Category: Coronavirus

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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…

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…

UPDATED

Why we’re not going back to the office

Mo Kanjilal
Two office workers wearing masks on their computers

Rishi Sunak and the government are looking at ways to force people to return to work in offices, despite Covid being an ongoing problem, and despite the many proven benefits of working from home, especially for women and minority groups… In an updated version of her article from last year, Mo Kanjilal ponders what the Tory ministers’ real motivation might be…

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…

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.

Sex, Lies and Videotape: Has cronyism finally had its comeuppance?

Vivienne Griffiths
Led By Donkeys poster featuring a CCTV still of Hancock and his aide in a clinch, highlighting government hypocrisy

While some expressed moral outrage, most people were more upset by the hypocrisy shown by the Health Secretary in brazenly breaking the social distancing guidelines that he himself had set, especially when so many who have lost loved ones to Covid had stuck to the rules…. It was only the unrelenting outcry from MPs, the public, and the media, that finally forced Hancock’s hand into “doing the decent thing” and resigning.

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?

LONGER READ

Schooling in Brighton – a Tale of Three Cities

James Joughin
Frontage of Brighton College

Below the shiny liberal surface of the UK’s second most progressive city there is a sharkpit which you fall into at your peril. James Joughin investigates the stark differences in educational achievement across Brighton and Hove.

YOUNG WRITER

Clapping for captains

Harriet Willmoth

Captain Sir Tom Moore, 99, raised over £32 million for the NHS by walking around his garden. But he should not have had to do this. When he died, at the age of 100, Boris Johnson asked us to clap for him. Sir Tom’s marvellous effort was hijacked by the government to distract attention from the deaths of more than 120,000 people.

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

Lewes shares the love on Valentine’s Day

Ginny Foster

Despite Covid restrictions, and the coldest February temperatures for years, Valentine’s Day saw Lewes cultural, sporting, political and faith groups involved in a trolley dash to buy well over 7,000 food items for local food banks.

UPDATED

UK border control: another world-beating record?

Vivienne Griffiths & Sara Johnson

Since 18 January, all travellers to the UK from overseas must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test and quarantine for up to 10 days on arrival. Travel corridors have also been closed and the government is set to announce mandatory quarantine hotels. But why has it taken so long to introduce such measures?

LONGER READ

Walking in the Downs – a lockdown odyssey

James Joughin
James Joughin and his dog Ringo on the South Downs, summer 2020

“After slouching around Preston Park a few times I was getting bored and it was then, with the startling visibility of those early lockdown weeks, that I noticed the distant peaks glistening on the horizon, and hatched a vague plan to head up there and ‘explore the South Downs Way’ as my tattered Brighton guidebook maintained I should.”

NEW WRITER

The government needs to think and spend big on children’s mental health

Cllr Elaine Hills

Mental health stigma persists and continues throughout people’s lives. If children are to cope with the scarring of the past year and the extra mental demands of living in a post-Covid society, we must talk about mental health more so they find it as easy as talking about their physical health, and embed that approach into society.

Shifting values and value in a time of Covid

Tom Serpell

The question of the degree to which market forces should determine remuneration — especially for those in public service – is a thorny one. Do we let the market decide? How can such work be valued? Tom Serpell explores these and other questions thrown into sharp relief by the Covid pandemic.

The second round of Corona is here, and I’m ready for it

Himmi Kari

The dreaded second wave of coronavirus needn’t be like the first. One of the most astounding features of human character is the ability to learn, quickly, if needed. Ten months since the UK’s first confirmed coronavirus case is plenty of time to have learnt what does and doesnt work in managing a pandemic.

How Covid has challenged political certainties

Tom Serpell

Political certainties have been jettisoned by a combination of Covid and Brexit. Tories traditionally hold the purse strings tight while Labour demonstrates a greater tendency to spend on public services but today, we’re seeing unprecedented levels of public spending increasing. Tom Serpell explores the implications for political loyalties.

Lewes community action against food poverty

Ginny Foster

On Saturday 12 December, shoppers in Lewes responded to the problem of food poverty by donating an astonishing 7,002 items of food and household products, up from the 5,661 items collected at Halloween. Organised by Mark Perryman, the 12-hour effort included entertainment from many of the town’s gifted performers.