Rrenewable Energy Grants for UK Homeowners

Grants are available to UK property owners to help save energy and make their homes more eco-friendly. Cash is available for installing solar voltaic energy; Courtesy of DemeesterThe UK government aims to meet stringent renewable energy targets, and as a result there are a number of grants available to improve the energy efficiency of private homes. Here is a summary of the grants available, and who can benefit from them.

Clean Energy Cashback Scheme

The Clean Energy Cashback Scheme was introduced in 2010, to compensate individuals and companies generating their own electricity. Participants are paid a feed-in tariff (FIT) to correspond to the amount of electricity they generate, whether they use it themselves or it is fed into the National Grid. This scheme is available for a range of forms of renewable energy generation, but private householders are most likely to receive it for installing solar electricity, or a wind turbine.

In order to qualify for this grant; householders must first arrange for the installation of a suitable product. The installation must be carried out by a technician registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The cost of installation must be paid by the householder, but it is suggested that a re-mortgage could be used to finance the work. The energy savings and the FIT payments should more than compensate for the extra monthly mortgage payments, according to the Government Grants website.

This scheme is only really appropriate for householders who are in the position to be able to re-mortgage, or otherwise raise the funds needed to install the necessary equipment. The large upfront payment may put many people off, but participants will benefit from substantial energy cost savings immediately.

Insulation Grants

Insulation grants for installing cavity wall insulation or loft installation, are available to all home-owners and private landlords. Those claiming certain benefits are eligible for 100% grants, covering the full cost of the installation. Other individuals can claim grants representing between 50% and 75% of the cost, depending on individual circumstances.

Gas Central Heating Grant

Grants of up to £3500 are available for the installation of new gas fired central heating systems, with significantly larger grants available for properties requiring oil-fired systems. Householders claiming certain benefits, including housing benefit or council tax benefit, are eligible to apply for these Warm Front Grants. For a full list of eligibility criteria, see the Government Grant website.

Renewable Energy

Following the introduction of the Clean Energy Cashback Scheme; grants for the installation of household energy efficiency equipment, such as air source pumps, ground pumps, solar thermal hot water, and wood-burning stoves, are no longer available. However, the purchase of such equipment through re-mortgage is still encouraged, as energy savings may compensate for the increase in loan repayments.

Grants for Low Emission Vehicles

In December 2010, the Government announced a new incentive scheme consisting of grants to aid in the purchase of new energy efficient vehicles. Nine electric and low-emission petrol cars are included in the scheme, which effectively reduces the retail price of these vehicles by up to 25%.

Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

Grand Turk is the capital of Turks and Caicos Islands, located 90 miles north of Hispanola; the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Contrary to what its name implies; Grand Turk Island only measures 7 miles long. If you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation but do not want to brave the crowded sand in the more popular spots, you have found your place.

Book a room with a view of the beach: The island has retained its British colonial flavour, with wild donkeys and horses running in public fields and bright-coloured antique buildings; some of which have been turned into hotels and are conveniently located steps away from the shore.

You can certainly dive and snorkel in the beautiful Caribbean sea, but while on terra firma take a walk around town to meet the locals. An ethnically diverse group populates the island: Haitians, Grand Turk aborigines, and some United Kingdom natives, give this island a worldly flavour.

Visit the architectural highlights: The Methodist Church boasts quaint architecture, with exposed wooden beams running along the roof and white fans to keep the parishioners cool during prayer. The Simmons House is reminiscent of New Orleans French Quarter architecture. The Coverly Residence is a small, sinister, yet intriguing residence on Front Street, dating back to the 1830s, that is reputed to be haunted.

Try the conch fritters: These spicy balls are made with fresh conch, dusted with flour and deep-fried until golden. After your meal, find one of the local stores and get some quenepes; native fruit of the land.

Collect jewellery: Electric blue and jade sun-kissed glass pieces, make an excellent and inexpensive souvenir, and if you have any creative inclination; buy some wire from your local craft store and you can make some jewellery while watching the tides from your seafront hotel room.

