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Channel your creativity this Christmas and let your imagination run wild. Give a gift which keeps on giving and provide hours of endless fun that gets their grey matter going. Arts and crafts, designing and building or playing music are wonderful ways to keep both big and small ones entertained during the holidays and allow for true self-expression through both an exciting and educational approach. It’s also a fabulous way to spend quality time together as a family and get them away from screens and technology.

It’s a long-established fact that participating in art of any form makes us all happier. The Teapot Trust children’s charity promotes a ‘Do Art’ campaign and uses art therapy as a way of helping young people cope with long term medical conditions. Laura Young, founder of The Teapot Trust said, “Creating art allows children to relax and focus their minds on a positive and rewarding task, relieving them of stresses and anxiety that they may be having to deal with on a daily basis”.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a gift guide to help you make the most out of your creative streak and help you choose the right items for you. High Street retailer Ryman Stationery offer a huge range of creative products to allow you to truly express yourself. Whether you’re an aspiring architect, potty about painting or a singing sensation, we’ve got the perfect present for you and your loved ones. The sky’s the limit.

Resident Artists

For a beautiful present that they will treasure for years to come, this Ryman Luxury Art Set 106 Piece (£19.99 reduced to half price £9.99) will make a wonderful keepsake to open on Christmas morning. Ideal for those with a passion for painting, it includes pastels, pencils and watercolours so you can treasure their works of art forever.

Encourage their artistic flair with this Tikk Tokk Euro Adjustable Art Easel (£41.99). Featuring a chalkboard, whiteboard, magnetic board and drawing board, your mini Monet can draw, write or paint to their heart’s content.

Bring a classic back this Christmas with The Original Spirograph Deluxe Set (£27.99). Create unique shapes and designs and let your design skills run wild.

Let’s Build

For budding engineers, the Knex Beginner Fun Building Set Assorted (£6.99 available online) is a perfect present to introduce little ones to designing and building. Suitable for ages 5-10, this set includes 10 different designs to alight the imagination and let their inner architect come out to play.

Suitable for both those new to the iconic little bricks or equally suitable for adding to an existing collection, the LEGO Classic Creative Suitcase (£14.99 available online) is the ideal parcel for placing under the tree. With an assortment of colours, shapes and sizes included, let your imagination soar and create a variety of objects. The handy carry case means little ones can take their LEGO creations with them wherever they venture, ideal for families on the move during the holidays.

The Connex Amazing Drawer Kit (£9.99 reduced to £6.99) allows children to build and create simultaneously. Put the machine together and once constructed, create a selection of 64 detailed spiral patterns to make your artwork pop.

Tangible Fun

For fun that you can literally get your hands on! The Elmers Make Your Own Slime Starter Pack (£14.99) is a child-friendly kit that includes everything required to make your own slime. Make with your very own goo-monsters and enjoy hours of squishy, slippery, slimy fun together.

If you prefer to keep the mess to a minimum, the Crazy Aarons Thinking Putty Illusion Super Scarab Mini Tin (£2.99) makes a fabulous stocking filler for the putty lover in your life. This holographic version comes in a shimmering metallic colour so will not only keep your hands entertained, but your eyes too! Create shapes, figurines or just enjoy the feeling of the putty between your fingers – perfect for little ones or even as a stress reliever for bigger kids!

Science Chic

Hawking hero-worshippers and aspiring astrologists will love unwrapping the Connex Space Roller Kit (£9.99 reduced to £6.99). Build a never-ending space circuit for hours of entertainment whilst simultaneously learning about the physics of black holes.

Passionate about the prehistoric? This Dinosaur Giant Activity Book (£3.99) is a gorgeous gift for little ones to encourages creativity, dexterity and coordination and is also packed with fun-facts, puzzles and activities, all focused on our reptile ancestors.

Musical Mania

Karaoke kings and queens will just love this Mi-Mic Karaoke Microphone Speaker (£29.99 reduced to £14.99 until November 30). Let them be the star of the show and encourage their singing skills in chorus. In a colour range of gold, grey and pink, there’s a shade to suit everyone and with 48 LED flashing lights, the spotlight is guaranteed to shine on you. Who knows where it might lead.

