Archive for the ‘Housing’ Category

Six months after the deadly Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta region, the UN refugee agency remains concerned about the welfare of many widows and orphans.

“UNHCR is a protection agency and our monitoring in the villages affected by Cyclone Nargis has found a number of vulnerable people, such as women who lost their husbands and children who lost their parents to the cyclone,” Marc Rapoport, operations manager of UNHCR’s office in Yangon, said on Friday.

“The agency’s concern is that without adequate shelter, these vulnerable survivors could be at risk of displacement, which could put them in danger of exploitation, forced labour, prostitution and trafficking,” he added.

Rapoport said UNHCR needed to raise US$1.2 million “to ensure a field presence, to be able to carry on our work helping those vulnerable people.”

UNHCR cooperates with other UN agencies to provide solutions for those most in need – working with the World Food Programme to get food for the hungry and steering orphans to UNICEF’s child care centres.

Although responding to natural disasters such as Cyclone Nargis – which hit Myanmar on the night of 2-3 May – is not part of UNHCR’s mandate, the refugee agency took a quick decision to be involved in the emergency operation, focusing on shelter, distribution of non-food items and protection in the delta.

The cyclone affected some 2.4 million people; almost 140,000 people were killed or are still missing.

UNHCR had the first land convoy to reach Myanmar last May (carrying emergency supplies from its stockpiles in neighbouring Thailand) and also airlifted aid from Dubai to the city of Yangon. The UN refugee agency has helped some 200,000 people with nearly 88,000 plastic sheets, more than 117,000 blankets, 113,000 mosquito nets, nearly 50,000 sets of pots and pans, about 100,000 jerry cans and almost 400,000 bars of soap.

At the end of last month, UNHCR and its partners had provided shelter for 93.5 percent of families needing it in the Laputta area of the Irrawaddy delta and for 87.9 percent of the families needing it in the Bogale area. The agency still needs money to build shelters for up to 15,000 vulnerable people in these two districts.

UNHCR Information Assistant Myo Thiha Kyaw, who visits the delta frequently, noted that people who have received plastic sheets are very grateful.

“They tell us the plastic sheets are essential roofing material because the thatch they usually use will take at least eight months to grow to a usable size,” he said. “Before receiving our plastic sheets, they say they had to constantly shift around their houses to avoid rainwater leakages.”

Plastic sheets also allow families to harvest rainwater, which is essential because most families’ ponds were flooded during the cyclone. Mosquito nets distributed by UNHCR are also essential because of the prevalence of dengue in the area.

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/UNHCR/58969a7b9399981f75971d8c812bd432.htm

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Initial needs assessments of survivors of the 29 October earthquake in northwest Balochistan warn that women and children are most at risk.

Over 70,000 people, including 30,000 children, were left homeless by a quake that measured 6.4 on the Richter scale and caused at least 270 deaths. Nawab Aslam Raisani, chief minister of Balochistan, has warned the death toll could be more than 300, as authorities continue to search for bodies in remote areas.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which conducted a preliminary assessment with the Pakistan government, expressed its concern for “the urgent needs of children and women”. UNICEF said 108,000 people have been affected by the quake, 50 percent of whom are children.

“The most urgent needs of survivors are shelter, safe drinking water, food, warm clothing and emergency medical assistance,” said UNICEF in a statement. It termed safe water a “priority”, and warned that children are particularly prone to diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea when it is not available.

Many quake survivors have lived out in the open since the quake struck, some still without adequate shelter or warm clothing, aid workers said. Temperatures in the hilly Ziarat District, the worst hit by the quake, fall to below freezing each night. As winter approaches, the Pakistan Met Office has warned they are likely to fall further.

Shaukat Awan, Home Secretary of Balochistan, said 1,000 homes had been destroyed by the quake in Ziarat and 5,500 people affected. The quake has exacerbated the water scarcity problem the district had with many existing water sources damaged.

“We used to fetch water from a small spring here,” Zunaira Khatoon, 30, told IRIN while pointing towards some hills in her village outside Ziarat. “But after the quake the water has stopped trickling out.”