See the video below for some great fun activities to enjoy in Grand Turk.

Data Security Protection; How to Secure Data and Networks

Information security and risk management are the single biggest needs any business has besides profits. So many businesses are being broken into, hacked by thieves and become victims of ID fraud, themselves. Information is stolen and exploited and bank accounts get drained.

There are data security technologies that can better ensure the security of data, employee records and the company’s accounts, and a few simple procedures that will help enable true security.

Control Network Security
  1. Require ID for all employees, even new hires; take care of photo ID before their first day. Instruct all employees that if there’s no ID, then there’s no entry. Strangers are huge threats to data security.
  2. Most industries are public-oriented and service-minded and letting a new hire or client in the office would be preferred. However, when there is an IT security risk, this is not the case. All workers should be instructed on what to do in this situation so nobody is caught off guard.
  3. Piggyback entry, or holding the front door open for others to enter the building should be highly discouraged, no matter how bad the weather may be. Threats to network security sometimes walk in the front door.
  4. Be aware of strangers already inside the office with no obvious form of ID showing and they’re unescorted by someone who works there. Information security vulnerability is seriously higher when strangers get access.
  5. Computer security policy should say that all unattended offices should be locked up tight, with the computer turned off, especially if they contain sensitive information or electronic assets.
  6. Never store passwords on the machine, in a file, taped to the bottom of the monitor or keyboard, or anywhere near the computer. Hide it away from there, making it harder for anyone to grab it and get what they want. Paperless environments and clean-desk policies should be strictly enforced to reduce threats to computer security.
  7. Wireless devices can make security nonexistent if left undiscovered for any length of time. Wireless implements can be very helpful to a business, but a monitor for rogue wireless devices is imperative to stop harmful devices right away, keeping data safe.
  8. The information security system should tell people that administrative access to secure programs should be kept to a bare minimum. The fewer passwords and people that access it, the less the risk of breach is. And, don’t link programs together so that the password to one will get someone access into another, as well.
  9. Users shouldn’t be able to install or download certain file types on the business computer without the IT security manager’s knowledge and permission.
  10. Only if user names and passwords must be stored on a list somewhere, make sure they’re encrypted and that a very select few have access.
  11. There should be a limited number of users who are authorized as domain administrators to limit network security issues. There should be different, more strict password restrictions and no sharing accounts. Each user should have their own specific accounts with separate and unique passwords.
  12. A network monitoring or intrusion detection system are important installations. These programs will alert users to intrusion attempts as they happen.
  13. Having a security management procedure in place for the incidence response team is imperative before the incidence can take place. That way, everyone knows what to do when the alert is sounded.
  14. A picture is worth a thousand words, or, a million bucks (or the amount the company is worth plus profits). Video surveillance is of utmost importance and it should be accessible off-site to only the head of network security administrators, on a secure connection. Cameras may deter some crooks, but unless there’s recording, the cameras don’t do much good.
  15. Do background checks on all employees, and make sure to know which ones are a risk to IT network security and which ones don’t.

If these simple steps are taken care of, there shouldn’t be too much concern for the safety of the company’s secrets, data or money. Just be aware.

Prawn Croquettes or Croquetas de Gambas

Spanish Tapas Dishes Make in Advance, Use Leftovers for Finger Food

Prawn Croquettes or ham or cheese croquettes are a great way to use up leftover food. Make these bites in advance for great little finger food tapas.

Croquettes are popular throughout Spain, they can be made from leftover bits of cheese, ham, jamon, chicken or fish. They are better served hot but can also be served cold with a garlic or chilli dip or mayonnaise.

For a great starter or tapas these prawn croquettes can be made in advance and put in the fridge or even frozen. If they are frozen they need to thaw out naturally and be fairly dry before frying or they tend to fall apart in the hot oil.

Try this version of Prawn Croquettes, then maybe next time alter the flavourings: add some mixed herbs or paprika perhaps a pinch of chilli powder. Have fun experimenting, the batch of mixture could be halved and then different flavourings added to each half. Adding some lemon juice with a fish mixture gives them an alternative taste.

