Tuesday, 31 August 2010

#EY2010 lest we forget

In case you didn't know, 2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. You didn't? We forgive you!

One of the things which has really bugged us here at Zero-credit is how little media coverage there has been for #EY2010, compared to say benefit fraud and service cuts - both of which have a huge impact on the most vulnerable in our society.

As The Telegraph amply demonstrated today, whatever your politics, tackling poverty and social exclusion concerns us all. So Zero-credit is not going to let this year pass without some noise, at least. On that basis, we're on a mission - again!

There's just over seven weeks to go till the AllinOne Project in the East Midlands holds its Poverty Convention @The_Workhouse in Southwell on 18th October and we're committed to amplifying that message loud and clear, because for once, it won't be rhetoric, but personal experiences which are shared.

Here's hoping that you join us to make 2010 a year to remember, because the cost of forgetting may be too hard to bear. 

Sunday, 29 August 2010

#openhouse #openworld #openlife

There are parties and there are parties. We like best those where we share our delight in a dish or a drink, a tune or a tale, a gift given wholly to the moment we perceive. In our pursuit of happiness we console the forlorn, cajole the irritant, tend the excessive who partook too much. We cannot bear that the party should cease. Such is life.

 

For many of us, this weekend is a rite of passage, ending the summer before winter comes. There may be a few more days in the sun, there may not, so we grasp them with an appetite for the finite, sated by the certainty that it will come again. Perhaps this is why we rarely begrudge others the same simple pleasure?

 

If our world were a party, should we tolerate its destitution and demise? Could we enjoy it? There are no gifts where goods are taken: when we do not give, we cannot receive. True pleasure comes from our endless capacity for some new creation, true joy in the certainty of its return - an echo or improvement on times we have loved. Only in recognising that to own some is to own none of it, do we come anywhere close to owning it all.

 

Friday, 20 August 2010

??40 water saving

E-ON are currently giving away, free of charge, simple water saving devices for showers and toilet flushes. They estimate you'll make savings of around £40 a year from cutting water and heating costs.

 

 

 

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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Zero Klout

We have recently instructed the removal of all data pertaining to @Zerocredit_UK from http://klout.com. Our contrasting experiences of customer service from Posterous and Klout - comparable merely in that both are free and have a growing body of users - is a significant factor. We genuinely wish Klout every success in achieving what is effectively a measure of online reputation and goodwill. However, our current position is that no information is preferable to misinformation.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Tell them about the money, Mummy!

Media_httpwwwmoneybun_zxlfl

Aimed at five to seven year olds, this colourful newly launched site supports parents and teachers in starting the conversation about money with younger children. It's been developed by Money Management International, an American equivalent of CCCS, with over fifty years of financial education experience. It's very much a learning through play concept, so you could even use the resources as a credit free rainy day treat!

Want a say in how we do things?

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is open to anyone, 
aged 16 or over
with personal experience of debt.

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Friday, 13 August 2010

Barclays right up your geek street

About 56 Sage Street Game

A teenager is given one chance to make it in the city.
Two weeks ago a fresh-faced kid arrived in the city with £4 and a headful of dreams.

What they found was a tough, uncompromising place and one night a wrong turn
took them into trouble. The dream of making it looked like it was over.
But someone had seen what had happened. His name is Mr C. the self-made,
millionaire owner of the 56 Sage Street Empire. With only weeks to live, he's searching for a successor. If our hero can prove their worth to him, their dream of making it might just become a reality.

How to play

56 Sage Street is a point and click game set in a vast city, where you're free to
explore and click on hundreds of destinations. With each click you'll find work,
places to stay, new challenges and contacts to help you make it.
If you can avoid temptation and make the right decisions, life will get better and you'll
move up through the city. If you reach 56 Sage Street you'll have proven yourself
to Mr C and he'll give you his empire to run. You'll have made it. Good luck!

some great interaction about how to progress on the Facebook page for this money management game aimed at teens from Barclays, and you can share it on Twitter too!

We turned down the opportunity to make money handling fish guts, tho!

Want a say in how we do things?

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aged 16 or over
with personal experience of debt.

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fancy a ??430 pay rise?

Let's hear it for the Scots in this age of austerity, because Love Food Hate Waste could help the average household save some £430 a year. This may be a Scottish calculation but some two thirds of our groceries are binned across the UK every year.

Love Food Hate Waste has a fantastic website with ideas presented in so many ways that you're sure to find one that inspires you. They've even brought out an i-phone application! And £430 could go a very long way to paying off a debt, investing in low cost transport or insulation, even saving for a rainy day.

 

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is open to anyone, 
aged 16 or over
with personal experience of debt.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

??17bn in benefits "lost"

Media_httpwwwturn2uso_istjc

By now we've all heard about the government's intention to beat the scrounger out of us... But as Citizens Advice rightly state, there is some £17 billion in unclaimed benefits. Here's our attempt to help you access it.