UNICEF said that about 12,000 people in Ziarat lacked safe water and were dependent on supplies from water trucks. The agency added that it had begun supplying clean water to women and pregnant mothers but local officials said more work was needed to ensure the survival of children.

“We are very worried about the children. Many are falling sick,” Dilawar Khan Kakar, mayor of Ziarat District, told IRIN. He said more tents were needed, though the supply of relief items had improved over the past few days.

Ayub Kakar, Ziarat District health officer, said children were suffering from pneumonia, chest infections and diarrhoea.

“It is the cold that is crippling and the lack of food. My children have not had an adequate meal since the quake struck. We are surviving on biscuits and rice,” said Wazir Khan, 30, a survivor from Ziarat and the father of four young children.

The problem for women injured during the quake has been aggravated by the fact that there are no female doctors to treat them. In the deeply conservative Ziarat and Pishin districts, the majority of people are traditional Pashtuns who are unwilling to allow their women, and even female children, to be treated by men.

“This has been an issue. Women do not allow us to examine them and some may have untreated fractures or other injuries. They are obviously in pain. It is difficult for female doctors from Quetta [Balochistan’s capital city] to come up here due to security issues,” Umar Gul, a volunteer doctor Quetta, said. “I was finally able to treat a nine-year-old girl with four fractured fingers only after over a day spent persuading her father to allow her to be seen.”

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/0f22d55a1b790aa1efe50bd35f8dbd87.htm

More than 800,000 people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Haiti in the wake of hurricanes Fay and Gustav and tropical storm Hanna. Houses, medical facilities, main roads and bridges have been destroyed, and an estimated 100,000 people have sought refuge in temporary shelters.

The crisis-affected population includes some 24,000 pregnant women. Eight thousand are due to deliver in the next three months and many need basic antenatal care and support for any complications. In any population, even in the best of times, about one in seven women will have complications that require emergency obstetric care or surgical delivery. Of the pregnant Haitian women in the disaster affected areas, over a thousand will need such care. Limited access to emergency obstetric care puts the lives of these women — and their babies — at risk.

In a Flash Appeal launched in New York, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is requesting $1.5 million to ensure pregnant women have access to emergency obstetric care, medical supplies, and skilled medical professionals, such as obstetricians and midwives, to ensure safe child delivery.

The funds will also help UNFPA protect women and girls affected by the crisis from exploitation and all forms of violence, and to facilitate access to both food and non-food items for marginalized groups, especially individuals living with HIV and disabilities, while monitoring human rights violations.

Tens of thousands of homes have been severely and partially damaged, leaving families without shelter and access to basic supplies, such as clothes, soap and toothbrushes. UNFPA will use the requested funds to distribute essential non-food items and provide women with access to sanitation stations. A rapid assessment, which will be conducted to establish the economic and housing needs of those affected, will serve to better inform the government and the international community responses.

UNFPA will work in close cooperation with the Haitian Government and civil society, with other United Nations agencies, such as the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, as well as with international and local non-governmental organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration and the Haitian Red Cross. UNFPA will also support these agencies in protecting vulnerable women and their families from all forms of violence, preventing separation of families, and providing individuals with psychosocial care, when needed.

These interventions will complement UNFPA activities in response to the impact of tropical storm Hanna on the island of Hispaniola. For the crisis-affected region of Gonaives, as well as the South-East and Central Plateau, UNFPA has already been working to identify and fund additional medical staff and provide medical teams with supplies for safe child delivery, and to ensure qualified care providers are available in shelters and health centres.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

For more information, please contact:
In New York, Shannon Egan: egan@unfpa.org; Tel.: +1 212 297 4975;
In Panama City, Trygve Olfarnes: olfarnes@unfpa.org; Tel: +507 301-7362.

SOURCE United Nations Population Fund

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/haitian-women-girls-require-life-saving/story.aspx?guid=%7B61A5F4AB-17F7-4F6F-B649-CC53FFAB09DB%7D&dist=hppr

Toronto’s homeless women are living in life-threatening conditions, with one in five being sexually assaulted in the past year, according to a report released on Monday.

