Woman who stole £437,000 from employers to fund new home and ski holidays jailed

Emma Rhodes blew the pilfered cash on an £80,000 Range Rover, a £10,000 Rolex, summer and winter getaways and other lavish items.
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Hancock's former neighbour won Covid test kit work after WhatsApp message
Revealed: Alex Bourne’s company producing millions of Covid vials despite no prior experience in medical suppliesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAn acquaintance and former neighbour of Matt Hancock is supplying the government with tens of millions of vials for NHS Covid-19 tests despite having had no previous experience of producing medical supplies.Alex Bourne, who used to run a pub close to Hancock’s former constituency home in Suffolk, said he initially offered his services to the UK health secretary several months ago by sending him a personal WhatsApp message. Continue reading...
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How Mixing Over Christmas Could Impact A 'Third Wave'
People in the UK are allowed to mix with other households over Christmas, but experts are concerned easing up on socialising could lead to a third wave of coronavirus next year.Across the UK, three households will be able to mix in a bubble from December 23 to 27. Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC2’s Newsnight the planned easing of restrictions over Christmas would be “throwing fuel on the Covid fire”.“I think it will definitely lead to increased transmission,” he said. “It is likely to lead to a third wave of infection, with hospitals being overrun, and more unnecessary deaths. “We are still in a country where we have got high levels of infection with Covid, particularly in young people. Bringing them together for hours, let alone days, with elderly relatives, I think, is a recipe for regret for many families.”Related... Three Households Can Mix For Five Days Under Covid Christmas Plan, Sources Say Prof Hayward’s words came on the same day the UK reported more than 600 deaths from the virus in 24 hours for the first time since May. He’s not alone in his opinion, either. Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, agreed it could fuel a third wave of the virus. “For the festive period, we all need to think ‘just because we could, it doesn’t mean we should’,” he said. Dr Julian Tang, honorary associate professor and clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, says there is a real risk of a third wave in January 2021 “if we relax too much at Christmas”.“Most people in the country are still susceptible to the virus and any mixing will just give the virus a chance to spread further,” he tells HuffPost UK.People will understandably want to see their loved ones after a horrendous year, however Dr Tang urges some restraint, if possible. “I agree that we all need a break and Christmas is one of the most important holidays we have,” he says.“But just for this year, we should try to restrain ourselves, to suppress the virus as much as possible and keep it suppressed until we can roll out the vaccines at a large-scale later, to protect the most vulnerable first.”Just for this year, we should try to restrain ourselves.Dr Julian Tang, honorary associate professor and clinical virologist at the University of LeicesterHe urges those who can “tolerate a Zoom Christmas” to do so to reduce the transmission risk for those who can’t. “This will also reduce the virus spread for that bit longer, which will help all of us – and hopefully prevent a New Year third wave and possibly another national lockdown,” he adds.Some experts, however, believe relaxing the measures over Christmas might stop people from taking matters into their own hands. Professor Rowland Kao, an expert in veterinary epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, says there are “many reasons to be especially watchful over the Christmas period” with more people mixing and increased contact between age groups.“However, counterbalancing this is the need to account for factors of human behaviour; in particular if there is a safety valve which allows some of the social interactions that are important to very many people in a controlled manner, it could prevent increased activity that would occur in a less moderated way,” he explains.“In this sense it is a sensible approach, but the onus of course, is then on individuals to interpret those relaxations responsibly.”It’s key that people really take great care when visiting loved ones over Christmas – and if so, he believes a third wave is “not at all inevitable”.Related... Will Christmas Covid Relaxations Trigger A New Year Hangover? Revealed: The Full Details Of The UK's Christmas Covid Rules Boris Johnson Signals The Most Vulnerable Could Be Vaccinated By Easter
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I'm An NHS Doctor. Boris Johnson's Christmas Plans Are Deadly