Prawn Croquettes – Croquetas de Gambas Recipe

Ingredients for 12 croquettes
Read on
Tapas a bite of Spain By Janet Mendel
Spanish Tapas – Croquettes
Mediterranean Prawn Dish – Gambas al Pil Pil
55gm butter
55g plain flour
300ml cold milk
400gm peeled prawn, cooked and chopped
Tomato puree or tomato frito
55gm breadcrumbs, fine bought ones are best
1 large egg, beaten well
olive oil for frying
Parsley, for garnishing
Lemon wedges for serving

In a saucepan melt the butter then slowly stir in the flour, let it cook for a minute or two, stirring all the time.

Add the milk very gradually, stirring well to avoid any lumps forming, until it becomes a lovely thick smooth sauce.

Add the chopped prawns, tomato paste and seasoing and continue to cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring continuously. The mixture needs to be fairly thick.
Let this prawn mixture cool down completely, overnight is better, but not absolutely necessary.

it’s time to shape the mixture use a spoon and scoop up about half a tablespoon then shape it into a cylinder, repaet with all the mixture.
Then cover the croquettes in breadcrumbs first then the beaten egg,. then breadcrumbs again.

They can now be frozen or put in the fridge for a day or two.

When it’s time to cook the croquettes, heat up the oil in a pan so that it is at least 3cm deep. Fry the cylinders for about 5 minutes each until they become a lovely golden brown colour.

Remove carefully with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper then transfer them onto a serving plate and garnish with parsley and wedges of lemon.

The Influence of Society on the Individual

Weber and Durkheim offer different approaches to how socialization occurs, what the processes and stages are and to what degree society influences us in our daily lives.

There are two differing conflicting points of view when examining the influence of socialization on the individual. The “objective view”, building on theories by Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), claims that society has a strong influence on the individuals who need to adapt themselves to an already determined fixed society. The “subjective view”, following ideas by Max Weber (1864-1920), claims that the response or reaction of the individual is a determining factor that constantly and consistently shapes and molds society itself.

What is Socialization?

Socialization is the process through which people become acquainted with and learn about their culture and are then transformed into members of their society. Culture represents values and ideals transmitted from generation to generation which then give rise to an individual identity embedded in that particular culture. Individuals gain specific knowledge and necessary abilities to participate and become active members of social life; this in turn influences the characteristic and unique behaviors of their society.

The Three Stages of Socialization

There are three different stages of socialization that take place at given moments in one’s life. The first one occurs when individuals become part of a nuclear family and develop a sense of themselves as separate and distinct from the world outside. In this case, parents are important agents that teach each individual about culture and society.

The second stage is the realization that parents are not the only social factors in life, as the child enters school, meets and has contact with other people and learns about various rules of social contract, control and values, apart from the family home.

The third stage signifies the point where the individuals internalize cultural models of society and after assimilating these rules, they convert them into their own personal rules of conduct and behavior in life.

Durkheim’s Theory

Durkheim believes that social facts are outside of the individual. A social fact is any kind of behavior or model of thinking and feeling that characterizes a given society. Education serves as means to convert individuals into fully functioning members of society. As a result, each person becomes a product of their society.

Weber’s Theory

Weber believed that society cannot exist without the actions of its members, its individuals. Social facts are accumulated actions of individuals of a society. To Weber, society is made up of active subjects involved in interaction with each other.

A Combination of Both Views

As in many major debates regarding, such as nature versus nurture, there is often an interaction of both forces. Society influences the individual, yet the individual exerts an amount of influence on his or her society. It also depends on various other factors, such as psychological make-up of the individual which ought to be considered and taken into account as well.

Get Physically Fit the Right Way

Strength training can deliver varying health benefits and results based on the person, diet, and rest. Most people struggle with plateauing when working with free weights.

Each year lots of people make the effort to add more exercise into their daily routine. However, some individuals tend to set their sights higher by trying to bulk up as much muscle as possible, but if you’re following the incorrect steps or methods; desirable results will be a lot harder to achieve. If you’re wondering how to get ripped and maintain lasting results, you’ll need to learn the right way to go about it.

