Thiago set for dream shirt number at Liverpool as transfer falls into place

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Princess Eugenie may follow Sarah Ferguson in breaking MAJOR Royal Family birth tradition
PRINCESS Eugenie announced last Friday that she and husband Jack Brooksbank were expecting a baby and royal fans have been wondering whether they will break a specific royal birth tradition.
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Long Covid Isn't Just Leaving People Sick – It's Taking Everything They've Got
People suffering with long-term symptoms of Covid-19 have revealed how the virus has impacted their ability to work – and in some cases, left them in financial ruin. One in 10 people are reporting a longer tail of symptoms, which exceeds the suggested two-week recovery time from the virus. The issue has been dubbed ‘long Covid’, as people struggle with extreme fatigue, breathlessness and problems with concentration and memory for months. Many are unable to return to work because of these extended symptoms – and even those who do feel ready to work aren’t necessarily able to perform at the same capacity they once did. One woman told HuffPost UK she was made redundant over the summer and has just £3,000 in savings. She doesn’t feel well enough to leave the house, let alone look for another job. She’s applied for benefits, but worries how she’ll pay her mortgage and bills going forward.While some have found their workplaces to be sympathetic to their condition, others are worried about the lack of support from employers and the government when it comes to the estimated 600,000 people in the UK struggling with long-term symptoms of the virus.Related... ‘Long Covid’ – The Under-The-Radar Coronavirus Cases Exhausting Thousands Christina Barratt, 50, who had a busy sales job, hasn’t been able to work for six months. She first developed Covid-19 symptoms on March 28 – a fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, and a “crushing pressure” around her rib cage. No tests were available at the time, so she was diagnosed with Covid-19 based on her symptoms by paramedics and a GP.In the first four months, Barratt, who lives alone in Manchester, only left the house twice for hospital appointments. During this time she felt so weak, she’d sit on the floor to feed her cats, then pull herself up with the cupboard handle.“I feel unwell all the time,” she says. “I have to pace myself and rest after doing simple tasks like washing up. I can’t drive for more than 15 minutes. Every aspect of life has to be carefully planned. I have no energy to talk or socialise.”Before coming down with the virus, work was busy for Barratt – and 10-hour days weren’t unheard of. But that came to a halt in March. From day one of her symptoms, she was bedridden – and she hasn’t felt able to work since. I feel unwell all the time.Christina Barratt, 50In July, she was made redundant, which left her wondering how she’d pay her mortgage and bills. While her redundancy package will keep her afloat for the next few months, she’s unsure what she’ll do after that. She’s applied for a mortgage holiday for three months, which she’s been granted, and has written to companies she owes money to ask if they’ll reduce her payments.Moving forward, she’s managed to get a £74 weekly benefit – as part of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – which she estimates will cover less than a quarter of her outgoings.The process of applying for benefits has been “complicated”, she says. ESA is for people who have a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work. People can also apply if they can’t work because they’re self-isolating for Covid-19.To get extra cash, Barratt plans to sell items from around her home on eBay and live “very frugally”. “I can’t look for work until my health returns,” she says, estimating this could be another 9-12 months, based on her recovery so far. The uncertainty of the illness is the hardest part, she adds. She doesn’t yet know how long it takes for people to get better. Related... These Are The 16 Symptoms Of 'Long Covid' Identified By MPs Many people with long Covid hold onto a fear that if they do overdo it, they’ll set themselves back. Barratt is trying to tread the fine line between increasing activity, but not making her illness worse. It’s tough. “I live on my own and have had to be really strong mentally to keep myself going,” she says. “I’m still holding everything together as best I can, but I don’t know how this will affect me mentally if I don’t recover.”Data from the UK indicates those at greatest risk of severe illness and mortality from Covid-19 are adults over the age of 50. But even those under 50 have felt harsh repercussions of the virus. Lere Fisher, 46, moved back in with his parents in south London at the start of the year following a divorce. He intended to stay for two months, but is still there now after becoming ill with Covid-19. Fisher, who is a freelance development consultant in addition to hosting and presenting, woke up on March 20 feeling like he’d been “run over by a steam train”. He had extreme fatigue, headaches, chest pains, and a sore throat. He self-isolated for