Latest Updates

Let's think about the economy for once

2 Jul 2021 Nick GarbuttEconomy

The next decade will be critical for the economy which is why we cannot afford for our politicians to be blindsided by constitutional issues – no matter how important they might appear to be to some.

Why children need a Summer of Play

29 Jun 2021 Ryan MillerEducation, Play, Social Policy, Mental Health, Wellbeing

Play is in our nature – and it’s there for a reason. Scope speaks with PlayBoard NI CEO Jacqueline O’Loughlin about how children and young people need more support to explore themselves and the world around them.

Sausage wars leave bitter taste

25 Jun 2021 Nick GarbuttBrexit

The imbroglio of the Northern Ireland protocol has served to demonstrate just how important EU membership was to the peace process – and the scale of the instability we now face.

Caring is tough, lacks support – and can be lonely

23 Jun 2021 Ryan MillerHealth, Care, Social Care, Covid-19, Loneliness

Carers face so many challenges that some – such as loneliness – do not get the attention they deserve.

A new kind of living: NI gets its first co-housing community

17 Jun 2021 Nick GarbuttHousing, Communities

Northern Ireland’s first co-housing project was launched earlier this month on a 13 acre site on the outskirts of Portaferry, Co Down.

Tech, health and public spaces – NI has its own digital currency

16 Jun 2021 Ryan MillerHealth, Social Policy, Tech, Innovation, Sector Issues

App designer Stephen McPeake, Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl, and Justice Minister Naomi Long

A new public scheme is set to pay people to exercise more and use parks and greenways. Civic Dollars is hoping to take on several issues at once. The scheme might just do some good.

Let the children play

10 Jun 2021 Nick GarbuttEducation, Health

Experts are expressing increasing concern about the impact the pandemic has had on physical activity amongst children and we have more reasons for worry in Northern Ireland than elsewhere.  

Relationships and Sexuality Education should be standardised, comprehensive, more inclusive – and mandatory

8 Jun 2021 Ryan MillerEducation, Equality, Social Policy

Consent is in the dictionary - but it is vital for young people to discuss what it means

Northern Ireland gives educators a lot of leeway on RSE. Some local organisations say the system needs to be tightened to avoid failing children.

Education: why the first days of life are the most important of all

4 Jun 2021 Nick GarbuttEducation, Health

If we are to fix educational underachievement in Northern Ireland we are going to have to spend £49.7 million extra every year on children before they even get to school.

Child poverty and Northern Ireland's house of cards

1 Jun 2021 Ryan MillerPoverty, Equality, Child Poverty, Social Policy, Covid-19

Housing costs and poverty are inextricably linked (Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash)

Progress on child poverty has been slow. Between the pandemic and rising house prices, things could be about to get much worse.

Poverty, mental health and an unkind welfare state

27 May 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth, Mental Health, Welfare

A proper debate about the links between mental ill health and poverty and what needs to be done about it is overdue.

Covid-19 and women: a shrinking job market and a growing risk of violence at home

26 May 2021 Ryan MillerEquality, Economy, Domestic Abuse, Mental Health

Home is not a safe place for everyone (photo by Gus Ruballo on Unsplash)

For women, economic prospects and domestic abuse are interlinked. The pandemic is putting pressure on both.

Friends to all: the remarkable story of the Quakers in Ireland

21 May 2021 Nick GarbuttSector Issues, Faith Based Engagement

Last summer, just before the second wave of the pandemic struck, Shane Whelehan became chief executive of Quaker Service Northern Ireland.

Should Northern Ireland set its own income tax?

19 May 2021 Ryan MillerEconomy, Social Policy, Tax

Photo by the New York Public Library on Unsplash

Discussions about devolving more tax powers to NI are beginning in earnest. This could transform government – but risk and opportunity go hand in hand.

Autism services are not fit for purpose

13 May 2021 Ryan MillerAutism, Social Policy, Health, Education

It would be simple to call anything and everything a priority as we look beyond Covid-19 – but the need for better support for autism truly does stand apart.

New report spells out cost of transforming health and care system

13 May 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth, Social Care

Health and social care across the UK needs a massive funding boost if it is to be able to meet future demand according to a four-year inquiry led by 33 experts.

The truth about health inequality

6 May 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth, Social Justice

If everyone were able to live healthier lives for longer, everyone would benefit.

Poverty is a trap

6 May 2021 Ryan MillerWelfare Reform, Social Policy, Poverty

Photo by Oziel Gómez on Unsplash

Arguments against higher social security payments centre on incentivising work. This is flawed thinking. Right now, benefits are too low.

What we don't know about going digital

30 Apr 2021 Nick GarbuttSector Issues, Governance, Health

Third and public sector bodies are rightly proud of how they responded to the pandemic, switching so many services from face-to-face to digital.

Major action on climate change is possible

29 Apr 2021 Ryan MillerEnvironment, Climate Change, Social Policy

Edwin Poots

Could NI be on the edge of massive reform? The end of the pandemic is hopefully in sight, while other political ructions will herald change, in some form. A modern, green economy would be the best possible result.

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