I’m an NHS doctor specialising in the care of older people. A year ago, before the arrival of this pandemic changed every aspect of our clinical care, it would not have been unusual to arrive on the hospital ward to hear that a patient had died over the weekend. Going into work last Monday, we were greeted by the ward clerk waiting with a pile of death certificates from the weekend. A pile. For our local population, the level of harm done by this virus has been immeasurable. It has not been uncommon to be treating numerous members of the same family, coming in one after another or sometimes as a unit. One elderly couple shared a hospital room in their last days of life, holding hands between the bed rails before one and then the other died. Spread of Covid-19 among family members is common, and deadly. Relaxing measures appears foolhardy and risks an explosion of cases when we are on the cusp of a mass vaccine roll-out.After seeing such tragedy, the suggestion of relaxing Covid rules for Christmas is a difficult pill to swallow. Typically, winter is the most brutal time of year for the NHS. Social care can be patchy or non-existent, families who provide care are often away and the cold weather exacerbates the medical condition of our patients with lung and heart disease. One of our local hospitals recorded their busiest ever day on January 2 – eight days after Christmas. Obviously, any relaxation of the rules that might allow infection rates to bloom over Christmas would spell disaster.  Christmas is typically a difficult time for many staff members who are missing time with their loved ones. What gets us through is usually the boost in spirits from being together and knowing we are all doing our best under the circumstances. With low morale, high staff sickness rates and many clinicians facing burnout, this year feels like it will be difficult one. The NHS relies on the goodwill of staff.Related... Christmas Has Split Us Into Two Camps. Here's How To Square Them What The Scientists Are Saying About Boris Johnson’s Christmas Bubbles Plan In a system with an exhausted workforce, having to cope with a spike in Covid-19 infections, that goodwill will vanish and the patients who need us at this time will suffer.In times of adversity, necessity dictates the need for rationality over sentiment. NHS staff are in desperate need of a scientific approach to the management of this pandemic. Announcing Christmas-specific measures, although understandably well meaning, can only be detrimental for the health service.Many of those staff members who will be dealing with the consequences of a relaxation would have been working over the Christmas period and unable to see their loved ones anyway.Other festival celebrations have been curtailed in the name of Covid protection – very notably the restriction on gatherings that was communicated three hours before Eid earlier in the year. In light of Public Health England reporting that racism may have exacerbated disproportionate BAME deaths, it feels culturally insensitive that special rules for Christmas are made when this consideration was not forthcoming for the festivities of other faiths.Related... Will Christmas Covid Relaxations Trigger A New Year Hangover? Relaxing measures appears foolhardy and risks an explosion of cases when we are on the cusp of a mass vaccine roll-out.With a large and loud family, loving in-laws, and friends across the country, I feel the pain at not being able to catch up and be together over Christmas, but it feels like we have come so far and suffered so much to cause unnecessary harm in the name of seeing loved ones on this special day.So I have a suggestion – why not postpone Christmas this year? Arrange a day once we have a working vaccine and infection rates are under control to ensure that there are fewer empty chairs at Christmas dinner in 2021.Dr Richard Gilpin is a junior doctor who specialises in the care of older people. He is on the editorial team for Doctors’ Association UK, a professional organisation for UK doctors.More in Opinion... Opinion: Britain's Got A Drinking Problem. Lockdown Has Proved It Opinion: Burnout Is Our Next Big Threat Opinion: Journalists' Mental Health Is In Crisis. And That Matters For All Of Us Opinion: No, I Won't Be Baking Banana Bread This Lockdown – Or Doing Anything Else
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
LGBTQ+ Elders Share Their Life Stories: 'We All Want To Feel Heard'
“You think: ‘Oh, older people, they’re not going to be so exciting.’ But you know what, we are! And we were from the very beginning. Very witty, funny, creative and full of life and of course, because we’re older, we have better stories than younger people – there’s more of them!”Persia, a trans woman in her seventies who lives in Brighton, is one of a group of older LGBTQ+ people sharing their life stories in Hear Us Out, a new digital festival that kicks off virtually on Thursday, in the last week of lockdown.And she couldn’t be more excited about taking part, she tells HuffPost UK. The festival is the culmination of theatre director Dinos Aristidou’s idea to celebrate the many older LGBTQ+ people who live on the UK south coast, and to give these elders a platform to tell their truth – by speaking someone else’s.The main event is a free, live-streamed performance on Saturday September 28, featuring a series of true, five minute stories – anonymously told to protect privacy, but also to add a layer of drama. Performers will read each other’s stories verbatim – not just repeating the other person’s words, but the ums and ers, the pauses and the spaces between those words.