two weeks but – like many at the time – was unable to get a test. After two weeks he started to feel better and decided to go out for a walk. But by the time he got home, he was struggling to breathe. “It felt like my lungs were on fire,” he says. He called NHS111 and paramedics came to his home where they confirmed he had mild symptoms of Covid.Not long after, Fisher started getting bad stomach pains and nausea. His GP said there was nothing they could do. He lost his sense of taste and smell, and started getting brain fog and delirium, which he describes as feeling “just out of it”. At this point he was able to take a Covid-19 test, but it came back negative.Fisher has signed on to receive benefits, as he’s been unable to work for six months. “When you’re delivering [a presentation], even when you’re well and healthy, it’s quite taxing,” he says. With brain fog and delirium, as well as fatigue, it’s just not possible. He doesn’t believe he’ll be working full-time this year and, like Barratt, is frustrated about the unpredictable nature of the virus.In the week Fisher spoke to HuffPost UK, he’d mostly been in bed. He’s still struggling with constant chest pains and not feeling like there’s enough air when he breathes. Other symptoms come and go: headaches, delirium, brain fog, a burning sensation in his nose, sore throat and weak legs. “I have plenty of bills outstanding,” he adds. “I’ve been in a field of work where you have a lifestyle with that and to try and live on Universal Credit is just... it completely stumps the way that you want to move forward.“I have to try and manage the way I work, but it’s so unpredictable. I have no idea of how I’m going to be in an hour’s time, let alone tomorrow.”People affected by long Covid may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit, but only if they satisfy the normal entitlement conditions and on provision of medical evidence.Related... Third Wave Of Coronavirus 'Entirely Possible', Explains Sage Expert Those who are self-employed are finding it particularly difficult to get help. Nicola Mitchell, 52, came down with symptoms of the virus on Christmas Day while on holiday in the Caribbean. She lost her sense of taste and smell, and a few days later, the fever hit. At the time, she’d never heard of Covid-19. She experienced other symptoms, such as headaches, eye pain, nausea, a sore throat and swollen glands – and spent her holiday in bed in a dark room. Several weeks later – on January 20 – the first official cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the UK. However, it’s now believed coronavirus was circulating before then. Mitchell, from the Cotswolds, realised this could be the reason she felt so ill.Since then, she’s faced an uphill battle getting health professionals and family members to take her illness seriously, she says. It got so bad that in February, Mitchell called the Samaritans – she was at wits’ end. “That’s how far you are pushed when you have a medical fraternity that gives up on you,” she says. Mitchell earns income predominantly through property management (she’s a landlord with multiple tenants) and writing. But because she owns multiple properties that she rents out, she isn’t eligible for benefits.During lockdown, when some of her tenants weren’t able to pay their rent, she was losing up to £1,800 per month, as she let them have a rent holiday but her outgoings didn’t change. In total, she estimates she’s lost £12,500. She’s sold her car, most of her jewellery and has now put her house up for sale – “I’ve been wiped out financially and obviously medically, emotionally, everywhere.”Nine months down the line, she’s still suffering from a range of symptoms – brain fog and memory loss being one of them. Some days she can’t remember how many tablets she’s taken. “I feel like my brain has been stripped of all the clever bits I had before and I’m living in this dumbed down numbness,” she adds. That said, she’s been updating a spreadsheet of her symptoms and notes there has been some progress in her recovery, which offers her hope.Mitchell wants the government to remove means testing for coronavirus-related benefits. “If you were an extremely wealthy banker with £200,000, do you really think you would bother to claim £300 a month?” she asks. Face-to-face assessments for health-related benefits also need to return, she says. Currently, such assessments are suspended because of Covid-19, but kept under review. In some cases, telephone and paper-based assessments are in place instead.There should be an additional benefit available to those with long Covid, says Christina Barratt, who suggests a loan, similar to the Student Loan, that gets repaid from a person’s salary when they eventually return to work.I’ve been wiped out financially and obviously medically, emotionally, everywhere.Nicola Mitchell, 52Government guidance on what to do if you’re employed but can’t work because of coronavirus doesn’t acknowledge those experiencing long-term symptoms of the illness, nor does it offer advice on what to do for those in this situation.A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) tells HuffPost UK: “There is a strong safety net for anyone who has a long-term health condition or disability and needs support. We have provided £9.3 billion in extra welfare support during this pandemic, including increasing Universal Credit by up to £1,040 per year.