Latest Updates

Celine McStravick: taking the reins at NICVA

26 Jan 2023 Nick GarbuttNICVAPeople

Celine McStravick’s appointment as chief executive of NICVA seems the logical next chapter for a woman who has been deeply influenced by the sector she now represents.

Tough times can bring out the best in people

25 Jan 2023 Ryan MillerMental Health, Health, Cost of Living, Poverty, Sector Issue, Social Policy, Funding

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Two new pieces of research lay out two sides of the cost-of-living crisis: poor mental health, and communities rising to meet the problems we all face.

Stemming the tide of plastic pollution

20 Jan 2023 Nick GarbuttEnvironment, Climate Change

One of the biggest problems with addressing climate change is the sheer scale of the challenge.

Poverty isn’t just for Christmas

18 Jan 2023 Ryan MillerPoverty, Health, Mental Health, Loneliness, Older People

It's cold (photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash)

Distribution of the £600 home energy payment has begun. However, for some older people in Northern Ireland, huge challenges remain as they struggle both with the cost of living and the risk of loneliness.

If you thought last year was bad ...

13 Jan 2023 Nick GarbuttEconomy

The year 2022 was a disaster for households, especially poorer ones. Sadly 2023 is set to be even worse, according to the highly respected think tank The Resolution Foundation.

Does Stormont need to end designations?

12 Jan 2023 Ryan MillerStormont, Government, Polling, Politics, Protocol

Reforming Assembly and Executive structures has been suggested several times as a way to end the current impasse. Will that work, in theory or practice? Scope looks at one suggestion: weighted majority voting.

Data is growing. How it grows is up to us.

6 Jan 2023 Ryan MillerData, Human Rights, Health, Big Data, Sector Issues, Social Policy, Privacy

Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash

Does big data provide an opportunity to improve the world? Can our personal info be used for nefarious ends? The answer to both is yes, potentially. Everyone should have an educated say in how we, as a society, use data.

The cost and consequences of second homes

5 Jan 2023 Nick Garbuttplanning

Not everyone is feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis. As foodbanks get overwhelmed by demand, so too are estate agents under siege from people who already have a home and want another one.

Eating disorders in Northern Ireland: a problem of unknown scale

16 Dec 2022 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can devastate lives – but, here in NI, treatment services are not comprehensive and we simply don’t know how many people need help.

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.


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