Latest Updates

The Famine in Belfast: time the forgotten story was told

11 Nov 2022 Nick GarbuttHistory; heritage

Ireland is a place where the past and the present are entwined. In the north grievance and counter-grievance dominate politics and many of those grievances go back centuries.

Schools are vital, but we can all help increase children’s physical activity

9 Nov 2022 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Children, Young People, Education, Physical Activity, Play

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

A new report from the Education and Training Inspectorate found that most schools are falling short of targets for PE. That needs to change, along with many other things, to halt the decline in kids’ physical play.

The covert privatisation of the NHS

4 Nov 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth

A two tier health system is emerging in the UK where those with money get preferential treatment.

Politics remains a barrier to health reform

2 Nov 2022 Ryan MillerHealth, Health Transformation, Transforming Your Care

Daisy Hill Hospital

Reforming Northern Ireland’s health system is essential. The need for change is urgent. However, without changing how we discuss this need, we are making something that is already difficult that much tougher.

How to achieve a decent life for all

27 Oct 2022 Nick GarbuttPoverty; social justice

Here is a simple, straightforward policy ambition that all political parties in Northern Ireland could sign up for tomorrow. 

An extra £420m on benefits would be money well spent

27 Oct 2022 Ryan MillerWelfare Reform, Social Security, Children, Health, Mental Health, Poverty, Cost of Living, Third Sector

Plans to boost benefits would help with issues raised by a new Save the Children NI report

An independent panel has recommended that Stormont bolsters social security. This advice is in line with the third sector’s consensus – including recent reports from Save the Children and Parenting NI.

Belfast's first charity

20 Oct 2022 Nick Garbutthistory

The Belfast Charitable Society is a very special organisation.

Improving local mental health needs both tangible services and better strategic thinking

20 Oct 2022 Ryan MillerMental Health, Sector Issues

(l-r) Craig Harrison, Carers NI; Inspire CEO Kerry Anthony MBE; Minister of Health Robin Swann MLA; Jonny Currie, Trussell Trust; Eithne Gilligan, Age NI

Northern Ireland’s mental health services have a lot of catching up to do – but, while the road is long, progress is happening with cooperation between statutory services and the third sector.

Three dangerous myths that persist

13 Oct 2022 Nick GarbuttEconomics

Three dangerous and demonstrably false myths continue to generate debate long after they have been discredited.

Tackling poverty will require long-term planning as well as emergency measures

13 Oct 2022 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Social Policy, Poverty, Cost of Living

Photo by Emil Kalibradov on Unsplash

A group of organisations helping the Department for Communities draw up an anti-poverty strategy released a report this week. Could it form the basis for an ambitious, long-term strategy to minimise or even eliminate poverty in NI?

More elections, more politics, and the cost of living

6 Oct 2022 Ryan MillerCost of Living, Sector Issues, Social Policy, Politics

As food, fuel and housing costs rise, pressure grows on households. The third sector is on the frontline of helping people – however, it faces its own pressures. Politics is supposed to help but right now it’s getting in the way.

Lessons from the pandemic

6 Oct 2022 Nick GarbuttCovid-19

It is still a little early to assess the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our health, but enough evidence is now in to draw some tentative conclusions.

Mother and baby homes: not just the church was to blame

30 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttJustice; Social Issues;

This week more evidence emerged as to why it is so important for there to be a full public inquiry into the operation of mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland.

Civic society can bring communities together in lots of different ways

28 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerHousing, Social Housing, Social Issues, Sector Policy

Shared? in Ormeau Park

Housing Association Clanmil put on a play for Good Relations week. Scope takes a look at an interesting and creative way to get communities to discuss social issues.

A reckless gamble doomed to fail

22 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttEconomy

This past week it seems as if everything stopped, on hold, waiting for the period of mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Social media is an illusion, and a trap

21 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerPolitics, Social Policy, Social Media, Mental Health

Lots of people distrust social media and its effects on political discussions. Several different studies indicate different ways that Twitter, Facebook and the rest shape discourse - and some ways they maybe don’t.

The Protocol: a good moment to do a deal?

16 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttBrexit

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has dominated news channels to such an extent that two important developments this week did not get all the attention they deserved.

NI’s fiscal powers – the coming storm

14 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerSocial Policy, Health, Sector Issues, Finances, Northern Ireland, Block Grant, Public Spending

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The Fiscal Council has published its first report into NI’s spending abilities. If you think the current status quo of failing healthcare, over-budget schools and sparse cost-of-living interventions is bad, wait till you see what’s next.

A poisoned chalice

9 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttPolitics

Heavy hitters Penny Mordant, Iain Duncan Smith and Sajid Javid were all offered the post Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. All turned it down, which is why we now have Chris Heaton-Harris at the helm.

It isn’t easy to leave abuse behind

7 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerJustice, Health, Education, Social Policy, Sector Issues, Domestic Abuse, Coercive Control

People in abusive relationships need the confidence to know that, if they leave, they can do so safely – and with plenty of support.

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