“Eligible employees can get £95.85 per week in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they’re too ill to work, which is paid by their employer for up to 28 weeks. Those with long term health conditions can apply for PIP if they have had daily living and/or mobility needs for three months and are expected to have needs for at least a further nine months.”The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus has heard from hundreds of people living with long Covid. Writing in the BMJ, Layla Moran, an MP and chair of the APPG, said the health, wellbeing and employment arrangements for those living with long Covid “remain unaddressed”. People with long Covid have been calling for recognition of the issue since June. But while the prime minister and health secretary have recognised the plight of those with long Covid, the level of support offered has been small. It’s been reported that Boris Johnson is yet to respond to a letter from the APPG urging him to take action on long Covid.Specialist long Covid clinics were also supposed to be set up to support those with the illness following an announcement from Hancock in July, however a BBC investigation at the start of this month found fewer than 12% of 86 NHS care commissioning groups who responded to a request for comment said they were running such services.Even doctors themselves have spoken of being unable work for months on end due to long Covid, and have signed an open letter published in the BMJ calling for more research and surveillance of those with the virus and better clinical services for those with long-term symptoms.Support from employers is crucial for those still struggling months down the line. Jade Gray-Christie, 32, from east London, counts herself lucky that her employer has been sympathetic to her needs. During the early stages of illness she was on sick leave – eligible employees can get £95.85 per week SSP if they’re too ill to work, which is paid by their employer for up to 28 weeks – but she now works from home. She had a phased return to work and is back full-time. There’s been an open line of communication with her work, which has really helped, and they are flexible if she needs to take a break or is struggling with her health. “If I didn’t get the support from my employers, I don’t know how I’d cope,” she says.Related... What It's Like To Experience Hallucinations Linked To Covid-19 Gray-Christie’s symptoms struck on March 16 after a busy week at work, where she hadn’t felt 100%. She had a burning sensation in her throat, which soon turned into pain. She took the week off work, and had symptoms such as fever, coughing and extreme tiredness. “The pain I was experiencing in my chest and throat was like nothing I’ve experienced before,” she says.She has asthma and was particularly worried about her breathing, so called NHS111 and began self-isolating. She gave a spare key to her neighbours, as she lives alone, who dropped off food for her and checked on her. One day her health deteriorated so much she called NHS111 again and they sent an ambulance to her home. As she was coughing, she remembers the paramedic said: “You’ve got that Covid cough.” They advised her to keep taking her inhalers and left her to recuperate at home.When she speaks to HuffPost UK, she’s been in bed for most of the day. Prior to Covid, Gray-Christie was active and went to the gym regularly – but now she struggles walking to the car. She can’t clean her house properly, has to sit on a chair to do the washing up, and has a bench in her shower to sit on. “If I do any household chores it can wipe me out for a day or two,” she says. All the people with long Covid that HuffPost UK spoke to cited online support groups as a godsend during such difficult times – and Gray-Christie is no exception. “If it wasn’t for some of the Facebook groups I’m not sure how I’d be managing today,” she says. “It gave me validation that I wasn’t going mad.”Experts are still learning about Covid-19. The information in this story is what was known or available at the time of publication, but guidance could change as scientists discover more about the virus. To keep up to date with health advice and cases in your area, visit gov.uk/coronavirus and nhs.uk.Related... Here's What The Coronavirus R Rate Means What Are Super-Spreader Events – And How Can You Avoid Them? The Science Behind Why Singing Could Spread Coronavirus
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Covid Numbers Can Be All-Consuming. Here's How To Deal With Them