A survey of 97 homeless Toronto women released jointly by non-profit community agencies Street Health and Sistering, both of Toronto, found that 37 percent have been physically assaulted in the past year.

Twenty-one percent reported being sexually assaulted in the same time period.

“If you’re locked out of a shelter and you have nowhere to sleep, where do you go?” study coordinator Kate Mason, of Street Health, said in an interview.

“These women are at risk of being exploited. They’re extremely vulnerable,” she said.

Homelessness among women is often overlooked because women are more likely than men to find temporary living arrangements, such as sleeping on a friend’s couch, Mason said.

But 50 percent said they have not been able to access a shelter bed at least once in the part year, leaving them vulnerable to attacks that will likely go unreported.

“By the time women are homeless, they’re often at a point where they don’t want to go to police about a crime,” Mason said.

What’s more, victims often don’t want to approach police for fear of being charged with illegal activities, such as panhandling, or fear of further assault. Earlier research had found that one in 10 homeless people have been assaulted by a police officer in the past year, Mason said.

“They don’t want to risk getting a ticket, or they’re afraid,” she explained.

Eighty-four percent reported having at least one serious physical health condition, including heart disease, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and diabetes.

“A lot of these conditions are life-threatening on their own, and even more so for the homeless. These chronic conditions often go unmanaged,” Mason said.

Mental health issues were also prevalent with 29 percent reporting bouts of depression and 19 percent suffering from anxiety.

The women in the study were homeless for an average of three years. Forty-two percent said they lived on C$2,400 or less per year. ($1=$1.02 Canadian)

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N23487364.htm

The ranks of poor single mothers have grown since the 1996 welfare overhaul that weakened their safety net, and 30 percent now live with neither job income nor public assistance. http://www.womensenews.org/images/Welfare-3657.gif

In 2001, Lisa Craig snuck out of her home in Chicago and boarded a bus for Milwaukee with her three children, leaving behind an abusive husband, a stable job and most of her possessions.

The elimination in 1996 of federal welfare entitlements had its roots here in Wisconsin, where voters in the 1980s were angered over perceptions that poor Chicago “welfare queens” were heading north to take advantage of more generous programs. But Craig headed north because she had family there to help her.

After a short stay with her sister, Craig took her children – aged 1 to 8 – to a homeless shelter. In order to receive a monthly welfare payment of about $600, she entered a three-month training program with the hope of a landing a job at the end of it.

But the training didn’t pay off. She didn’t find full-time employment until 2006, when she was hired as a retail clerk at Goodwill, which paid enough to cover her $600 rent but not much else. The job lasted only until last November and she has been looking for another since.

Over the years, Craig has made ends meet with the help of Wisconsin Works, or W2, the state’s overhauled welfare system. But she is “disenchanted” with the program because it has not lived up to its promise of helping her obtain long-term employment. “They need to come up with something else,” she said in an interview.

Craig is caught in the public policy experiments that began in Milwaukee in 1987 when Gov. Tommy Thompson tied welfare payments to behavior, including requiring recipients to engage in work-related activities, not need. Thompson stiffened the requirements in 1994. The country took notice as Wisconsin welfare rolls plummeted.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton teamed up with a Republican Congress to enact the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, a welfare overhaul reflecting much of the new policies in Wisconsin. The law was reauthorized in 2006.

Advocates working on behalf of single mothers say the law, which ended government’s obligation to provide minimum support to impoverished single heads of households, has exacerbated poverty.

“It definitely has played a role in the demise of the city,” said Sangita Nayak, an organizer with 9to5 National Association of Working Women, an advocacy group based here.

In 2006, 12 percent of Wisconsin women lived in poverty, compared to 9.7 percent of men, according to census data.

Advocates see some rays of hope that life will improve for the city’s poor. In April, voters elected the only woman to the 15-member city council; in May, a philanthropist gave $50 million to boost low-income neighborhoods; and in June, the state opened a new department to improve the life of children and families.