“It’s very validating, like you’re being witnessed – and that’s very powerful because we all want to feel heard,” explains Carol, an actor in her sixties who lives in Hastings. “Sometimes to expose ourselves, if parts of our story are quite painful, is risking becoming vulnerable in a way perhaps we don’t want to be.” The stories in Hear Me Out vary in tone and subject, but the overarching theme is celebratory. “People have been through challenging things, joyous things,” says Janet, 56, who identifies as a disabled dyke, is retired and still writes poetry and prose. “These aren’t straightforward coming out stories. They’re stories of lived lives and experiences that went along with those lived lives.”Theatre is a “powerful tool”, she adds. Performers in Hear Me Out have lived through years of oppression and legislation; they have been through a lot. “I know people whose story is so challenging and painful for them, it’s not possible for them to speak their story themselves,“Janet says, but the idea it is made available to a wider audience with their permission: that is fantastic.”Carol compares the process to “channelling” another person. “By putting words into someone else’s mouth, we’ve had to really consider how they tell it: reproduce the tone, the spirit of that person,” she says. “It allowed me to step back from aspects of my own story. To be, not neutral exactly, but fully take it in, without feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed or ‘have I said too much?’”Related... How The Pandemic Could Affect Queer Students Starting Uni Inclusivity is at the heart of the work, say all the participants. One of the benefits of the production taking place online, due to Covid-19 restrictions, has been to open up the project, run  by Brighton’s New Writing South company, to people who may have found the pressure of performing on a physical stage too much.“My best friend is a shy introvert, but she found that doing it online as opposed to in a theatre, which was the original idea ... well, she would have buckled doing that,” says Carol. “But she has found a voice, it has amplified her voice.”Carol would have preferred a real theatre herself. “I struggle with technology at the best of times. I can get stressed very quickly if it’s not working,” she admits. “And we had to film ourselves, become filmmakers. What else do you want: my blood?!”But Janet see the long-term potential. “It’s a beautiful thing to be able to retain this in this form so it can then be listened to and shared on all manner of media into the future – it’s a fantastic way of holding onto people’s histories.”The production includes the voices of LGBTQ+ people who have struggled with drink and drug addiction. Anthony, a poet with a colourful backstory, having worked as a commercial lawyer in the City, a shopkeeper on New Bond Street and a Benedictine monk, says finding their common ground was a privilege. “We’ve all faced the same challenge and are coping in such different ways,” he says. “Coming through such pain and hardship, as a heroin addict, an alcoholic, people were driven into [these situations] by their sexuality. It’s lovely to feel that one has something in common with other people who’ve suffered like that.”As Carol adds: “It’s not all ’ha ha ha, hee hee hee”, is it, being gay or lesbian? Just because we can claim to have the best parties. Life hasn’t been a party – far from it! There’s not been enough partying!” The crux of the project, says director Dinos Aristidou, is the notion of stories that connect us, that bring about connection: how we may not have lived the same lives, but all our LGBTQ+ stories are in dialogue with one another.“It’s the story from silence to speaking out to celebration,” he says. “Because it’s an older people’s project, I was also very keen that it shouldn’t be simply a reminiscence project. I wanted it to be a celebration of people’s present, and the stories that got them to this moment, rather than a selection of memories.”There is plenty of life yet in the cast of Hear Us Out. Most are only in their sixties and seventies, with some participants younger still than that. But being platformed later does have its perks, says the cast. “At a time in your life where chronologically you get less interesting, where people show less interest, it is wonderful to have our opportunity to share our thoughts,” says Carol.Verbatim theatre has previously been used to represent the lives of the victims of other types of hardships. The musical London Road, which opened at the National Theatre in 2011, used real interviews with the people affected by the Ipswich murders to create a drama responding to those atrocities.The form could go even further, Carol believes: “It has huge untapped potential: if politicians had to take the words of their constituents, what a learning that would be. It’s such a tool for developing compassion and thinking about what it’s like to be the other. “And we are in a time where the other is othered more than ever.”The Hear Us Out digital festival runs online from November 26-29.READ MORE BBC Insists Staff Can Attend Pride Marches If They 'Don't Get Involved In Anything Controversial' In Leeds' Loneliest Street, Residents Would Like To Meet... Each Other Tiger King's Carole Baskin Opens Up About Sexuality: 'I've Always Considered Myself To Be Bisexual'
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
A Parent's Guide To The Covid-19 Vaccine And Kids