Living through a pandemic means daily exposure to news of Covid-19 deaths.Each newly released figure represents the individual bereavements of so many families involved, but as the numbers rise to previously unthinkable levels, they can also be distressing and confusing to everyone, whether or not you’ve lost anyone close to you.Even as the global coronavirus death toll surpasses one million and we witness the highest rise in cases for months in the UK, health officials are pointing out that headline figures are statistically flawed and inaccurate, due to a percentage of coronavirus deaths not being officially classified. It’s easy to get sucked into number watching – and it can be overwhelming. The daily, weekly and monthly death figures are a stark reminder of the dangers of Covid-19, and the reasons why we are being asked to follow rules and accept ongoing restrictions to our lives.So what’s the best way to stay informed and make sense of the numbers without letting them totally consume us?Related... Your Self-Care Toolkit For Dealing With The Tough Months Ahead Focus on what we do knowSpeculation is at an all-time high – in conversations among friends and family, in government updates and interviews, and across the media – because the pandemic is an ever-changing situation. No wonder coronavirus anxiety levels are through the roof and our brains are feeling a little frazzled right now.  “The important thing is to put everything into context. Focus on what we do know and not on what we don’t know,” psychologist Dr Rose Aghdami, who specialises in anxiety and resilience, tells HuffPost UK. “Although the pandemic is very central to our lives, it’s still only part of our lives.”Recognise what we can and can’t control. “We might not be able to control the spread of the virus except in our very immediate surroundings, but we can control how we respond to it, and one of those aspects could be that we decide to minimise or at least reduce the amount of exposure to all of this very confusing data,” she advises.Related... Here's What The Coronavirus R Rate Means Numbers don’t tell the whole storyObsessing and getting caught up with figures is no good for anyone’s mental health, especially when it’s difficult to know exactly what those numbers mean. Data that tells us where we’re currently at with the pandemic is important in for government policy-making – and for holding that policy to account – and the numbers represent a daily reality for those working on the medical front-line. But they don’t come with an easy users’ guide – it’s the work of professionals to analyse and interpret them. Death figures reported daily in the UK are of hospital cases where a person dies with the coronavirus in their body – Covid-19 is a notifiable disease, so cases must be reported. However, there are other facts to be taken into account, such as whether the virus is present but not the main cause of death – in other words, if that person died from something else.We’re still learning about Covid-19“At the moment the rate is ‘low’ compared to where we were at the peak of the horrors when we will watching footage on the news every night of people fighting for breath in intensive care,” says Professor Daniel Altmann, Department of Medicine, Imperial College.“To my mind, if you look at where we are on the curve behind other countries, there’s no miracle going to happen and save us from Covid deaths. The virus is here to stay and it’s the same virus.”There is progress, he adds. “Our immunity hasn’t increased [but] our clinical acumen to deal with it has progressed somewhat. So you’d hope that the outcome of people hospitalised might be getting better and better with time.”  Anxiety and fatigue are both natural reactions“It’s okay to feel confused and shocked when we process confusing information and to hear saddening news from all these families and individuals affected by the deaths,” says Dr Aghdami. Equally, it’s important to acknowledge that Covid fatigue is a “totally normal and real thing,” she adds. Shutting off from the figures can be instinctive.The ongoing duration of the pandemic, combined with no real light at the end of the tunnel, can desensitise and dull people’s sense of shock. Simply put, our brains have got used to hearing about deaths to the point where the higher the number, the less it registers emotionally.Whatever your reaction – anxiety, sadness or fatigue (and we all experience a range of these) – don’t judge yourself. “These emotions are normal responses to an abnormal situation,” says Dr Aghdami. “We should keep in mind that we’re allowed to feel hopeful and enjoy what we have in the moment.”Take Covid-19 seriously enough to stay safe“The main question we’ve all been talking about is ‘how do we grapple with lockdown fatigue?’ Because it is going to cost us lives,” says Dr Altmann. “I don’t know the magic answer on the ways in which people grapple with it, but shouting louder and terrorising people isn’t the way forward.”These are challenging times. Lockdown and social distancing has prevented those bereaved from being able to mourn properly. Many family members of victims have found their grief put on hold because they can’t attend funerals, be there for one another, or visit memorials that have yet to be built.At the same time, while the death toll is high, a lot of people in the UK haven’t experienced the direct loss of a loved one or know anyone affected in their circles. This can make a big and grave number feel far removed and distant. Too much disassociation isn’t helpful, says Dr Altmann. “I think some people perceive that because they’re not an elderly person, it won’t affect them.”However, we naturally gravitate to protecting ourselves, our families, and our immediate communities, and if we follow the necessary precautions – from mask-wearing and hand-washing to social distancing and quarantining where necessary – we’ll all be reducing the spread of Covid-19.