Coronavirus brings fear but also hope for change

Try as he might, David Cameron was unable to get his idea of a “big society” to gain traction – perhaps because, as he was told at the time, top-down initiatives are less likely to take off, especially if they are perceived as a Trojan horse during a period of prolonged government cuts.

When I arrived home to find a note on the doormat offering assistance with a range of tasks such as collecting shopping, or a phone call to break up a monotonous day or compensate for the lack of social interaction, I was neither dismissive nor distrustful – even though I didn’t need the services offered. That an individual, who had gone on to recruit a few friends, was offering such help is not unique, but it is a fine antidote to tales of panic-buying and food banks struggling for sufficient donations to meet demand.

Click here to read more

Facebook: Connect with Neil Thompson on Facebook

Read more

Covid-19 needs our attention right now, but recovery measures could be part of the solution for the climate emergency

We are all facing challenges on a scale that would have been unimaginable only a few months ago. All over the country, people frightened for the health of their loved ones are also worrying how they will pay their rent, feed their families and keep their jobs or businesses going.

At Greenpeace we are doing all we can to respond to this public health emergency – both for staff and volunteers, and the planet and its people. Our staff are working from home for the foreseeable future – over the years, our carbon-saving flight policy means we’ve got pretty good at video calls! – and of course, while this situation continues, we’ll be finding other ways to have our say that don’t involve public gatherings.

Click here to read more

Sociological insights to help understand people’s lives and their challenges

Read more

A chance to focus on the beauty around us

With most people spending many hours at home, photographers are having to find new ways to express their creativity. And with fewer aircraft in the skies, those who venture out at night to photograph the heavens no longer have to spend hours removing passing aeroplanes from their pictures.

“I usually end up spending a lot of time removing light trails caused by passing aircraft but I only had one plane to remove from these images, instead of the usual 20-30,” says student Ben Lockett, from Staffordshire, who takes pictures such as the one above during his daily exercise. The pictures are taken using a long exposure, with the apparent motion of the stars due to Earth’s rotation. Another photographer, Andrew Whyte, says: “On Friday night, I continued to observe the lockdown and didn’t even cross the threshold of my front door.”

Click here to read more

Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

Connect with Neil Thompson online! For Neil's blog and more resources

Read more

Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Don’t reply in anger

Anger is a powerful emotion, and one that no one is immune to. The physiological effect it has on us can be a strong spur to action, and so the temptation to respond there and then can be an intensely felt one. However, responding there and then can be highly problematic, as the intense emotion of the situation can distort our perceptions. It can also lead to an escalation in which our anger-driven response can ‘up the stakes’ emotionally and thereby lead to a worsening of the situation rather than defuse it. In addition, it can mean that we are responding without a full understanding of the situation, and that could lead to making the situation worse. The traditional idea of ‘count to 10’ has some merit, but it is not enough on its own, as the effects of anger can last for some considerable time – for example, they can become resentment. Anger is a valid response to many situations but we have to make sure that it is not allowed to create further problems or ill-feeling.

Click here to read more

How to Do Social Work: A basic guide from one of social work’s leading authors

Read more

Deep listening: Finding common ground with opponents

Do you find it hard to speak to people when you feel passionately they are wrong? Whether it’s a row over giving up meat to save the planet or simply whose turn it is to wash up, such conversations can lead to a stalemate. One potential solution is deceptively simple but hard to pull off, especially when you feel sure you are right. The technique is called deep listening.

It is an approach to difficult conversations that ensures both parties feel fully heard. Research suggests it can enhance the speaker’s feeling of wellbeing, as when we are deeply listened to, we can feel valued, accepted and more connected, regardless of whether or not the listener agrees with us.

Click here to read more

Twitter: Follow Neil Thompson on Twitter

Read more

Hardly hard to reach – The case for refugee-led mental health services

Active Lives, Healthy Minds is a three year (June 2016-2019) refugee-led mental health and wellbeing project in West London run by Race on the Agenda (ROTA) in partnership with Account Trust (Nepali community organisation), Network of Eritrean Women UK, Qoys Daryeel – Family Care (Somali community organisation), the Tamil Community Centre and Ilays. The project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and aims to improve mental health.

Click here to read more

Ensuring every older person is treated with dignity as a unique individual

Read more

Centre for Welfare Reform Manifesto

The Centre for Welfare Reform was formed in 2009 to help create a world where everyone can be an equal citizen. The Centre is a citizen think tank. We are not funded by big business or government. We exist because of donations and voluntary effort and share information and ideas for free.

Everyone is equal – everyone matters. But too often we are divided, isolated and alone. We need to live together in a spirit of equality and justice – taking care of each other and our planet. In 2016 the Centre helped to create Citizen Network, a global cooperative that brings together individuals and groups to create a world where everyone matters. The Fellowship of the Centre is developing a Manifesto of proposals to create a world of equal citizenship where everyone matters.

Click here to read more

It’s all about people: visit Neil Thompson’s humansolutions website

Read more