For parents who don't have a social network it can be daunting to build one. They may have moved for work, or they may be estranged from their family. Loneliness can knock people's confidence and send them into a deepening cycle in which it becomes harder to make friends.
What do real claimants have to say about their experiences of this system, and are they as grateful as Sarah and Zac? Evidence from case studies collected by our evaluations of two programmes suggests they are not. Sanctions rules are understood, but do not appear to be helping claimants to find work.
There is no doubt that some people are sitting smugly thinking 'this would never happen to us' however I think we all need to recognise that this could happen to any of us. This situation poses some questions?
It's my first foray into the world of volunteering since I was an adolescent. That sounds awful, especially as these days I'm in the dreaded middle age category on drop down menus, but I guess it's better late than never.
In the case of Holocaust survivors, in Europe and North America it was only in the late 1970s and 1980s that society slowly and sometimes hesitantly became willing to hear and increasingly receptive to their narratives of pain, loss, and rebuilding of their lives.
I have said this before, but I will keep banging this drum until it is fully understood: domestic violence refuges are specialist services that provide specialist support. Of course, services for survivors are not solely about refuges; for some women, going into refuge is not necessary.
We all know a country can only develop fully if all of its population has access to water and sanitation. Taps and toilets transform people's life chances, leading to better health, education and economic opportunities. It is fundamental to eradicating extreme poverty and to women and girl's empowerment.
We've all been there, standing in line to use the toilet. The wait can seem like forever, but in reality it's probably only a few inconvenient minutes. Now imagine having to wait for hours every single day just to use a private toilet, only to find the facilities lacking at the front of the queue and nothing to wash your hands with.
Of course we need a strong commitment to forest protection and restoration to come out of the Climate Summit in Paris. But we must have action as well.
More than any other COP that has gone before COP21 will place greater emphasis for action at the door of business. But why should businesses be expected to take a lead, and can they be trusted to do so?
I get a sense that there are a lot of frustrated people with disabilities, that genuinely feel that their skills and experience are disregarded in the job market because they are seen as purely a number, a tick in a tick box system.
On top of existing prohibitions on "undesirable organisations", on numerous public demonstrations, on gay pride rallies and on materials said to "promote" homosexuality, Russia's recent restrictions are faintly ludicrous and distinctly sinister.
The 49 households that make up Massesebe were under lockdown after a man who had travelled to the village from Freetown for the Eid celebrations, died of Ebola. This was the first Ebola case in Tonkolili District in five months. 498 people, including 101 children under five, were quarantined in the village and two people confirmed as being Ebola positive.
There is a deadly humanitarian crisis on our doorstep, and our current approach is compounding the problem. If the people in The Jungle were white Europeans, I have no doubt that we do everything possible to help them. Instead, we allow desperate people to exist in appalling conditions, and build fences to ensure they stay there. If I were a more courageous man, I would have brought someone back with me.
The UK is by no means the best place in the world to be disabled. But given that as a disabled person I am able to access the basic care, equipment, education, employment I need to live, I feel very privileged in comparison to the estimated one billion disabled people worldwide, of which 80% are found in developing countries.
For the sake of the dogs, campaigners must stick it out through what often seem like pitch-black dark days of hopelessness. My hopes have struggled to stay afloat, let alone rise, over the past year as UK politicians seem determinedly unwilling to make any difference in the foreseeable future to breeding dogs' lives.