“The pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and it’s an ongoing process,” says Dr Aghdami – but these measures do make a difference. “Judging from previous pandemics and history, we should know that it is only temporary and time-limited. Things will eventually come to an end or gradually get better.”Related... The Pandemic Put Our Grief On Hold. Here's How We're Coping The Psychology Behind Why Some People Hide That They Have Covid-19 From Sex To Service Stations, The Covid Rules You Might've Missed
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Why 'Chain Of Trust' Is The Next Covid-19 Term You Need To Know About
Social distancing, self-isolation, super-spreader, shielding. These are all words that, prior to March this year, we never really uttered. Now, they’re part of our daily vocabulary.The next Covid phrase that could be making its way onto that list is ‘chain of trust’, after a professor of medicine said that forming one may be “the only effective means” to reduce deaths during the coming winter without imposing a full lockdown.Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine at the University of East Anglia, was referring to a document shared with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which suggested vulnerable people could form a ‘chain of trust’ with a select number of people to protect themselves against Covid-19.So, what is a chain of trust? It refers to a strategy of infection control where people in regular contact with at-risk individuals – or ‘shielders’ – tweak their lifestyles to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 to them.People on the shielded patient list would surround themselves with a few of these trusted individuals.Related... ‘Don’t Kill Granny’ – Why These Grandmothers Love The New Coronavirus Slogan The onus would be on those who are vulnerable to choose who is in their chain of trust, but also those in the chain of trust to adopt measures in their lives to reduce their own risk of transmission.Those considered a transmission risk – and therefore who shouldn’t be included in a chain of trust – include: people who have Covid-19 symptoms and should be self-isolating, people who should be self-quarantining (for example, because they’ve come back to the UK from a country where cases are high), or people who have been in contact with anyone with symptoms, anyone who should be self-isolating or anyone who should be self-quarantining.“Any individual who has had high risk contacts or been in a high risk setting within the past two weeks should suspend contact with high risk individuals,” reads the document, authored by Professor Mark Woolhouse, Bram van Bunnik and Professor Aziz Sheikh from the University of Edinburgh.Possible examples of high risk scenarios include if the person in the chain has attended hospital, has been to a large indoor social gathering, or has travelled to a high incidence area.The concept of a chain of trust isn’t new – people who work in hospitals and care homes are routinely screened, and adopt special measures, to protect the vulnerable. “A broader protection strategy extends the same logic to all high risk individuals,” the document suggests.More detail is needed on the nitty gritty of how a chain of trust could work, and some of the challenges it poses – for example, what happens if you live with people who wouldn’t be deemed suitable for a chain of trust? The paper also recognises how ‘shielding’ has become a negative term associated with extreme self-isolation – and recommends the term “protecting” instead.Prof Paul Hunter said the paper on so-called chains of trust – published in August – “is a very thoughtful discussion of what is a really important topic”.“If, as it now seems, the UK will be unable to prevent a large number of infections this winter the only other option if we are to reduce the death toll will be to protect our most vulnerable citizens, the groups of people that had previously been asked to shield,” he says.“Whilst the document does not give a clear picture how [chains of trust] could work in practice, in my view this is something that does need to be looked at in much more detail.“Such an approach, if it could be implemented, may be the only effective means to reduce deaths during the coming winter without imposing a full lockdown.”Related... Your Self-Care Toolkit For Dealing With The Tough Months Ahead 6 Hacks For Socialising Outside, Even In The Cold Weather 'I Tested Positive During Labour' – 9 Pandemic Birth Stories
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How To Make A Pumpkin Spice Latte – And Other Autumnal Drinks