With news of not one, but three, effective Covid vaccines on the horizon, people are understandably buoyed by the prospect of 2021 returning to some form of normality. But parents may be left with even more questions now there’s an end (of sorts) in sight. Will children need to be vaccinated? If so, when? And have the existing vaccine trials involved children? To ease some of your concerns, we’ve attempted to answer some questions you may have.Related... Could We Have A Mass Vaccine Rollout By Christmas? Will children need the vaccine?It’s early days – none of the vaccines have been approved for widespread use yet – so we don’t know if and when children will be required to have the vaccine in the UK.What we do know is that the aim of a workable Covid-19 vaccine is to prevent severe illness in patients, rather than preventing transmission. And it’s now widely agreed children have a much milder experience of the virus than adults.We also know children aren’t a priority for the roll-out of the vaccine programme if and when it becomes available. Interim guidance published in September on the UK government’s website states care home residents and workers would be prioritised first, followed by those over 80 years of age and health and social care workers. It then moves down in five-year increments – so 75-year-olds, then 70-year-olds right down to 50-year-olds.After that, the rest of the population will be eligible, but there are no specifics on whether this includes children. The list is also subject to change, as people with medical conditions and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are considered higher risk and weren’t included in the guidance.It’s highly likely children with no underlying medical conditions will be at the bottom of the priorities pile, based on what we know about how the virus impacts their health. But if the aim is to ultimately reach herd immunity with a vaccine, children will need to be immunised, too.As Sallie Permar, an immunologist and professor at Duke University School of Medicine, told AAMC: “A paediatric vaccine would not only help children, it will be the basis of eventually eliminating Covid-19 in our population.”Related... Here's How The Four Key UK Vaccine Contenders Work Has the vaccine been tested on children?There are a few vaccines in clinical trials, with some already being tested on children, and others not that far along in the process.The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, for example, plans to recruit children aged 5-12 years old to trial it. Dr Tonia Thomas, from the Oxford Vaccine Group, tells HuffPost UK: “Our Phase II/III clinical trial protocol includes a group of children aged 5-12, however this group has not yet been recruited.”They haven’t been recruited yet as scientists need extensive safety data available from the adult studies before they can go ahead testing it on children.The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is already being tested on children and teens. A spokesperson told HuffPost UK they expanded their initial enrolment in the study from 30,000 people to 44,000 people. “This allowed us to include additional populations, including people as young as 12 years old and people with chronic, stable HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HCV (Hepatitis C virus), or HBV (Hepatitis B virus) infections”.They added: “We have submitted available safety data for the approximately 100 trial participants in the 12-15-year-old cohort who have received their second dose.”The group behind the adenoviral vaccine, Janssen, said at the end of October it planned to start testing its vaccine on those aged 12 to 18 as soon as possible. But a spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost UK that studies in the paediatric population (children) “would not likely be until next year”.What if parents disagree on giving their kids the vaccine?Family law specialist Patricia Robinson anticipates the Covid-19 vaccine will be the latest bone of contention between parents if they are separated.Robinson, who is a resolution specialist and partner in the family law team at Slater Heelis, says: “Some parents have differing opinions on whether their child should be inoculated for standard vaccinations and we expect that the coronavirus vaccine will be no different. If parents cannot agree on whether their child should receive the vaccination, legal proceedings may be necessary.”She points out that in a recent reported case, the court held that if the administration of a vaccine is in the best interests of a particular child, a parent can be overruled – “however, given the lack of familiarity of the Covid-19 vaccine, there is some degree of uncertainty.”If one parent wants their child to be immunised but the other parent does not, a court application can be made in order for the specific issue to be determined by a judge.“If Public Health England (PHE) support and recommend a vaccination, then it is most likely that the court would decide that it is in the child’s best interests to receive it,” adds Robinson.Related... Why We Will Still Need Mass Testing Even When There's A Vaccine Covid Vaccine Trial Stats Can Be Confusing. Here's What They Mean What The Scientists Are Saying About Boris Johnson’s Christmas Bubbles Plan
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
How To Resist The Urge To Impulse Buy This Black Friday