But without the welfare benefits, poor women are giving up on government to help them survive, said Joyce Mallory, a former program director at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families in Madison. “A lot of people just stop trying,” she said. “They just figure, ‘Hey, I’ll try to get by. I’ll do whatever I have to do.'”

Some 15 million U.S. women live in poverty, according to 2006 Census data collated by the Washington-based National Women’s Law Center. Poverty rates are especially high among women of color, older women and single mothers. Black and Hispanic women are about twice as likely to be poor than white women. Roughly 1 in 5 elderly women are poor, as are 1 in 3 single mothers.

For many, poverty has worsened in recent years due to the shrinking economy, higher unemployment rates and the rising cost of fuel and food.

That is especially true in Milwaukee, now the seventh poorest city in the nation. Here, temporary homeless shelters have become permanent, food pantries are pleading for donations to meet demand and public schools now serve universal free breakfasts, Mallory said.

Like many other cities in the Rust Belt–the swath of industrial states that stretch from the Northeast through the Midwest–Milwaukee has seen a steady loss of jobs, many in the decent-paying manufacturing sector.

Economic downturns hit women the hardest because they earn less then men; are more likely to work part-time; are less likely to be eligible for unemployment insurance; are less likely to have health insurance; and are more likely to leave their jobs because of caregiving responsibilities, domestic violence, or harassment or stalking.

Since the welfare overhaul, the number of recipients plunged as many found stable employment. At the same time, the number of single mothers who are unemployed and who receive no welfare assistance has doubled, from 16 percent in 1996 to nearly 33 percent in 2005, or 1 in 3 single parents.

Wisconsin’s welfare provides unemployed single heads of households with children payments of up to $673 a month and the parent must participate in at least 40 hours of assigned work, work-related activities or training programs a week. That averages to about $4.20 an hour, considerably below the current minimum wage of $5.85 an hour, which is set to increase to $7.25 per hour next July.

Parents can apply for county-based programs to help them pay with child care, medical treatment and food. Some parents can work part-time for pro-rated benefits.

Proponents say the effort to move people from welfare to work has been a tremendous success, helping parents–especially single mothers–find stable jobs to support their families. The welfare overhaul, they say, has also helped women collect child support.

“Welfare reform stands as a signal achievement, in my judgment, in social reform policy,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt said in a 2006 speech marking the law’s 10th anniversary. “The act brought significant improvements in the lives of many Americans by helping them break the cycle of dependency and encouraging them to pursue self-sufficiency.”

He pointed to a 57 percent decline in the national welfare caseload between 1996 and 2006.

Nowhere has that been more evident than in Wisconsin, where welfare participation has dropped from 90,000 in 1996 to 6,400 today, said Reggie Bicha, head of the state’s Department of Children and Family Services. In 2007, over 5,000 participants found work, with an average hourly wage of $8.54.

But critics say the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

More single mothers are employed now than were in the 1990s, according to Liz Schott, a welfare expert at the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

But recent declines suggest a healthy economy–rather than changes to welfare–helps people transition to work, she said. And many of those now working are still poor because they do not earn enough to afford child care, transportation and other work expenses, she added.

Moreover, the government did not implement a mechanism to track those who left the system. Countless others are now homeless and living in extreme poverty, she added.

“This is going to catch up with us,” Schott said. “We no longer have the very, very, very weak safety net that we used to have for poor families with children.”

Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief at Women’s eNews.
Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org.

http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=3658

Toronto’s homeless women are living in life-threatening conditions, with one in five being sexually assaulted in the past year, according to a report.

A survey of 97 homeless Toronto women released jointly by non-profit community agencies Street Health and Sistering, both of Toronto, found that 37 percent have been physically assaulted in the past year.

Twenty-one percent reported being sexually assaulted in the same time period.

“If you’re locked out of a shelter and you have nowhere to sleep, where do you go?” study coordinator Kate Mason, of Street Health, said in an interview.