As we soon as we feel the first cool breeze of autumn, it means one thing: pumpkin spice season. Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping the bright orange ghoulish gourd in absolutely everything – and we mean everything. Whether it’s our coffee drinks, scented candles or even Spam, pumpkin spice is here to stay. So it’s time to give in to the seasonal obsession and drink up the comforting flavours of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. Many of us are continuing to work from home – so, rather than going out to buy your seasonal beverage, you can learn how to make professional coffee concoctions that look and taste like the real deal.We’ve enlisted the help of coffee expert Lewis Spencer, from, Coffee Direct to share his secrets. To kick things off, he reminds us to use freshly roasted and brewed coffee. “Supermarket varieties can sit in warehouses and on shelves for months before being used,” he says. “And water makes up a large proportion of many drinks, so make sure you always used freshly drawn or filtered water.” Try switching up the milk, too, he advises. “Experiment with different milks such as oat, coconut and soy,” he tells HuffPost UK. “These can add a new dimension to your favourite brew.”Related... Simple Coffee Hacks From Baristas To Boss Your Morning Brew Pumpkin Spice LatteMakes: 3 |  Prep time: 5 minsIngredients:750ml whole milk, hot but not boiling4 teaspoons caster sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract1 teaspoon ground cinnamon½ teaspoon ground nutmeg½ teaspoon ground ginger½ teaspoon allspice180ml freshly brewed strong coffeeWhipped cream Method:1. Create a pumpkin spice mix by combining the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice in a small bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed.2. Add the hot milk, caster sugar, vanilla extract, and half of the pumpkin spice to a blender, and mix until frothy.3. Divide the liquid between three coffee mugs, leaving enough space to add a good amount of whipped cream later.4. Add 60ml of freshly brewed, strong coffee to the mugs.5. Add that layer of whipped cream, and finish with a sprinkling of the remaining pumpkin spice mix.Salted Caramel LatteServes: 2 | Prep time: 5 minsIngredients:500ml milk (whole milk recommended)2 tablespoons brown sugar4 tablespoons caramel sauce½ teaspoon vanilla extract4 shots of freshly brewed espresso coffee Method:1. Gently combine the milk and brown sugar on a medium hob, taking care to heat but not to boil it.2. When the milk is beginning to froth, reduce the heat and mix in the caramel sauce and vanilla extract. You may like to check the mixture is sweet enough for you at this stage and add a little more caramel sauce if desired.3. Stir in your freshly brewed coffee and serve in latte glasses or tall coffee cups.Mint MochaServes: 2 | Prep time: 5 minsIngredients:200ml milk (whole milk recommended)400ml freshly brewed black coffee 75g good quality dark chocolate1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract or peppermint syrupWhipped creamMethod:1. Combine the milk, coffee and 60g of the dark chocolate in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Keep stirring at this temperature for around 2 minutes.2. Remove from the heat, add the peppermint and pour into a wide-mouthed mug, leaving enough space at the top for a generous dollop of whipped cream.3. Finish with the whipped cream and grate the rest of the dark chocolate on top.Iced Dalgona CoffeeServes: 2 | Prep time: 5 minsIngredients:3 shots of freshly brewed espresso coffee 2 tablespoons granulated sugar2 tablespoons cold water400ml milk (whole milk recommended)IceMethod:1. Combine the coffee, cold water and sugar in a bowl and whisk until you get a smooth, silky mixture. Keep going until it holds the shape in stiff peaks. This may take quite a long time by hand, we’d recommend using an electric whisk2. Fill your coffee glasses with milk and ice three-quarters full.3. Top up with the whipped coffee mixture. Some people like to mix the two layers together, while others prefer to drink the iced milk through the coffee layer.Related... 6 Hacks For Socialising Outside, Even In The Cold Weather What To Drink First Thing In The Morning, According To Nutritionists How To Make A Frozen Coffee As Good As One You Can Buy
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Wondering How Uni Students Are Feeling? Like We've Been Thrown To The Wolves
Imagine having overcome a reformed and rigid GCSE system. Next, your A-levels are cancelled and you have to forcibly fight your way to a university place. Then, you’re forced into social isolation in a new place with people you don’t know, all the while being told to “not kill granny” by a man who discharged hospital patients into care homes. Meet the students of 2020. I’m in my first year of university, and I feel like I’m being thrown to the wolves. There was something heavily ironic in Boris Johnson’s declaration that the government will ensure that “schools, colleges and universities stay open – because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people”. Yes, you read health. After a week of outbreaks in halls of residences around the country, it feels like students have been set-up, and let down. Related... We Speak To A Student On Lockdown At Their University Campus Your Self-Care Toolkit For Dealing With The Tough Months Ahead Who would have thought that putting thousands of students into relatively crowded accommodation where they may have to share facilities would result in a spike? Who could have guessed? Yes, you’re right, everybody apparently except the head of test and trace. This is not simply the reductive narrative of “students having parties” and “freshers’ week being cancelled”. Students may choose to have parties, but those of us that choose to abstain are still forced to pass them in the kitchen, touch the same door handles and breathe the same air.  