Your online basket is brimming and your finger is straying dangerously close to the ‘check-out’ button. You’ve fallen down the rabbit hole that is Black Friday. And that’s what they want. The annual shopping event is actively designed to encourage impulse buying, says Sally Francis-Miles from MoneySuperMarket, because “sales with limited discounts add extra pressure” on the consumer. Impulse shopping isn’t necessarily a problem if you end up with a product you love and can afford. But if that bread maker/sequin top/pogo stick ends up  languishing in the back of the cupboard, you’ve wasted your money. Do this too frequently or shop beyond your budget, and you could face racking up debts.To avoid this, we asked Francis-Miles for her top tips on avoiding impulse purchases you’ll later regret. Here’s what she recommends.Related... How To Spot A Dodgy Black Friday ‘Deal’ 1. Do your research and make a listThose targeted ads on social media and persuasive newsletters can be hard to ignore, so make a list of anything you actually want or need before you start scrolling. “With planned lists you’re targeting items to look for, rather than getting drawn into hard-to-avoid sales marketing,” says Francis-Miles. 2. Budget in advance  “The festive spirit is in full force early this year and everyone needs a bit more joy, but it’s still no reason to overspend to the point you’re paying for it well into 2021,” she adds. “Set a budget and keep a running total as you tick thingsoff your list.”If you plan to use Black Friday to do most of your Christmas shopping, MoneySuperMarket has a Christmas Saving Calculator that could help you work out how much you want to spend – and how much you will need to save to afford the Christmas you want. “Keep this in in mind when scanning the Black Friday offers for bargains, that may not really be a bargain,” Francis-Miles advises. Related... How To Buy The Perfect Gift, According To A Pro-Present Buyer 3. Remember: sales don’t always mean bargainsIt’s easy to get swept up in the idea that 50% off means something is a bargain, but that’s not always the case. Last year, an investigation from Which? found just one in 20 Black Friday “deals” actually worked out cheaper than the prices of those products at other times of the year.“Different places sell the same item at different prices. A quick internet search usually helps display a variety of prices but do factor in delivery costs too if you’re buying online,” says Francis-Miles. “Some can be high making it cheaper to shop elsewhere when you factor this in, even if the price of the item itself is slightly more.”4. Sales do happen outside Black FridayIf it’s not something you need imminently, take the pressure off by postponing your bargain hunting until after Christmas. “Sales do usually happen just after Christmas too, try to avoid the pressure of getting something now if you really can’t afford to,” says Francis-Miles.“Some smaller businesses have announced sales they’re doing ahead of time, and been clear when the offer isn’t going to come back to avoid an influx of orders they won’t be able to cope with, and to help consumers plan ahead a bit more.”5. Think about how you’ll use or wear items“It sounds like a simple one, but it can help solidify whether you should get something or not, even if it’s a purchase you’ve budgeted for,” says Francis-Miles.“Can you really see yourself or a recipient making use of an item? If it’s an item of clothing, plan items it can be worn with or places it can be worn to. If it’s something to use, make sure there are multiple examples it could be used for. An ice cream maker used once a year may not be the best buy, but a coffee machine used daily might be (though not for someone who barely drinks coffee!).”And if you still made a regrettable purchase? Don’t panic just yet. If you change your mind on something you’ve bought online, you’re protected under the Consumer Contracts Regulations and it can be cancelled for any reason within 14 days. You then have 14 days to return the item.There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as goods that have been personalised – the full details can be found online here. Many retailers offer longer returns policies than this and some have even extended their usual window, due to the pandemic.“If you’ve missed the boat on returns, don’t despair. Facebook Marketplace, eBay or local selling sites can be a good way to get something back for a purchase that you can no longer return to store or online,” says Francis-Miles.“Contact the retailer ahead though, they may be willing to make exceptions to their policy on a case-by-case basis.”READ MORE: Christmas Has Split Us Into Two Camps. Here's How To Square Them 19 Gorgeous Gifts For The Home – Because We're Not Going Anywhere Else Revealed: The Cheapest Real Christmas Trees On The High Street
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
LGBTQ+ Elders Share Their Life Stories: 'We All Want To Feel Heard'
