Physical activity is a key part of ensuring we stay healthy. Achieving sufficient levels of activity can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases (such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes) and help to prolong our activity into older life.
In May 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, protests swept across America and extended to the UK along with many other nations. Perhaps galvanised by the sheer brutality of George Floyd’s death, captured on film for all to witness; perhaps compounded by the collective psychological impact of Covid-19, a time when shared commitment to giving our all to protect life was seemingly at the heart of global consciousness and yet people of Black and ethnic minority backgrounds remained far more likely to die from it; George Floyd was the latest in a long line of Black men and women to die at the hands of those who should be there to protect them. His death sparked a response of collective action in America, not seen since the civil rights era. Under the mantra of ‘Black Lives Matter’, UK demonstrations took place in more than 150 towns and cities. From London to Hull, Manchester to Cardiff, Glasgow to Birmingham, Bristol to Sheffield, and Belfast to Bangor, anti-racism protestors united to demand radical change. Whilst demonstrating against police brutality and racism in America, protestors in the UK also emphasised how these same issues of anti-Black racism play out in the UK too, pointing to deaths including those of Rashan Charles, Sheku Bayoh, Mark Duggan, and Dalian Atkinson. All these men died during attempts by UK police to either apprehend or restrain them, or whilst in police custody. Protestors also highlighted the death of Belly Mujinga who lost her life to Covid-19 after reportedly having been spat at while working at Victoria Station. Her death offering just one poignant reminder of a significant disparity between racial groups in the UK which sees members of Black and Minority Ethnic communities more vulnerable to dying from Covid-19.
This year has demonstrated a renewed interest in greenspaces, as the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in greenspaces becoming even more important for facilitating social interaction, exercise, and respite from the household (Kale, 2020). Recognising this growing area of research, over the ‘Summer’ I was involved in a staff/student research project in collaboration … Continue reading Exploring the effect of Covid-19 on the future of Sheffield’s greenspaces
The Covid-19 pandemic and related social and economic crises have prompted calls for governments to catalyse a green recovery. This blog aims to complement these proposals, drawing on a recent article written with Aidan While about the differential capacity to act on low carbon goals across people and places.
The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting low income energy consumers hard. Short term policies have provided temporary help. However, in the long term we need policies to improve home energy standards.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm’s Final Report into the Online Gambling Sector, which was published earlier this month, presents a roadmap for government, the Gambling Commission and industry to develop a safer and fairer gambling environment, and limit gambling-related harm in Great Britain. Writing in 2014, I noted how the rise in online gambling had made gambling opportunities more readily available to large swathes of the population, whilst simultaneously undermining many of the restrictions, player protection measures and responsible gambling strategies typically found in land based establishments. Over the last decade, online gambling has been a key propellant of citizens’ gambling expenditure, industry profits and state taxation revenues, with citizens losing £5.3 billion gambling remotely in 2019 alone.
The importance of communication is never more apparent than at times of significant events. From the UK leaving the European Union, to Harry and Meghan stepping away from British monarchy, it is through communication that our realities materialise. Indeed, as scholar Daniel Nelson reflects, it is a truism that ‘wars start and end with words’. It is no surprise then that a deep-rooted concern with getting communications ‘right’ lays at the heart of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. From government messaging to public health advice, from media debate to conversations with our families, our awareness of the need for successful communications ripples through our consciousness as we try to overcome this disease.
Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, there has been a strong wave of public support for key workers and this has included teachers; for example, they are explicitly mentioned on the front page of the clap for our carers website. However there are widely differing views about the crucial role of schools and teachers in enabling the economy to begin to return to something like normal. On one side the right wing press - and the Education Secretary - cleverly placed this as a call to the 'duty' of teachers, positioning 'hero' teachers in opposition to the teacher unions. On the other, many parents are concerned about the safety of schools for their children. Other UK nations - not to mention some English LAs - take the view that it is unsafe to open schools so soon, as we can see. Meanwhile, the Children's Commissioner argues that disadvantaged children need to return to school quickly.
Universities have proved their worth in the COVID-19 crisis, responding at speed not simply to their own students and research partners’ changed demands, but to the communities and the national effort. But there is a clear sense that the skies will darken once the immediate crisis abates. The concerns include a precipitous fall in international students and constrained local mobility, student retention and progression to university, and the impact of a prolonged economic recession on research and development budgets. These concerns led Universities UK – the umbrella body for the country’s 137 universities, of which I am a Board member, to develop a proposal to government for a systematic programme of support.
The social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the UK Government issuing instructions for members of the public to 'stay at home' with limited exceptions for shopping, exercise, medical need, and essential travel for work purposes. These directions are supported by Regulations that restrict the operation of public meeting places (or Third Places) including restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms. The guidelines for entering a public space, and the maintenance of a 2 metres distance from other individuals not of the same household, pose fresh questions about blurred spatial boundaries.