To be failed and abandoned time and time again, at first by an algorithm, then by institutions is draining and hurtful on a level I cannot express through words. Apparently, we have a Universities Minister. Do you know who the Universities Minister is? No? Thought not. Where is she? And what’s she doing in this national crisis? I’m not too sure. It is now impossible to talk about the pervasive loneliness and uncertainty facing students without being greeted by a generational competition of who has it hardest, who is loneliest and “worse off”. We’re dismissed as “lazy”, so lazy we didn’t even do our exams; we’re told to “have perspective” and that “there are worse things”, when we know mental health does not care for material circumstances. Consider having no one to turn to – no friends or family – masks are more familiar than names for new students. Instead, we rely on interaction with people in our corridor we’ve only just met. We are literally, and emotionally paying for this. The complete disregard for students is clear and callous, as our value is no longer equated to what we contribute to education, but ostensibly the amount of money we pay as rent.If the only opportunity to meet people is to attend a stressful freshers’ activity where social distancing may be difficult to maintain, what do you do? Do you align with the crowd, go along with “herd mentality” and endanger yourself in the process? Or stay isolated in your room with your thoughts and be known as the “other”? I’m frightened. The news is inescapable: nightly patrols, students left without food for days, legal threats, except this time it’s not a dystopian horror story, it’s university, the respite we craved after months of endless limbo. We’ve been abandoned again.   As Gavin Williamson sought to reassure students that they will be allowed to return home for the holidays, we were reminded of his very firm “No U-turn, no change” statement after the A-levels fiasco on August, 15. Two days later, the government made a U-turn. But of course, not everything is “unprecedented” – this situation was entirely foreseeable. We’re told to “follow the rules if [we] want to be home for Christmas” when the rules are dire. Under such rules, I do not need to social distance with 17 other people at university. That’s 18 different ‘households.’ In the North East. Indoors. The same North East that is under local lockdown measures. We cannot simply defer our place – contracts are legally binding, we’ve already been blamed for our impact on this year’s Year 13. We’ve been blamed for, well, everything. So what is there to look forward to? Please tell us. We will try, we will keep going with the same resilience which saw us through exam results and the months of lockdown, but the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, a recession and mass unemployment is overwhelmingly dispiriting. The days are too long, the blows keep coming, and it’s hard not to imagine that many are reaching their emotional limit before term has even started. Schools and universities have shouldered the responsibility the government left behind, with universities setting up testing centres. Don’t blame the headteachers and lecturers and tutors who are working beyond their means, blame the policies, the systemic roots of spikes. The mental health support we desperately need as universities express their support frequently translates into lengthy waiting lists and yet more abandonment. What does “we’re here for you” actually mean? There is nothing tangible. The transition to university is difficult enough without the pandemic compounding it. The complete disregard for students is clear and callous, as our value is no longer equated to what we contribute to education, but ostensibly the amount of money we pay as rent. How can we value an education system that doesn’t value us?Kimi Chaddah is a first year university student and freelance writer.  Related... Unis May End Lectures Early To Get Students Home For Christmas Opinion: How Can We Talk About Body Image In Schools Without Criticising Capitalism? 7,000 New Covid Cases And 71 Deaths In Worst Daily Jump For Months It's Now Illegal Not To Self-Isolate If You Are Contacted By Test And Trace In England
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Colston Fell. Now Black Bristolians Like Me Are Demanding A Better Future