“You think: ‘Oh, older people, they’re not going to be so exciting.’ But you know what, we are! And we were from the very beginning. Very witty, funny, creative and full of life and of course, because we’re older, we have better stories than younger people – there’s more of them!”Persia, a trans woman in her seventies who lives in Brighton, is one of a group of older LGBTQ+ people sharing their life stories in Hear Us Out, a new digital festival that kicks off virtually on Thursday, in the last week of lockdown.And she couldn’t be more excited about taking part, she tells HuffPost UK. The festival is the culmination of theatre director Dinos Aristidou’s idea to celebrate the many older LGBTQ+ people who live on the UK south coast, and to give these elders a platform to tell their truth – by speaking someone else’s.The main event is a free, live-streamed performance on Saturday September 28, featuring a series of true, five minute stories – anonymously told to protect privacy, but also to add a layer of drama. Performers will read each other’s stories verbatim – not just repeating the other person’s words, but the ums and ers, the pauses and the spaces between those words.“It’s very validating, like you’re being witnessed – and that’s very powerful because we all want to feel heard,” explains Carol, an actor in her sixties who lives in Hastings. “Sometimes to expose ourselves, if parts of our story are quite painful, is risking becoming vulnerable in a way perhaps we don’t want to be.” The stories in Hear Me Out vary in tone and subject, but the overarching theme is celebratory. “People have been through challenging things, joyous things,” says Janet, 56, who identifies as a disabled dyke, is retired and still writes poetry and prose. “These aren’t straightforward coming out stories. They’re stories of lived lives and experiences that went along with those lived lives.”Theatre is a “powerful tool”, she adds. Performers in Hear Me Out have lived through years of oppression and legislation; they have been through a lot. “I know people whose story is so challenging and painful for them, it’s not possible for them to speak their story themselves,“Janet says, but the idea it is made available to a wider audience with their permission: that is fantastic.”Carol compares the process to “channelling” another person. “By putting words into someone else’s mouth, we’ve had to really consider how they tell it: reproduce the tone, the spirit of that person,” she says. “It allowed me to step back from aspects of my own story. To be, not neutral exactly, but fully take it in, without feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed or ‘have I said too much?’”Related... How The Pandemic Could Affect Queer Students Starting Uni Inclusivity is at the heart of the work, say all the participants. One of the benefits of the production taking place online, due to Covid-19 restrictions, has been to open up the project, run  by Brighton’s New Writing South company, to people who may have found the pressure of performing on a physical stage too much.“My best friend is a shy introvert, but she found that doing it online as opposed to in a theatre, which was the original idea ... well, she would have buckled doing that,” says Carol. “But she has found a voice, it has amplified her voice.”Carol would have preferred a real theatre herself. “I struggle with technology at the best of times. I can get stressed very quickly if it’s not working,” she admits. “And we had to film ourselves, become filmmakers. What else do you want: my blood?!”But Janet see the long-term potential. “It’s a beautiful thing to be able to retain this in this form so it can then be listened to and shared on all manner of media into the future – it’s a fantastic way of holding onto people’s histories.”The production includes the voices of LGBTQ+ people who have struggled with drink and drug addiction. Anthony, a poet with a colourful backstory, having worked as a commercial lawyer in the City, a shopkeeper on New Bond Street and a Benedictine monk, says finding their common ground was a privilege. “We’ve all faced the same challenge and are coping in such different ways,” he says. “Coming through such pain and hardship, as a heroin addict, an alcoholic, people were driven into [these situations] by their sexuality. It’s lovely to feel that one has something in common with other people who’ve suffered like that.”As Carol adds: “It’s not all ’ha ha ha, hee hee hee”, is it, being gay or lesbian? Just because we can claim to have the best parties. Life hasn’t been a party – far from it! There’s not been enough partying!” The crux of the project, says director Dinos Aristidou, is the notion of stories that connect us, that bring about connection: how we may not have lived the same lives, but all our LGBTQ+ stories are in dialogue with one another.“It’s the story from silence to speaking out to celebration,” he says. “Because it’s an older people’s project, I was also very keen that it shouldn’t be simply a reminiscence project. I wanted it to be a celebration of people’s present, and the stories that got them to this moment, rather than a selection of memories.”There is plenty of life yet in the cast of Hear Us Out. Most are only in their sixties and seventies, with some participants younger still than that. But being platformed later does have its perks, says the cast. “At a time in your life where chronologically you get less interesting, where people show less interest, it is wonderful to have our opportunity to share our thoughts,” says Carol.Verbatim theatre has previously been used to represent the lives of the victims of other types of hardships. The musical London Road, which opened at the National Theatre in 2011, used real interviews with the people affected by the Ipswich murders to create a drama responding to those atrocities.The form could go even further, Carol believes: “It has huge untapped potential: if politicians had to take the words of their constituents, what a learning that would be. It’s such a tool for developing compassion and thinking about what it’s like to be the other. “And we are in a time where the other is othered more than ever.”The Hear Us Out digital festival runs online from November 26-29.READ MORE BBC Insists Staff Can Attend Pride Marches If They 'Don't Get Involved In Anything Controversial' In Leeds' Loneliest Street, Residents Would Like To Meet... Each Other Tiger King's Carole Baskin Opens Up About Sexuality: 'I've Always Considered Myself To Be Bisexual'
