Letter from the editor

Welcome to UnemployedNet, the homepage for the unemployed and economically inactive and those with an interest in these issues. We want to support all of you to deal with unemployment and its challenges, to get back in to work and to receive the best possible services to help you do this. We also want to support those who receive benefits, including disabled people and those on sickness benefit, lone parents and income support recipients, with information and support on living on a low income and making the most of life.

The site has been established with an ambitious aim – to be the homepage for the unemployed and economically inactive. No such online resource exists, and we believe that, in aiming to help you deal with all your most pressing issues, we will become vital to the improvement in the circumstances of unemployed and economically inactive people that we are working towards.

We founded this site after many years of working with unemployed and economically inactive people, and hearing of your frustrations at the lack of availability of online support to improve your circumstances and lives. The founders of the site and all UnemployedNet’s writers are or have been unemployed; we understand what is needed because we have seen both sides.

We want the site to offer as much support as possible, which is why it combines resources to help you with your search for work, make nutritious low cost meals, save money on your bills, get the right benefits, choose a training course, find a free event and get advice from others. We offer a comprehensive news service, as well as a range of bloggers who will help keep you up-to-date on the site, job seeking, and the inside information recruiters won’t tell you.

Unemployment brings a range of challenges. The support we provide includes the things our experiences tell us are most valuable to unemployed and economically inactive people as well as those that have been requested, but please tell us if there is a new topic you would like to see covered or resource you would find helpful and we will add more information if at all possible.

UnemployedNet recognises that the world around unemployed and economically inactive people sometimes works against you, eroding confidence and motivation and making the search for work, as well as living a satisfying life, harder. To help overcome this we campaign for a better deal, including on benefits, wages, and political and media representation. We want you to get involved so please see our campaigns homepage for more information.

Unemployed people are customers of a range of government and other services, and should be treated as customers with all the respect and recognition that comes with this relationship. To help encourage this we encourage both unemployed people and service providers (including those working for Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers) to use UnemployedNet’s forums to communicate with each other, in the belief that this will break down boundaries and lead to a better understanding for both.

We believe that real change comes through engagement and partnership rather than confrontation, and want to engage with as many organisations with an interest in this area as possible, including government, voluntary sector and private sector agencies. We have established a charter that sets out the overall aims of UnemployedNet, and want to work with all those that have an interest in achieving them.

We have also set out our principles. The most important is that we are apolitical, supporting unemployed and economically inactive people rather than a political party. That doesn’t mean we shy away from confronting politicians where necessary, but our focus is on getting the best deal for our users no matter which party is in government.

Many institutions and organisations need to improve the way they represent unemployed people, and we focus on two of the most important, government and the media. Where media misrepresent unemployed people, we respond with more appropriate information to balance the debate. Where politicians misrepresent unemployed people, we respond and engage with them to try to gain improvements in both language and policy.

It is vital for unemployed people to use the democratic process to get better political representation, and to support this we are running an ongoing campaign for unemployed people to register to vote, to work through our site to hold politicians to account, and to use your vote in every election. If we vote together we can get real change in the way we are treated and represented.

We want to represent all unemployed and economically inactive people, and this site presents a full range of your views. If you don’t think it does, please email nick@unemployednet.org with your suggestions for changes and any comments you have and we will incorporate them in to the site where practical and reasonable.

We hope you enjoy the site!