Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My Help to Buy Scheme Experience- Putting the Wheels in Motion

The Help to Buy scheme (check out my other post in this category for predeceasing article) is a government scheme designed to allow a buyer to purchase a home with a 5% deposit & a 20% equity loan provided by the government. That being said, they outsource 99.9% of the work to local housing associations to deal with. The best way to start investigating whether this would be a viable option for you is to visit the Help to Buy website for your area. Mine was the South of England; http://www.helptobuysouth.co.uk. The website will direct you to all local housing developments that support the Help to Buy scheme and will also give you a breakdown of what sort of properties are available at each location. Unfortunately, absolutely none of this existed when I applied. I was directed to Catalyst Housing (http://www.chg.org.uk/) who were, to summarise, absolutely shite. They never answered an email, would direct me to endless voicemail boxes & I'm not actually sure whether the end goal was to sell houses or just piss people off. Things have improved dramatically in the past 18 months and Catalyst are not actually representing the scheme anymore. YAY. There is also a lot more help available directly from the government than there was last year. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/help-to-buy-equity-loan-guidance-and-application-forms for some guides and FAQs.

Why has Reddit turned to "Fat Shaming" with such enthusiasm?

Reddit for me was always my favourite site to fall asleep to. It was lovely to browse pages and pages of pointless pictures and interesting articles. I can't count the hours I've spent on /r/TIFU or /r/AskReddit & I consider none of it as wasted time, I thoroughly enjoyed every second.

Until Fat Shaming.

Recently, posts which make references to "Ham Planets" have amassed up-votes. Disgustingly abusive posts related to Rebel Wilson or Kelly Clarksons' recent weight gain have lingered around the first few pages of the Front page. /r/fatpeoplehate has now got 63,348 people subscribed to it and I've even heard mention of a "Fat Shaming Week".

I'm not upset that fat people are being made to feel bad about themselves. I am upset that any one group of people is being made to feel bad about themselves and that the "trolls" involved are getting so much support from the wider community. We, as Redditors, have achieved great things. I was part of the 2014 Reddit Secret Santa program and it was really amazing to see everybody put so much trust in a complete stranger and swap weird/wonderful gifts. Bill Gates even got involved (http://uk.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-reddit-secret-santa-gift-2014-12)! When Hurricane Sandy happened people offered their homes and food to others & even got together to search for survivors in the aftermath. They organised this via the hurricane subreddit board.

Reddit used to be an educated community. I don't mean that every user was a MENSA member, but users were open to having their opinions challenged and also intelligent enough to challenge others in an engaging and sensitive manner, without the need for cruel names or online bullying. Is this emerging ignorance & hostility the result of the diversification of the typical "Reddit User"?

PLEASE help me preserve the beautiful mess that is Reddit. Spread love, not hate. Be supportive, be wise, be kind!
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