“These women are at risk of being exploited. They’re extremely vulnerable,” she said.

Homelessness among women is often overlooked because women are more likely than men to find temporary living arrangements, such as sleeping on a friend’s couch, Mason said.

But 50 percent said they have not been able to access a shelter bed at least once in the part year, leaving them vulnerable to attacks that will likely go unreported.

“By the time women are homeless, they’re often at a point where they don’t want to go to police about a crime,” Mason said.

What’s more, victims often don’t want to approach police for fear of being charged with illegal activities, such as panhandling, or fear of further assault. Earlier research had found that one in 10 homeless people have been assaulted by a police officer in the past year, Mason said.

“They don’t want to risk getting a ticket, or they’re afraid,” she explained.

Eighty-four percent reported having at least one serious physical health condition, including heart disease, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and diabetes.

“A lot of these conditions are life-threatening on their own, and even more so for the homeless. These chronic conditions often go unmanaged,” Mason said.

Mental health issues were also prevalent with 29 percent reporting bouts of depression and 19 percent suffering from anxiety.

The women in the study were homeless for an average of three years. Forty-two percent said they lived on C$2,400 or less per year. ($1=$1.02 Canadian)

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N23487364.htm

An ABC investigation has found that the public housing shortage is forcing women in relationships involving severe domestic violence to wait as long as two years for permanent accommodation.

The South Australian Women’s Housing Association has more than 500 women and their children on a public housing waiting list.

Last month the Domestic Violence Crisis Centre received 196 calls from women in need of emergency accommodation.

With Adelaide’s women’s shelters at capacity, more than 160 of them could not be offered a place.

Gilian Cordell from the Crisis Service says the situation is critical.

“We don’t know where to advise clients now, we’ve got to a point where we feel desperate,” she said.

Housing SA provides financial assistance for up to six nights emergency hotel accommodation, but domestic violence services say after that many women are being left with nowhere to go.

The State Government says it is trialing a family safety program to ensure adequate services for people in domestic violence are being provided.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/22/2253164.htm?section=australia

New Report Points to Gaping Holes in Recovery and Calls for Action

“They tried deliberately to separate our children from us. I was one that fought for my child. . . . I told [the National Guard] he may as well take that rifle and start putting bullet holes in my head cause I’m getting off this truck and getting my baby.”

These words come from one of dozens of women interviewed for a new report exposing the nightmarish experiences of women during and after New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina. It makes a shocking tale of more than two years of hard times at the hands of nature and the bureaucracy.

Women in the Wake of the Storm: Examining the Post-Katrina Realities of the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast was released at the 2008 Economic Justice Summit in Atlanta GA today. It was issued by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and funded by Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc., a women’s organization devoted to improving economic and social conditions for women and girls.

“The women of New Orleans have been abandoned, not only in the immediate aftermath of the storm, but still today, over two years later, by the dearth of adequate policy response to their lingering severe needs,” according to the report author, Dr. Avis A. Jones-DeWeever, Director of the Research, Public Policy and Information Center, National Council of Negro Women.

“The women of New Orleans deserve a chance to rebuild their homes and their lives, to live in a place free of the constant threat of physical or sexual abuse, and have fair and equal access to jobs that offer decent wages,” Jones-DeWeever said.

Right now, that is not a likelihood, according to the report, which sees continuing patterns of unfairness and discriminatory policy, disadvantaging women, children, the elderly and the poor.

Her report is based on interviews with 38 women who lived through Katrina, ranging in age from 19 to 66, from diverse ethnicities, including Black, White, Latina and Creole. All have contributed to their community as volunteers, activists, organizers or public service professionals.

The report documents the way that “recovery” efforts are being used to actually worsen life for many vulnerable victims. The affordable housing issue is one such instance. Katrina severely damaged or completely destroyed 142,000 housing units, of which about 80 per cent were affordable-to-low income housing. But the city and federal governments are now destroying 4,500 public housing units that survived the storm, and replacing them with only 744 units of low-income housing and more housing for those who can afford more expensive units.