Don’t Go Overboard

Putting together an exercise regimen that is too physically strenuous might make you feel like you’re accomplishing something but in reality, you’re putting too much wear and tear on your body, and may end up in the physio’s office, needing treatment. While it may be hard to do at first, take things down a notch at the gym. According to Ask Men, you should cut down on the total number of reps and sets, but maintain the same intensity to “preserve your strength and muscle tissue mass.” Ask Men provides the following example to illustrate this concept: “…if you used to do four sets of bench-pressing consisting of 6 reps and 180 pounds, knock that down to 2 or 3 sets of bench-pressing consisting of 6 reps at that same 180 pounds. Maintaining the same poundage is what is going to be absolutely key here. Even if it means doing only a single set, the weight should stay up.”

Prevent Plateauing Through Proper Recovery

Want to ensure you don’t get the results you want: Ignore the recovery period after each workout. According to Men’s Health, people hit plateaus in the gym due to inadequate rest and/or nutrition. The reason for this is because during the recovery period; which should include quality naps and getting plenty of sleep each night; is the time where your body delivers vital nutrients to the muscles and other parts of the body. Doing this is what gets your muscles ripped over time.

Another part where rest plays a crucial role in your end results is during the workout itself; you should never go hard in a workout without taking a break. According to Tom from Burn the Fat, the amount of rest time between workouts is determined by the type of workout being performed. For example, if you’re doing strength training and it’s a max out week; meaning you will be lifting the maximum amount of weight for one repetition, you should train three times a week on non-consecutive days. The reason for this is because maxing out puts a lot of strain on your muscles and central nervous system. When you go to lighter weights with increased reps, there is less damage and strain to muscles and nervous system, thus being able to train 4-6 times per week.

Don’t be afraid to utilise all the resources available to you at your local gym. If there’s a personal trainer available, use one; their expertise isn’t for show, it is for the purpose of educating you about the proper way to exercise, so you’ll avoid the common mistakes and guarantee lasting results that you’ll not only be happy with, but will have the ability to maintain in the years to come.

How To Find Paralegal Jobs

So you have completed your training as a paralegal, but now you are in a quandary as to how to find gainful employment. Many students who have just gotten out of training are usually looking during the months of June, July and August. Unfortunately, so is everyone else. There are a number of options that you can try, but part of the process is being patient and getting your name out there for solicitors firms to notice.

About October/November, there are usually a lot more vacancies for paralegals again, but now the agencies can afford to be less fussy about experience.

Many places want someone who has experience in the field before they will hire them. So how does one get the experience if no one will give you a chance. It is a vicious cycle. One thing that you can do is volunteer to do some unpaid work to get the experience. The firm you provide the unpaid work may be interested in hiring you part time or full time depending on how many hours will be needed.

Graduate Paralegal Jobs In London

Many people are looking for jobs when they finally graduate college to try to start a legal career. Here are a few graduate paralegal jobs you can find in London:

Personal Injury – Graduates/Paralegals

The individuals in this company are experts with elevated supplier status with many of the UK’s premier law firms. They do not employ high volumes of advisors. Instead, they have a family method. They build a relationship with you built on trust. They offer candidates incentives. They accommodate conversations and meetings with you so that you can get a full understanding about the company.

LPC Graduate – Wills and Probate Paralegal – Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment

This company has a few offices based around London. They have an excellent reputation within the Legal market. They are also a multi-servcie law firm. The individual works along side of the secretarial staff. You will support the wills and probate function by supplying administrative, PA, and secretarial support.

Commercial Paralegal

This is a rapidly growing organisation recruiting paralegals to handle noncontentious commercial work. This firm is based in Merseyside. This is an outstanding opportunity for a LPC graduate, preferably with six months of experience, while working towards a training contract.