You might not know this, but Bristol is one of the most segregated cities in the UK, with ethnic minorities experiencing above national average disadvantages in education and employment.But many only finally heard about Bristol’s problems with racial inequalitywhen the city paved the way for a worldwide call to action – when our city set a precedent of ridding ourselves of the symbolic glorification of men who destroyed the lives of many by tearing Edward Colston from his plinth.In the wake of the atrocity of George Floyd’s murder, the audacity of Amy Cooper, and the tragedy of Belly Mujinga, Bristol had had enough. On 7 June, during a peaceful protest, Colston was ripped down, leaving me overwhelmed with emotions. Colston going down was more than just Colston going down. The man is claimed to be responsible for the transportation of over 84,000 African men, women, and children to the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas, of whom as many as 19,000 may have died on the journey. I know of many who have been fighting tirelessly for years to have an individual who was involved in the Atlantic slave trade removed. Every day when I walked to work, every day when I walked to meet friends, every day as I walked just to exist, his statue was a constant reminder of the pain my ancestors went through. For us all, seeing him fall was truly symbolic. For so long, Black womxn have not had the position to take ownership of our narratives. Finally, we had a chance.When his statue was temporarily replaced by one of a local Black Bristolian, Jen Reid, I stared at the images being shared across social media of a Black woman being the centerpiece of where a slave owner once stood. It felt like a triumph. For so long, Black womxn have not had the position to take ownership of our narratives. Finally, we had a chance.Alongside 15 other Black womxn creators like creative producer Euella Jackson and illustrator Parys Gardener, I gathered a photo shoot by Jen’s statue. Our message? Like her, we were here to take up space and seize the moment. Time was truly of the essence. Not knowing how long Jen’s statue would remain, we posed nervous as the crowd of people began to grow. But we knew it was time – time to get in formation, as Beyoncé sang. After a while, the nerves ceased to exist and we were met with rounds of applause and beading smiles. Seeing creative Black womxn come together and bounce off each other, brought warmth to my heart. So often we are put on the back burner – by taking charge, we celebrated ourselves. Bristol has long been a city in which creatives strive and advocate for social change. One agency that I have the pleasure of being a part of, Rising Arts Agency, is led by young creative thinkers who advocate for the sector and cultural change through campaigns, research projects and collaborations within the industry.In the same way coronavirus has changed everything about our society, it feels like 2020 is the year we finally had the conversation about how racism harms our entire society too.It’s important to say that for years before the Colston statue was removed, Black Bristolians had been working tirelessly to create and nurture safe spaces across the city. But since Colston fell, we are seeing designers, filmmakers and activists educate and inspire the next generation. Campaigns like Rising’s #WhoseFuture project were created to give young artists and creatives the space to address some of the issues we face, such as racism, access issues, the climate crisis, leadership and young people’s hopes for a secure and empowering future. Featuring 37 creatives on almost 400 posters across the city, we not only gave young creatives a voice – but gave those from an underrepresented background the opportunity to be heard, and a space to feel represented with no apologies necessary. Far from the performative black squares on social media, this was an authentic and continuous conversation with a call to action. As a Black woman, I believe I’m living in the midst of two plagues: Covid-19 and racism. In the same way coronavirus has changed everything about our society, it feels like 2020 is the year we finally had the conversation about how racism harms our entire society too. People are beginning to wake up to the fact racism isn’t about just the n-word – it’s about injustice ingrained into society, that manifests itself everywhere from healthcare to courts to the creative industry. We see it in lack of representation, opportunities and accessibility, and much more.It’s hard to say what happens next for the city of Bristol. The city has a lot of work to do to engage and represent the multicultural make-up of its people. The change has to start within. It can’t a one-day subscription that you can unsubscribe to when you get tired of it.It has to be about strategic actions put into places and for a shift in institutional structure.As a fellow Bristolian and creative, I am in awe and inspired by the courage and tenacity that those underrepresented continue to speak up against. As we enter Black History Month, many continue to keep up the momentum and for others this is a new territory to navigate especially in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more. I only ask that this work last beyond the next 31 days.Stacey Olika is a production management assistant and multidisciplinary artistHave a compelling personal story you want to tell? 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Paul Stephenson: the hero who refused to leave a pub – and helped desegregate Britain
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