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Covid-19 has highlighted NI’s lack of support for childcare
The pandemic has shown once more how important childcare is to many families in Northern Ireland – and why proper help from Stormont is essential.
Media failings make resuscitating Stormont harder
Local journalism didn’t bring down the Executive but its shortcomings perhaps greased the wheels of collapse and are helping to manage its ongoing non-existence.
Let’s talk about Shared Prosperity
Where is the consultation on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund? And, when it does come, what should a new infrastructure fund look like?
Local news is vital for communities
Newspapers are dying, but we still need news. How should we replace what is lost? Should journalism go full circle and return to its roots as a charitable cause?
East Belfast community work is ready to blossom
A multi-partner project aiming to build capacity and leadership among community groups appears to be that rare thing – an unqualified success.
Employers for Childcare publishes annual childcare report
The need to restructure childcare in Northern Ireland has long been ignored. But the campaign for change is building momentum.
Global goals lack local focus
The UN Sustainable Development Goals are nearly four years old. High-level strategies for the world (or 193 UN member nations) to build a “better and more sustainable future”. Too few people know what they are.
Childcare provision is good but there are problems with affordability and sustainability
Last month, Employers for Childcare released their ninth annual NI Childcare Cost Survey. The burden on families is enormous - but providers are also under huge strain. Reform (financial assistance and restructuring) is required.
Welfare Reform mitigations have problems that could be helped by an Executive
An Audit Office report has highlighted huge Welfare Reform underspend. Several NI organisations say bigger problems are coming. With no Assembly, we are rudderless – but Stormont struggled to deal with this first time round.
Helping young people in difficult circumstances is challenging – but organisations are well placed to assist each other
Partnership doesn’t have to mean joint projects – it can just be about regularly sharing ideas. The response of several youth groups brought together by the Urban Villages Initiative shows the value of strategic co-operation.
The potential for citizens’ income remains a hopeful, tricky mystery
An experiment with citizens’ income has been enthusiastically branded a failure before any results are in. The truth is less straightforward – and unclear. Regardless, creative thinking needs support, not scorn.
Childcare – a local problem
A lack of vision and direction means parents, providers and their staff, employers, the local economy – and, above all, children – are all missing out.
Secular disagreements and the risk of circular discussions
Northern Ireland - like much of the world - is becoming more secular. However, this means different things to different people, which makes the process more difficult.
Poverty – are we doing it wrong?
Two years of research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Frameworks Institute have found that traditional campaigns against poverty tend to backfire. If this issue is to be tackled, a new approach is required.