Latest Updates

A bleak midwinter beckons

15 Dec 2022 Nick GarbuttPoverty

New research shows how the cost of living crisis is beginning to impact people in Northern Ireland.

Academic selection is under the microscope again

8 Dec 2022 Ryan MillerEducation, Academic Selection, Mental Health

Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

Another year’s transfer tests have just finished – will there be many more? Or, with the Independent Review of Education due to wrap up in the Spring, could academic selection at age 11 be headed for the scrapheap?

Immigration: time for a calm, rational debate

8 Dec 2022 Nick GarbuttSocial Policy

One of the most toxic debates of recent times is that around immigration. It was a central issue in the Brexit referendum. And it still rages today. It is time for a calmer, informed, honest discussion governed by facts.

Who should pay for digital services?

1 Dec 2022 Nick Garbuttfunders

The pandemic served to emphasise the full potential of digital connectivity.

The link between loneliness and caring

30 Nov 2022 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Loneliness, Carers, Caring

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

In Northern Ireland, carers are over four times more likely to be chronically lonely than people in general. Loneliness can be devastating - carers need more support.

The shocking treatment of people with sight loss

25 Nov 2022 Nick GarbuttDiscrimination; disability

Just one in four blind and partially sighted people of working age are in employment, according to a new report which explores how that shocking statistic can be rectified.

Childcare needs support, and right now – for everyone’s benefit

25 Nov 2022 Ryan MillerEconomy, Childcare, Education, Social Policy, Children, Early Years

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

For too long, childcare in Northern Ireland has been treated as an afterthought. As inflation hits its highest rate for over four decades, the pressure on both providers and parents is coming to a head.

How climate change will affect our health in Ireland

18 Nov 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth, Climate Change

Later this month hundreds of delegates will gather for the all-Ireland Healthy Planet Healthy People conference.

Bullying is a nightmare for parents – how do they help their kids?

17 Nov 2022 Ryan MillerBullying, Mental Health, Children, Young People, Education, Schools

The idea that your child could face bullying is quite terrifying. Surveys show lots of children experience bullying. However, there are ways adults can help.

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.


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