Categories
Equality

Your chance to support trans joy this month

This month, it’s time to celebrate moments of trans joy – and help a trans-led charity while you’re at it.

Sounds intriguing. Tell me more.

We Exist is a charity led by trans people, for trans people, to help platform their work, their ideas and discuss issues affecting the trans community.

On 27th February, to celebrate the end of LGBT+ History Month, We Exist will be running an online fundraiser event to help support their Trans Healthcare Fund.

What is the fundraiser?

Supported by Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest and Dalston Superstore, a queer venue, the fundraiser features a huge lineup of trans and gender non-conforming performers and work from We Exist’s artists in residence.

Plus, films from Fringe!, followed by a big, queer dance party run by Dalston Superstore.

The whole event is online, so get dressed up, follow along and enjoy!

For more information on Trans Day of Joy, visit the event page

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.

Categories
Equality

City’s first night shelter solely for LGBTQ+ people

Brighton has opened its first-ever night shelter specifically for LGBTQIA+ people.

Tell me more.

The shelter will run for 10 weeks as part of a pilot scheme to highlight just how badly affected the UK’s LGBTQIA+ population is by homelessness – and how important it is to have safe spaces to help them.

The shelter opened on January 23rd 2023 and has 10 beds available on a referral-only basis.

How does it work?

People can access the shelter for anywhere from a couple of nights to two weeks, and staff at the shelter will help them find longer-term accommodation.

The shelter provides hot food and showers, beds and communal spaces, as well as access to resources to help people fleeing domestic violence and more.

How is it being set up?

A number of charities have come together to set up the shelter in the UK’s ‘gay capital’.

Led by Charity Switchboard, The Rainbow Fund is helping by donating funds. Meanwhile, Stonewall Housing has provided a housing advocate and The Outside Project is helping with the model the shelter is based on.

To find out more about the night shelter, visit the Switchboard website.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.

Categories
Equality

YouTuber covers cost of 1,000 eye surgeries

The largest cause of blindness worldwide is cataracts, a cloudy region on the lens of your eye. They become increasingly common as we get older – more than half of all Americans over the age of 80 have some form of cataracts. 

The condition can be cured with a 10-minute surgery, but the issue is that the procedure can be incredibly expensive, ranging anywhere from a minimum of $3,000 to $5,000 per eye.

To help, YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, announced that he has paid for cataract surgeries for hundreds of patients who couldn’t afford the procedure in the video, titled “1,000 Blind People See For The First Time.” 

“When patients go into surgery, there’s a chance that they can get their life back,” Donaldson, who is the most-followed individual YouTuber in the world with 131 million subscribers, says in the video.

“I wanted to provide this to as many people as possible.”

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

Categories
Wellbeing

Amazing breakthrough in breast cancer vaccine

There has been a huge breakthrough in creating a vaccine for breast cancer.

Amazing! Tell me more.

Cancer is an incredibly difficult thing to treat – because it comes from our own cells uncontrollably mutating. There are even many different types of breast cancer, and each one responds differently to treatment.

That being said, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine just made a very promising breakthrough.

Go on

The team recently published results of their study, which they have been working on for twenty years. Twenty years!

Anyway, these results were of the first phase of human trials for a plasmid DNA-based vaccine.

Not only have they found the vaccine to be totally safe, but it’s also very effective in preventing the growth of human epidermal growth receptor 2 (HER2) tumour cells.

…right?

These HER2 proteins are responsible for causing one of the most fast-acting and aggressive types of breast cancer. 

Lead author of the study Dr. Mary (Nora) L. Disis believes this is a huge breakthrough – and that the vaccine may even be used in clinics by 2030.

Incredible news!

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

Categories
Planet

We can all do our bit to protect hedgehogs – here’s why

Today is ‘National Hedgehog Day’ – yep.

Sorry, what?

You heard us! Today is National Hedgehog Day and, while it’s important to celebrate these adorable little critters, it’s also a call to action to make sure that they are protected.

Rural hedgehog numbers have fallen by between 30-75% since 2000 and, while urban populations are beginning to stabilise thanks to human intervention, there’s still a lot that needs to be done to protect these walking pinecones.

Why do we have National Hedgehog Day in the first place?

According to Tommy Wilde from floofmania.com: “The story goes that ‘hedgehog day’ goes as far back as the Roman period where people kept an eye on the hedgehog’s hibernation pattern and used it as an indicator to predict spring.

“The idea was, that if a hedgehog came out of hibernating on February 2nd and didn’t see its own shadow, it would go back into hibernation… on the other hand, if it did see its own shadow, it would come out of hibernation, and it would be a sign that spring would start early!”

Native hedgehog. Credit BHPS

Are hedgehogs really that important?

Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer for Hedgehog Street says: “Hedgehogs have been a part of our cultural heritage for centuries (everyone knows and loves Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy-Winkle!), but they’re also a vital part of our ecosystem. 