Meanwhile, fair market rents have risen 46 per cent since recovery began, reflecting limited availability of rental housing.

The report also documents how the housing shortage has dramatically increased sexual assaults on women and children, as extended families are forced to share smaller quarters and battered wives are forced by the housing shortage to return to their abusers for shelter.

Only one domestic violence shelter survived the storm and it is filled to capacity.

The report also notes that though individual houses may be rebuilt, it’s not the same thing as rebuilding whole neighborhoods, which would restore the community. So, many survivors, especially among the elderly, may never regain their sense of “being back home.”

Jones-DeWeever also documents failures in the restoration of health services, especially for the poor and those whose health or mental health were compromised by the trauma of the storm.

The women’s words draw a powerful picture:

“The same people who were left behind during the storm have been left behind in rebuilding it. The elderly, the young, single mothers.”

“Since Katrina sexual assault has gone sky high. Because you have more women staying with relatives, more sexual assaults happen.”

“Kids are living with seventeen different cousins and sharing bedrooms, and uncle so-and-so is in the trailer. It’s very upsetting to me that sexual abuse is becoming part of the Katrina experience for children. The more that the government fails to provide housing, the longer this goes on.”

“This disaster caused a lot of women who had been separated from their batterers to go back to them because they lost their homes.”

“I was a teacher for 25 and a half years and was arbitrarily fired because they fired all Orleans Parish School Board employees right after Katrina. So now I’m an unemployed school teacher with no health benefits, living in a house where I’m paying more rent than I was paying for my house note.”

“I went in for the blood work, did all the prep work, and the woman came in, ‘I know that you’re scheduled for surgery in two days, but you have no insurance.’ The insurance company said that they weren’t paid during Katrina.”

“It’s not that we just don’t have health services, we don’t have public schools, we don’t have daycare.”

“The biggest thing, don’t forget about us.”

The report’s author reports that many New Orleans women felt that their voices went unheard “both in the initial chaos” and throughout the recovery period.

Jones-DeWeever proposes a “gender-informed disaster relief strategy” that includes making affordable housing a top priority; the use of both non-traditional job training and enforcement of laws against job discrimination to help incorporate women in the rebuilding economy; increased availability of quality child care and schools; and targeting medical and mental health services to the needy.

The report also calls for a broad representation of women on decision-making bodies that address disaster recovery, and any future bodies formed for pre-disaster planning.

Women in the Wake of the Storm: Examining the Post-Katrina Realities of the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is available online at http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/D481.pdf

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialogue, and strengthen families, communities, and societies. IWPR focuses on issues of poverty and welfare, employment and earnings, work and family, health and safety, and women’s civic and political participation.

Soroptimist, headquartered in Philadelphia, works to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. The organization funded the IWPR study to shed light on the disproportionate effects of natural disasters on women and girls. For more information, visit http://www.soroptimist.org.

Institute For Women’s Policy Research, 1707 L Street, N.W., Suite 750, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 785-5100 – Press Release http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/D481release.pdf

Examining the Post-Katrina Realities of the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast – the full report can be downloaded from http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/D481.pdf

Lunch at the House of Lords on Monday 10th March 2008
To celebrate International Women’s Day

Guests should arrive from 12 pm for seating at 12.30 pm. Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green has once again kindly agreed to sponsor the event.

We are delighted to advise that this year’s speaker is Anne Owers, CBE, Chief Inspector of Prisons. As with past events, all money raised will be donated to a charity nominated by Baroness Uddin.

For £70 per person we are offering three courses with wine and coffee and a pre-lunch drink. You can reserve a table for 10 at £650 per table or, if you prefer, you may book individual places.

To secure your place you need to complete and return a booking form available from Claudia Newsam at Central & Cecil Housing.

Reservations will be made on a first come first served basis on receipt of your cheque.

This is a very popular event, so we recommend early booking to secure your place.

After you make your booking we will send out a formal invitation. Due to security arrangements at the House of Lords, it is essential that you bring the innvitation with you on the day