Graduate Entry Level Paralegal

In this company, you are required to join a small Devon consultancy organisation. They specialise in the compromising of agreements with GP’s and hospitals nationwide for their involvement in clinical trials. Your key tasks will contain negotiating agreements in agreement with the client expectations, contacting clients by telephone or email on contract budget/ language progress, documenting past experience information, and insuring precise tracking of all agreements.

Debt Recovery Paralegal

This firm is a highly successful Legal two hundred practice. It was first established over one hundred and twenty years ago. They have an outstanding reputation for supplying high quality advice across all their services.


Are 100% UK Mortgages Still Possible?

During the property boom, 100% mortgages were available. With falling house prices and negative equity, first-time buyers are finding that 25% house deposits are normal.

Things were very different just a few years ago: Rising house prices quickly created equity, loan defaults were low, and house repossession rates were minimal. In those times, lenders were happy to allow borrowers to take out a 100% mortgage. The world is now a very different place.

One of the biggest obstacles a first-time buyer faces, in terms of getting a foot on the property ladder, is raising a sufficient house deposit. The 100% mortgage helped many first-time buyers get round this problem, but this is no longer an option in the current economic climate.

Falling House Prices and Negative Equity

Falling house prices and the risk of negative equity have led to 100% mortgages being withdrawn from the market, which gives most owners less chance of selling your home. Northern Rock got into massive financial trouble by over-exposing itself to property. They created a mountain of bad debt by offering 125% mortgages to borrowers. Loan default problems set in when the inevitable effects of house price falls and negative equity set in.

According to a report by Standard and Poor; falling house prices were plunging 60,000 people a month into negative equity.

The Availability of 100% Mortgages

There aren’t currently many financial institutions providing 100% mortgages without collateral. However, it is possible for a first-time buyer to get a 100% mortgage, provided that they have a guarantor. A guarantor is normally a parent or friend who uses their own home as collateral in the event of loan default.Although the 100% mortgage is no longer feasible for many first-time buyers, it is still possible to get a 90% mortgage. However, those seeking a 90% LTV can expect to pay a higher APR, due to the higher risk of negative equity and loan default.

Most first-time buyers require a house deposit of 25%. However, there are some 90% and 95% mortgage deals available, for those with good credit and employment prospects. Whether a first-time buyer should be considering buying without a large house deposit, is a matter of some conjecture.Those seeking the best mortgage deal should also consider utilising the services of a mortgage broker, to help reduce mortgage repayments.

Emergency Loans for When It’s Absolutely Necessary

If you find yourself facing financial hardship, a payday loan might be the best solution. Payday loans are short-term loans, and you will be expected to pay the money back when you receive your next pay packet. If you delay repaying a payday loan the interest rate will rise substantially, so make sure you do not ask to borrow more than you can afford to pay back.

The good thing about payday loans is you do not have to have a decent credit score to apply. It is important that you can show proof of income, and if you are unable to you will most probably not receive a payday loan. The amount you will be able to borrow depends on your pay check, and if the lender thinks you will be able to pay the money back on time.

It is very easy to apply for a payday loan, you need to do is find a reputable lender online and fill out some simple details. You must be over 18 years of age and have a bank account. Once they lender approves your loan, the money will be in your account within just a few hours.

Just like with any other loan, payday loans need to be repaid in full plus interest. Because no credit checks are done when you apply for a payday loan, this type of loan is considered to be high risk and therefore the interest is more than a regular bank loan. If you default on your repayments, the lender is likely to give you an extension of one week, but everytime an extension is granted the interest will go up further.

Do not be taken in by all the hype over payday loans, as some advertisements claim they are the solution to all your financial problems. Although they can help you out when you are in our financial fix, you should not rely on payday loans on a regular basis because eventually you will find that the interest makes it very difficult to pay consecutive loans back on time.

Therefore, one should think of payday loans is a solution to a financial emergency but not something that one should take out when circumstances do not deem it absolutely necessary. Also, when you are looking for a payday loan lender make sure you are dealing directly with the lender rather than payday loan brokers. Payday can brokers will also take a fee for putting you in touch with the lender which will push your repayments up further.

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