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
A Parent's Guide To The Covid-19 Vaccine And Kids
With news of not one, but three, effective Covid vaccines on the horizon, people are understandably buoyed by the prospect of 2021 returning to some form of normality. But parents may be left with even more questions now there’s an end (of sorts) in sight. Will children need to be vaccinated? If so, when? And have the existing vaccine trials involved children? To ease some of your concerns, we’ve attempted to answer some questions you may have.Related... Could We Have A Mass Vaccine Rollout By Christmas? Will children need the vaccine?It’s early days – none of the vaccines have been approved for widespread use yet – so we don’t know if and when children will be required to have the vaccine in the UK.What we do know is that the aim of a workable Covid-19 vaccine is to prevent severe illness in patients, rather than preventing transmission. And it’s now widely agreed children have a much milder experience of the virus than adults.We also know children aren’t a priority for the roll-out of the vaccine programme if and when it becomes available. Interim guidance published in September on the UK government’s website states care home residents and workers would be prioritised first, followed by those over 80 years of age and health and social care workers. It then moves down in five-year increments – so 75-year-olds, then 70-year-olds right down to 50-year-olds.After that, the rest of the population will be eligible, but there are no specifics on whether this includes children. The list is also subject to change, as people with medical conditions and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are considered higher risk and weren’t included in the guidance.It’s highly likely children with no underlying medical conditions will be at the bottom of the priorities pile, based on what we know about how the virus impacts their health. But if the aim is to ultimately reach herd immunity with a vaccine, children will need to be immunised, too.As Sallie Permar, an immunologist and professor at Duke University School of Medicine, told AAMC: “A paediatric vaccine would not only help children, it will be the basis of eventually eliminating Covid-19 in our population.”Related... Here's How The Four Key UK Vaccine Contenders Work Has the vaccine been tested on children?There are a few vaccines in clinical trials, with some already being tested on children, and others not that far along in the process.The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, for example, plans to recruit children aged 5-12 years old to trial it. Dr Tonia Thomas, from the Oxford Vaccine Group, tells HuffPost UK: “Our Phase II/III clinical trial protocol includes a group of children aged 5-12, however this group has not yet been recruited.”They haven’t been recruited yet as scientists need extensive safety data available from the adult studies before they can go ahead testing it on children.The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is already being tested on children and teens. A spokesperson told HuffPost UK they expanded their initial enrolment in the study from 30,000 people to 44,000 people. “This allowed us to include additional populations, including people as young as 12 years old and people with chronic, stable HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HCV (Hepatitis C virus), or HBV (Hepatitis B virus) infections”.They added: “We have submitted available safety data for the approximately 100 trial participants in the 12-15-year-old cohort who have received their second dose.”The group behind the adenoviral vaccine, Janssen, said at the end of October it planned to start testing its vaccine on those aged 12 to 18 as soon as possible. But a spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost UK that studies in the paediatric population (children) “would not likely be until next year”.What if parents disagree on giving their kids the vaccine?Family law specialist Patricia Robinson anticipates the Covid-19 vaccine will be the latest bone of contention between parents if they are separated.Robinson, who is a resolution specialist and partner in the family law team at Slater Heelis, says: “Some parents have differing opinions on whether their child should be inoculated for standard vaccinations and we expect that the coronavirus vaccine will be no different. If parents cannot agree on whether their child should receive the vaccination, legal proceedings may be necessary.”She points out that in a recent reported case, the court held that if the administration of a vaccine is in the best interests of a particular child, a parent can be overruled – “however, given the lack of familiarity of the Covid-19 vaccine, there is some degree of uncertainty.”If one parent wants their child to be immunised but the other parent does not, a court application can be made in order for the specific issue to be determined by a judge.“If Public Health England (PHE) support and recommend a vaccination, then it is most likely that the court would decide that it is in the child’s best interests to receive it,” adds Robinson.Related... Why We Will Still Need Mass Testing Even When There's A Vaccine Covid Vaccine Trial Stats Can Be Confusing. Here's What They Mean What The Scientists Are Saying About Boris Johnson’s Christmas Bubbles Plan