How do we help protect hedgehogs?

According to Grace, one of the best ways to help is to make a Hedgehog Highway (a small 13cm square gap in or under a garden boundary), which allows hedgehogs to travel between gardens looking for food, shelter and mates. 

Hedgehog Street is a nationwide campaign run by wildlife charities The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Since 2011 they have been working to reverse the decline in native hedgehogs – one of Britain’s favourite mammals that used to be prevalent in our towns, villages and countryside.

If you’re interested in taking more action to protect these adorable, spiny lil things, there’s lots of free advice at www.hedgehogstreet.org.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Life on Land.

Categories
Equality Wellbeing

Blind children learn to read with braille book club

National Braille Press has been working on and has made a name for itself providing reading materials that blind and hard-of-seeing people can read. 

“Braille is literacy by definition for blind or low vision person. If they don’t have that skill it’s hard to learn sentence structure and grammar and becoming more independent in life,” said Brian MacDonald, President and CEO of the Braille National Press.

With that in mind, the National Braille Press started a children’s book club to help kids that might not be able to see still learn to read. Every month, the organization sends out classic children’s books with custom braille pages put together by staff and volunteers at their facility. 

“We promote literacy for blind children through outreach programs and we encourage the teaching of braille to blind children by providing age-appropriate braille reading and support materials for caregivers and educators,” they write on their website.

Beyond children’s books, the National Braille Press is the largest producer of training materials, information pamphlets, and even tests in braille for the United States.

“Nothing substitutes for the ability to read. For blind people, braille is an essential tool in the process of becoming literate,” the NBP writes.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

Categories
Culture

Slow cooker donations support food banks

Two UK businesses have donated slow cookers to their local food banks to help with the cost of living crisis.

Tell me more.

John Pye Auctions has worked with Nottingham-based branding agency Rizk McCay Tribe to donate a total of 60 slow cookers to local food banks.

Throughout December, each business donated slow cookers to the areas of Beeston, Bulwell, Bestwood, Clifton and Long Eaton food banks.

Great! But why slow cookers?

Slow cookers are incredibly energy efficient and use significantly less electricity than your standard oven or stove. 

In this time of energy crisis, where gas and electricity are incredibly expensive, food banks can still afford to cook hot, delicious meals for as many people as possible.

If you can comfortably afford to do so, consider donating to your local food bank during this cost-of-living crisis, to make sure nobody goes without.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.

Categories
Wellbeing

Planting trees could save lives during summer heat

A new study has found that planting more trees could save lives.

Hang on … what?

That’s right! Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health found that increasing the number of trees in urban areas can lower temperatures.

The European average tree coverage in urban areas is around 14.9%. By planting more trees and increasing the average to 30%, temperatures in those places can be lowered by as much as 0.4C.

So what does that have to do with saving lives?

Heatwaves can have a huge impact on people’s health  – one particularly bad heatwave in 2003 caused more than 70,000 excess deaths across Europe.

By putting in preventative measures, like planting trees, the hope is that we can avoid these unnecessary deaths altogether – as well as other, less serious health problems, like heatstroke.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

Categories
Wellbeing

Teen-to-teen crisis hotline helps Oregon teens in need

Youth mental health is declining in the United States and while much of the blame can be leveled at the pandemic, the trend was still visible for over a decade beforehand.

That trend is exacerbated in Oregon which finds itself as one of the worst states in terms of mental health care accessibility for teens. 

One organization, YouthLine is trying to address that and make a dent in the youth mental health crisis.

The organization has a teen-to-teen system where teenage volunteers help provide crisis support to other teens that call in. YouthLine is part of the larger LinesForLife that helps provide crisis lines to the whole of Oregon.

What else do they do to support?

Beyond their crisis line, they also operate an outreach program to destigmatize mental health in the region.

On top of that, they also maintain a massive list of resources for everything from personal empowerment to COVID-19 help.

“Empowering young people is at the heart of what we do at YouthLine,” they write on their website.

“Our programs are designed to elevate youth voices and equip youth with the tools and skills to manage their own well-being and offer help to others.”

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

Categories
Wellbeing

This ‘warm bank’ map helps people in need

Several charities have come together to create a virtual map showing you where to find ‘warm banks’ this winter.

Hold on – what are warm banks?

Warm banks are places, usually public spaces, where people who cannot afford to run their heating can visit to go and get warm.

Often, these are set up by community groups, local councils and religious venues that are making their space, and their heat, available to people during this cost-of-living crisis.

So how does it work?

Warm Welcome, set up by a bunch of charities including Christians Against Poverty and Stewardship in association with ChurchWorks, has a virtual map to help people in need find their nearest warm bank.

Plus, Warm Welcome also has great instructions on how to set up a warm bank, if you are a community space.

If you need to find a warm space this winter, or want to register yourself as a warm bank, visit the Warm Welcome website to learn everything you need to know.

VIEW THE WARM BANK MAP HERE.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.