Category: Coping in a Crisis

So much misinformation around Covid… but what does the science say?

Louise Serpell

Social media has started to undermine the importance of scientific evidence, with people instead reporting hearsay and personal anecdotes as “proof” of whatever opinion or belief they are Tweeting or blogging about. But this is not evidence… Professor of Biochemistry Louise Serpell examines the dangers of scientific misinformation and advises on ways we can all learn to separate scientific fact from fiction…

Who will police the police?

Allegra Chapman
Downing Street police guards seen through the railings

Since Sarah Everard was murdered in March by a serving police officer, 81 women have been killed in the UK at the hands of men. How are women supposed to feel safe on our streets if the very people whose primary job is to protect us are instead disregarding, mocking or killing us? Can women trust the police? And perhaps more importantly, should we?

Recipe for success: how hands-on volunteers battle food poverty

Ali Ghanimi
Fare share volunteer loading donated surplus onions in a crate into a van for distribution to the community

Sussex food partnerships are at the forefront of finding long-term solutions to the growing problem of food insecurity. Affordable food projects, community supermarkets and organisations who take surplus fresh produce from local farms and turn it into soups, are all playing their part in relieving the food poverty that exists in all of our communities…

The unkindest cut – real life stories

Sussex Bylines
Woman looking at the "Keep the lifeline" petition on her smart phone

We invited Sussex Bylines readers to share their personal experiences of how the government’s planned Universal Credit cut will affect them. We have already received some courageous responses that make for sobering – and in some cases, heartbreaking – reading…

UPDATED

The unkindest cut of all

Ginny Smith
Tories Foodbank Soup cans mural in London by artist Georgie

Despite dire predictions and warnings, Johnson’s government seems determined to cut the £20 a week “uplift” payments for Universal Credit recipients. Yet as critics of the move point out, this cut is not only cruel and ill-timed, but doesn’t even make economic sense…

Afghan refugees desperately need our help…

Vivienne Griffiths
A line of child refugees in Kabul, Afghanistan

Government bungling together with Priti Patel’s inhumane Borders Bill and disastrous Home Office response have only served to hinder humanitarian efforts, both with the evacuation in Afghanistan and assisting asylum seekers here in the UK. Traumatised Afghan refugees who have barely escaped with their lives deserve kindness, compassion and support, not more hostility. Writer Vivienne Griffiths examines the horrifying events of recent days and offers practical advice for anyone iwanting to help refugees locally…

NEW WRITER

Fixing our faulty food system: how community food partnerships work

Ali Ghanimi
People cooking in Community Kitchen at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership

Across Sussex, local food partnerships are springing up to address the myriad problems stemming from the UK’s flawed food system that is not only making us ill, but also harming our planet. And our central government is lagging far behind these growing grassroots community groups…

WHAT SUSSEX MEANS TO US

My own private (rented) beach chalet

Hilary Lawson
Painting of Rottingdean beach chalets by John Haywood

It’s a little-known secret that you don’t have to shell out in excess of £20,000 to be the lucky owner of a Brighton & Hove beach chalet. You do need, however, a bucket-full of patience to wait for your name to rise to the top of the Brighton & Hove beach chalet rental waiting list…

Refugees Work: so why not let them?

Tom Serpell
Migrant workers in the fields in the USA

Refugees could make a contribution if this country would only allow more in and let them work. This would relieve desperate people of the dangers of life in camps, on the road or under the control of smugglers. It would enable them to demonstrate their skills and commitment to this country. It would add to the workforce and enrich our culture. This surely constitutes a win-win.

A win for rogue landlords as Tories block council licensing

Rick Dillon
Members of Acorn, the renters' union, protesting in Hove regarding landlord licensing

Lack of repairs creates misery for thousands in private rented accommodation. But getting councils to back a scheme that forces landlords to act is only the first step and, so far, applications to renew council licensing are being turned down by the Conservative Housing Minister Robert Jenrick.

Tracks of a Trickster – who does Boris Johnson think he is?

Rev Susie Courtault
A satirical photo tableau depicting Boris Johnson and new bride Carrie Symonds in the rose garden with body bags piled high

Because adultery and abortion are considered sinful in the Catholic Church, a large number of Christians (who take their faith very seriously) are appalled that a serial adulterer, and someone well known to have abandoned his children, could get away with taking the sacraments in Westminster Cathedral. Yet reinventing himself is part of his raison d’être. I suspect he has no particular attachment to being able to take the sacraments and went along with the whole process because he had no strong opinions either way — and that is exactly what a trickster would do.

NEW WRITER

Bum note – does Johnson’s government hate choral singing?

Ruth McDermott
Photo of a Heathfield Choral Society concert from before Covid

Many activities that prolong exposure to heavy breathing have been given the go ahead for indoor activity, such as working out at the gym, laughing with mates down the pub or chatting over a meal at a local restaurant, not to mention thousands of fans gathering at a football stadium to watch a game, no doubt doing what fans will – hugging, celebrating, chanting and singing! So why has the Government banned all amateur choirs from rehearsing indoors?

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

Retired doctor turned community worker: Kim Shamash

Vivienne Griffiths

Kim Shamash told Vivienne Griffiths how the Brighton and Hove network sprang up just before the first lockdown. Within a week there were 42 areas with at least 3,000 people joining numerous area and street WhatsApp and Facebook groups to request or offer mutual support.