Latest Updates

Food banks are charities that don’t want to exist

4 Aug 2022 Ryan MillerPoverty, Health, Social Policy, Mental Health, Sector Issues

The front page of last week's Newtonards Chronicle

Demand for food banks is soaring but, as the cost of living increases, people are less able to donate. However, helping food banks does not fix any fundamental problems – something the Trussell Trust is determined to make clear.

What happens when facts don't matter

28 Jul 2022 Nick GarbuttUK government

The phrase “alternative facts” first got an airing on 22 January 2017.

The cost of living is creating a poverty sinkhole

27 Jul 2022 Ryan MillerPoverty, Health, Mental Health, Economy, Sector Issues, Social Policy, Welfare Reform

A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that, while poverty in general has waxed and waned over the past 20 years, the number of people and families living in destitution has increased significantly.

The £14.5 billion nightmare

22 Jul 2022 Nick GarbuttPolitics

In politics, as in so much of life, nothing is quite what it seems.

Youth justice: on the cusp of modernity?

18 Jul 2022 Ryan MillerEducation, Health, Mental Health, Justice, Children and Young People, Social Policy

Photo by niu niu on Unsplash

NI is behind the times when it comes to children and the justice system. Plans for change have been announced – and not before time – but still need to be realised.

Levelling up, what it means and why it won't happen

8 Jul 2022 Nick GarbuttEconomy

As the UK government drifts further into farce and chaos it seems increasingly unlikely that anything will be done about the greatest challenge of our time: levelling up.

The fundamental weaknesses of any UBI pilot scheme

5 Jul 2022 Ryan MillerPoverty, Cost of Living, UBI, Welfare Reform, Benefits, Health, Economy, Mental Health, Social Policy

Devolved governments have the ability to make bold choices - but they have little room for error (photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash)

The Welsh Government has announced a trial of universal basic income. That’s what they’re calling it, anyway. It’s a bold move by a devolved government and Stormont should pay attention. However, some issues remain.

How to help shape future Lottery grants

30 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttFunding

Paul Sweeney, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund’s Northern Ireland Committee and UK Board member talks about the organisation’s plans to develop their grant making in the future and how you can get involved.

We urgently need political leadership if we are to reduce or prevent homelessness

30 Jun 2022 Ryan MillerHomelessness, addiction, Health, Mental Health, Social Policy, Sector Issues

Image copyright of the Westcourt Centre

Following deaths of six people who were sleeping on the streets of Belfast over just two weeks, Homeless Connect CEO Nicola McCrudden writes for Scope about how we can best address the complex set of issues that can lead to such tragedies.

Why your health really is your wealth

23 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth, Poverty

Whenever we discuss how to improve health we invariably neglect the biggest factor of all in making us ill: poverty.

Measuring the impact of Northern Ireland’s charities: a work in progress

22 Jun 2022 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Social Policy, Third Sector

Best practice has moved from counting outputs to measuring outcomes. However, change takes time. The local third sector is moving in the right direction but more needs to be done.

Doctors' Orders: the crisis in our GP service

17 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth

Anyone who has tried to book an appointment with their GP since the pandemic will be all too aware of how difficult that has become.

The Rwanda asylum policy is working perfectly for Boris Johnson

15 Jun 2022 Ryan MillerHuman Rights, Mental Health, Politics, Social Policy, Asylum, Vulnerable People

With no good ideas to improve people’s lives, the Westminster government has nothing left except its ability to fabricate arguments and make people angry.

Who cares for the carers?

10 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth and Social Care

Our health care system is completely dependent on a vast unpaid army of carers.

Northern Ireland needs to learn to communicate

9 Jun 2022 Ryan MillerMental Health, Wellbeing, Social Policy, Relationships

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Local people know the crippling effect relationship distress can have on their lives. However, most are reluctant to discuss their problems – and many don’t even know how.

Stormont can stretch the bounds of process and at least do *something*

1 Jun 2022 Ryan MillerEducation, Health, Cost of Living, Stormont, Politics

Roll up, roll up! (Photo by Becky Phan on Unsplash)

Is Stormont about to get weird? Maybe. Is weird better than silent? Yes.

The cost of living crisis

1 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttWelfare

The cost of living crisis is causing devastation for the least well off.

Young people: why they need to take the lead

27 May 2022 Nick Garbuttleadership

 Young people, defined as those under 30, comprise 50% of the world’s population. This will rise to 75% by 2030.

Is Northern Ireland moving away from paramilitarism? Maybe, maybe not

25 May 2022 Ryan MillerParamilitarism, Sectarianism, Social Issues, Divided Society, Justice, Economy

A mural on the Lower Newtownards Road (image from UU's CAIN database)

While the headlines are filled with stories that feel out of time, local perceptions about the reach of Loyalist and Republican gangs are changing slowly, if they are changing at all.

The cost of living and the cost of governmental collapse

19 May 2022 Ryan MillerPolitics, Stormont, Executive, Cost of Living, Poverty, Sector Issues

Photo by Nicholas Cappello on Unsplash

There is no magic fix for the cost-of-living crisis. Plenty of things might help but, with no Executive in place, Stormont can’t do any of them.


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