will make her first appearance at the Electric Picnic since 2007. Other high profile acts performing this weekend include, the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Eels, David Byrne of Talking Heads, Ocean Colour Scene and Johnny Marr. 
 
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Meanwhile, the Society of St Vincent de Paul is to hold a bicentenary celebration concert on Sunday 8 September at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.
 
The concert will feature Mary Byrne, Howard Crosby (Bing Crosby’s nephew), Affinity, Deirdre Ni Cinneide and the Dublin Gospel Choir.
 
Separately, the SVP is one of thirteen UK Catholic charities that have signed an open letter to the Chair of the British House of Common’s Public Accounts Committee calling on the cross-party parliamentary committee to investigate the impact of the Government’s welfare reforms on public expenditure.
 
The Chief Executives of the 13 charities voice their concerns that recent changes to the benefit system, which aim to reduce welfare expenditure, will actually incur significant costs to the public purse as domestic poverty levels rise.
 
The charities, who work to support some of the poorest children, families and individuals throughout the UK fear that changes to the benefit system are likely to put increased financial pressure on health and education budgets as well as creating costs for the wider economy as poverty levels rise.
 
In their letter, the charities voice their concerns that increased overcrowding and rising child poverty levels would offset any short-term savings.
 
The 13 Catholic Charities that have signed the letter include CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), St Vincent De Paul Society (SVP), Nugent Care, Caritas Diocese of Westminster, Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster), Cardinal Hume Centre, Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society, Housing Justice, Vincentians in Partnership, the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain, [email protected], Pact and Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support (CAPS).
 
Calling on the parliamentary committee to investigate the Welfare Changes, CSAN’s Chief Executive, Helen O’Brien said, “We have real concerns that trying to make short-term cost savings on welfare, will actually generate greater costs to society in the long run.”
 
“It is important that the economic impact of rising poverty, particularly amongst children, is properly scrutinised.”
 
“We are particularly concerned that changes to household benefit may lead to more families living in overcrowded properties as they struggle to afford rent on their current homes. Our recent estimates suggest that in London alone over 21,000 families are in a situation where children are forced to share a room with their parents. Overcrowding has a detrimental effect on health, mental wellbeing as well as a child’s educational attainment.”
 
“It is therefore extremely troubling that the costs to the NHS, education system as well as to the wider economy do not appear to have been quantified in any way. As well as the clear human cost, the long-term price of poverty is likely to have significant financial implications for the taxpayer”.
 
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) is the domestic social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. www.csan.org.uk

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