News and Views
MS Wales Wellbeing Hub Evaluation
Naomi produced the final report for MS Wales on their invaluable service provision during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the heart of the provision was the Wellbeing Hub. Funded by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action Third Sector Resilience Fund, the platform provided virtual activities and services to people living with MS during the pandemic.
The Hub offered a vital means of supporting people’s physical wellbeing through physical exercise and health information, including an online exercise rehab programme, seated Tai Chi, Pilates and yoga sessions, virtual physiotherapy, and diet and nutrition, balance, and FES webinars. Users of the Hub found the exercise programmes very beneficial and remarked on the camaraderie of the classes and the sense of community that the Hub yielded. The Hub also aimed to support and improve people’s emotional wellbeing. Services created included counselling, mindfulness courses, acceptance commitment therapy, and art therapy.
Perhaps most importantly, the Hub became the site for online social activities and events, creating virtual sheds for men, women, and carers, ‘time to chat’ socials, a choir, knitting events, bingo, quizzes and digital communities. The Hub continues to operate online after the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. One volunteer expressed the success of the Hub perfectly: ‘It’s been lifechanging’.
Best Start in Life Programme Evaluation for Cornwall Council and South West Academic Health Science Network
Naomi, Gina and Sebastian currently are evaluating Cornwall Council’s Best Start in Life Programme in partnership with the South West Academic Health Sciences Network. The BSiL programme evaluation is exploring the reach, approach, learning and impact of the Programme which focuses on supporting families when children are 0-2 years old. The programme involves surveys and interviews with staff, partners, stakeholders and families. It is linked to the 1001 days research on how to improve children’s lives, as well as the government’s ‘Strengthening Families Programme’.
Law Clinic Impact Evaluation, University of Plymouth
Our strategic impact and public engagement partnership with the fabulous Law Clinic at University of Plymouth has begun. Naomi is delighted to be supporting the staff at the Law Clinic to raise awareness of the amazing work that they do.
Service Delivery Evaluation, Early Nourishment CIC
We are continuing to support the brilliant work of Early Nourishment CIC in North Devon and Torridge. Our evaluation for 2021 showed the importance of reaching out to families who may not know about Early Nourishment's services. We are working with Sunrise CIC and Devon Maternity Voices to reach out to diverse communities. Thanks to National Lottery funding and the incredible hard work of the staff, Early Nourishment has been supporting hundreds of families during COVID.
Innovation for Youth and Community Programme Evaluation, PETROC and Devon County Council
We are delighted to be partnering with Clarity CIC to deliver the evaluation for PETROC’s multi-stranded, multi-partner Innovation for Youth and Community Programme, funded by DLUHC. We are working with delivery partners across Devon, evaluating their exciting programmes and activities focused on engaging and empowering young people.
Coaching and Mentoring Beyond Academia
With the remarkable ‘great resignation’ of past months, more people than ever before are stepping out of academia. For many, it is an exciting transition into unchartered territory. To help guide those realigning their careers, Naomi has delivered two pioneering workshops on How to Transition Out of Academia Well, at the University of Plymouth and Liverpool John Moore’s University. She also delivered Q&A sessions on the Code Switch Short-Switch Programme to talk about setting up a consultancy business exploring alt-ac options.
The University of Plymouth continues to enhance its Postgraduate experience through the development of new leading-edge resources. Naomi was delighted to be a part of this growth by developing new web resources and carrying out interviews with postgraduate alumni who are now doing amazing things beyond academia. This new content will soon be live on the Doctoral College webpages.
Women in Research / International Women’s Day / Month
Much of the focus this year on International Women’s Day involved the stark global gender gaps that persist in 2022. Claire Brady published a report that highlighted gender gaps across the world. According to recently gathered statistics published in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2021 ‘The UK had closed 77.5% of its gap, ranking 23rd out of 156 countries. This put the UK behind countries such as Germany and France. The three countries that had closed the highest percentage of their gender gaps were Iceland (89.2%), Finland (86.1%), and Norway (84.9%). No country had achieved complete gender parity.’ https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/international-womens-day-2022-gender-gaps-across-the-world/ A study on 2329 Elsevier journals” by Squazzoni et al., PLoS ONE, 2021, published in the Economist, 09 November, 2021, revealed that the gender gap in academic research increased during the early stages of the global pandemic with women submitting substantially less papers than men across Health and Medicine, Physical Sciences and Engineering, Social Sciences and Economics, and Life Sciences. The gender disparity in research needs to be addressed in 2022. Women are critical to research in all fields and lead in research that look at the impact of migration on women and girls and violence against women and girls in all contexts.
The situation in Ukraine
The crisis in the Ukraine continues to worsen with many people forced to flee their homes every day. In an article for The Independent, Judith Escribano, Assistant Director of Communications at Action Against Hunger UK, explains why cash transfers are the best and most dignified way to assist people affected by the crisis in Ukraine. The expense of donating goods, Escribano reveals, is often more than the value of the items donated. There is also the concern over sustainability: ‘Think of the carbon footprint of driving goods 1,500 miles, when they could just as easily be bought in a shop in Poland, Moldova or Romania’, and, of course, buying goods abroad supports those neighbouring countries’ economies. It is a sobering and saddening statistic that ‘60% of donations end up in landfills’, as Sara Schiffling and Wojciech D. Piotrowicz remark in their recent article on the importance of donating money rather than items. https://theconversation.com/ukraine-crisis-why-you-should-donate-money-rather-than-supplies-178245. Activists such as Escribano want to highlight that money often goes directly to people fleeing Ukraine: ‘Sometimes we will just give cash to people in need of help … it’s a dignified way of giving people support. It lets people know we trust them. It gives people freedom and power when they have none. And it helps local economies.’ Importantly, money not only exceeds goods in terms of being ‘the most efficient and effective way to distribute emergency aid’ but it is also essential to quality control. Escribano takes the example of infant formula, which can be hazardous and even fatal when donated due to the lack of sanitary conditions to prepare the formula that caregivers often encounter when on the move. If you would like to donate cash, the British Red Cross are accepting cash donations, and a number of charities such as UNHCR have set up cash transfer programmes. https://www.unhcr.org/uk/ukraine-emergency.html?query=ukraine