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How To Resist The Urge To Impulse Buy This Black Friday
Your online basket is brimming and your finger is straying dangerously close to the ‘check-out’ button. You’ve fallen down the rabbit hole that is Black Friday. And that’s what they want. The annual shopping event is actively designed to encourage impulse buying, says Sally Francis-Miles from MoneySuperMarket, because “sales with limited discounts add extra pressure” on the consumer. Impulse shopping isn’t necessarily a problem if you end up with a product you love and can afford. But if that bread maker/sequin top/pogo stick ends up  languishing in the back of the cupboard, you’ve wasted your money. Do this too frequently or shop beyond your budget, and you could face racking up debts.To avoid this, we asked Francis-Miles for her top tips on avoiding impulse purchases you’ll later regret. Here’s what she recommends.Related... How To Spot A Dodgy Black Friday ‘Deal’ 1. Do your research and make a listThose targeted ads on social media and persuasive newsletters can be hard to ignore, so make a list of anything you actually want or need before you start scrolling. “With planned lists you’re targeting items to look for, rather than getting drawn into hard-to-avoid sales marketing,” says Francis-Miles. 2. Budget in advance  “The festive spirit is in full force early this year and everyone needs a bit more joy, but it’s still no reason to overspend to the point you’re paying for it well into 2021,” she adds. “Set a budget and keep a running total as you tick thingsoff your list.”If you plan to use Black Friday to do most of your Christmas shopping, MoneySuperMarket has a Christmas Saving Calculator that could help you work out how much you want to spend – and how much you will need to save to afford the Christmas you want. “Keep this in in mind when scanning the Black Friday offers for bargains, that may not really be a bargain,” Francis-Miles advises. Related... How To Buy The Perfect Gift, According To A Pro-Present Buyer 3. Remember: sales don’t always mean bargainsIt’s easy to get swept up in the idea that 50% off means something is a bargain, but that’s not always the case. Last year, an investigation from Which? found just one in 20 Black Friday “deals” actually worked out cheaper than the prices of those products at other times of the year.“Different places sell the same item at different prices. A quick internet search usually helps display a variety of prices but do factor in delivery costs too if you’re buying online,” says Francis-Miles. “Some can be high making it cheaper to shop elsewhere when you factor this in, even if the price of the item itself is slightly more.”4. Sales do happen outside Black FridayIf it’s not something you need imminently, take the pressure off by postponing your bargain hunting until after Christmas. “Sales do usually happen just after Christmas too, try to avoid the pressure of getting something now if you really can’t afford to,” says Francis-Miles.“Some smaller businesses have announced sales they’re doing ahead of time, and been clear when the offer isn’t going to come back to avoid an influx of orders they won’t be able to cope with, and to help consumers plan ahead a bit more.”5. Think about how you’ll use or wear items“It sounds like a simple one, but it can help solidify whether you should get something or not, even if it’s a purchase you’ve budgeted for,” says Francis-Miles.“Can you really see yourself or a recipient making use of an item? If it’s an item of clothing, plan items it can be worn with or places it can be worn to. If it’s something to use, make sure there are multiple examples it could be used for. An ice cream maker used once a year may not be the best buy, but a coffee machine used daily might be (though not for someone who barely drinks coffee!).”And if you still made a regrettable purchase? Don’t panic just yet. If you change your mind on something you’ve bought online, you’re protected under the Consumer Contracts Regulations and it can be cancelled for any reason within 14 days. You then have 14 days to return the item.There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as goods that have been personalised – the full details can be found online here. Many retailers offer longer returns policies than this and some have even extended their usual window, due to the pandemic.“If you’ve missed the boat on returns, don’t despair. Facebook Marketplace, eBay or local selling sites can be a good way to get something back for a purchase that you can no longer return to store or online,” says Francis-Miles.“Contact the retailer ahead though, they may be willing to make exceptions to their policy on a case-by-case basis.”READ MORE: Christmas Has Split Us Into Two Camps. Here's How To Square Them 19 Gorgeous Gifts For The Home – Because We're Not Going Anywhere Else Revealed: The Cheapest Real Christmas Trees On The High Street
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