Turn2us provides an online benefits checker, which does require you to have some paperwork to hand (which benefit application doesn't?) but you could start to claim some of what's actually yours. There is also information about emergency and welfare grants.

And, if you're reading this as a passing interest, you could do one of two things, share it through this or the Turn2us site directly! Perhaps then the focus will be on error and not stigmatising claimants.

Want a say in how we do things?

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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Zero-credit Ltd is born

Pigs_could_flyfarm_3

So we're up on the Companies House register! The initial Management Committee meets on Friday to confirm all the membership and subscription rules and we'll be posting those shortly. In essence, membership is open to any individual aged 16 or over with personal experience of debt for the princely sum of £1 a year. 

This entitles each and every member to vote, to stand for election to the Management Committee and to direct the business and as they see fit. Profits shall be applied to resourcing the business as it grows, with an emphasis on creating employment for those in financial difficulty -  especially the unemployed  - and ultimately to donations for social and charitable purposes. We're working on applications becoming available from September both online and in person. 

From October / November, government, groups, organisations and businesses are invited to subscribe to the research and development information we shall publish electronically. I can't tell you the subscription rates yet because that's one of the details the Management Committee needs to confirm, but I'm hoping you know Zero-credit well enough by now to know it won't break the bank.

Actually, I'm rather hoping Zero-credit Ltd will break the banks. No offence guys, but you are so far removed from the social purpose on which you were founded by the likes of my Great x 6 grandfather Sampson Lloyd that you have forgotten that for the vast majority of us you're a basic commodity, as fundamental to the ground zero of Maslow's hierarchy of needs as the potato. Consumers are your life blood. Without us, you are nothing and as you have been foolish enough to fuel a situation where millions of us are indebted, the time has come to start listening. 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Take Stock & Dole Swindle

The now infamous pages 10 and 11 of The Daily Express, Saturday July 24 2010

Paris_p10
Express_p11

'Uncompromising' clampdown to increase penalties and claw back some of the £5.2bn lost to fraud and error.  

So reports The Guardian on David Cameron's tough action on benefit fraud today. What I don't understand is how Benefit Fraud seems to cost us £5.2bn now, when it was less than a fifth of that in 2008/9. Or could it be that rather embarrassing little word that politicians hate to admit - "error"?

And why is the media hell bent on exposing low level fraudsters when tax evasion costs the Treasury £30 billion a year? Is it really okay to celebrate Paris Hilton's profligate waste of £290,000 opposite a measly £900 of rent money dipped into by a single mum? What is it - bash a beggar month? 

No. It's more sinister than that - because as close runner up to the horrors of being a benefit screcipient is the fear of becoming one - not so implausible when you look at the distribution of income:

or wealth:

You're not as comfortable as you thought, right? 

Spare a moment to question who's spinning this fraudulent yarn because whether it's charging VAT on produce that enters our country illegally, or throwing a sickie to inventing tenants, fraud is wrong. Our question is not so much who's paying for it now, but who will be if we continue like this?

-- 
Emma Bryn-Jones
Zero-credit founder: http://zero-credit.co.uk; http://twitter.com/Zerocredit_UK

Disposable income boo_st!


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

from Metro to Retro Bank?

Media_httpiusatodayne_gbtbl

Banking is fascinating sector to watch these days and it will be the canny marketer who rightly predicts its direction. Disgruntled of, well, worldwide is a multi-faceted consumer, who is fast recognising domestic banking to be a staple like bread or potatoes: consumers should not have to shop around to avoid the fiscal equivalent of food poisoning...

However, increasingly cashless we shall go, as amply demonstrated by this app for depositing cheques electronically which was brought out by JP Morgan Chase last month. Indeed, whilst Metro Bank sat pretty on its high profile launch in London last week, mobile banking continues to crack on apace and one could be forgiven for thinking investments in prime high street locations a little old school.

Perhaps not? From this tweet via @Geezeo on 21st July, it would seem that: “70% of customers surveyed didn’t know the name of anyone at their bank…” (source: @SapientNitro Customer Survey June 2010).

The intangible qualities of any service are what differentiate it from the competition, yet the financial services sector seems to have forgotten this of late, with everybody doing the automation. Watch out for those fickle consumers we say, for there is no substitute for people power and thankfully, there ain't an app for that!

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Sunday, 1 August 2010

Community Transport

In more sparsely populated areas, public transport can be a feat of precision engineering - not least when the 1985 Transport Act allows commercial operators to cut a route without accountability to the community it serves. So much for public service!

Community transport should be the answer, but services are painfully under-resourced. Volunteering as a driver or, at the very least, supporting campaigns for fair mileage are essential steps you can take to ensure your local area remains connected and the Community Transport Association will walk you through setting up a new scheme.

If you're looking for a service to use, check out a2b where there's an intereactive map to help you locate it.

 

 

Want a say in how we do things?

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is open to anyone, 
aged 16 or over
with personal experience of debt.

Come on, join us today!