For aspiring musicians, give the gift of music this Christmas. Never again will piano practice be boring again with this Academy of Music Electric Keyboard 54 Key (£29.99 reduced to £14.99) and it’s a perfect way to introduce youngsters to the keyboard as it is designed with small hands in mind. With the ability to record and playback their musical creations, children can keep a record of their progress and tap into their talent. Roll over Beethoven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Rutherford discovers whether he could make it as a rower

Greg Rutherford and Morgan Lake undertake rowing tests with SAS and British Rowing at th Sheriff’s Boathouse, Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake, England, 20th October

Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European long jump champion Greg Rutherford wowed British Rowing coaches recently when the 32-year-old tackled assessments that make up one of the most successful talent identification programmes in the country, World Class Start. He even broke a record for one of the tests.

World Class Start was responsible for 50 per cent of the rowing medallists at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and there was at least one graduate of the pathway programme in every medal-winning GB Rowing Team crew at Rio 2016. Now, British Rowing is working with its Official Analytics Partner, SAS, to enhance the world-renowned programme as part of a new data-driven project called Athlete Longitudinal Profiling.

Recently retired Rutherford, 32, and World Junior high jump and heptathlon champion, Morgan Lake, were invited to British Rowing’s state-of-the-art training venue in Caversham, Berkshire, to find out first-hand what it takes to experience some of the tests involved in World Class Start.

With British Rowing’s Moe Sbihi, Holly Hill and Sam Courty – all alumni of World Class Start – on hand to guide the jumpers through their tests, Greg and Morgan had a variety of measurements taken before getting into the more strenuous and grueling physical challenges.

No stranger to stepping outside of his comfort zone after appearing on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, Rutherford said: “I’ve found that rowing – a sport that I’ve never in my life considered – is a sport I’m actually not bad at, which is a fascinating thing for me to find out.

“Before we did anything else, we measured height and arm span and the first thing that was said was that I was 2cm shorter than what British Rowing would accept as the minimum for a rower, so from the first moment I started those dreams were dashed slightly.

“What was fascinating, as we went into the actual testing, was that I set a new record on the leg press machine, which shows that actually you can make it up in slightly different ways.”

The British long jump record holder (8.51m (+1.7 m/s)) was effusive in his support of British Rowing’s data-driven approach to enhancing its talent ID programme with Athlete Longitudinal Profiling aided by SAS. He said: “The approach British Rowing is taking is fantastic and I think it will open up a sport that predominantly people would assume is not for everybody, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

“I think SAS’ data analytics could be used across all sports. As we modernise and actually get into the 21st century – because some sports really are stuck in the past – we’ll find that stat-driven training and development is something that could be really useful.”

Indoor Rowing
After the initial testing, Rutherford took to the rowing machine. A short film of his activity that he shared on Twitter caught the attention of four-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Matthew Pinsent, who was full of praise for the first-time rower.

https://twitter.com/GregJRutherford/status/10602773004308029…

Following the experience, Rutherford added: “The interesting thing with something like rowing, which is another thing I didn’t realise, is that there’s a whole competitive indoor scene on the ergos, and you can go out there and start rowing that way; so actually, if initially you don’t make it, there is still a good level of crossover from being able to go to a gym and train, which we don’t have in track and field.”

With the Mizuno British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC) less than two weeks away on Saturday 8 December 2018, British Rowing has extended the former Olympian an invitation to take part.

Kenny Baillie, British Rowing Director of Partnerships & Communications, said: “Greg’s performance at Caversham was phenomenal, particularly the leg press and then later, on the rowing machine. Although he rowed over a relatively short racing distance, he was competitive when up against some of our most senior athletes.

“After having Sir Bradley Wiggins competing at BRIC 2017, it would be a thrill to keep up the tradition of having Olympic gold medallists from non-rowing disciplines taking up the challenge.”

To watch how both Greg Rutherford and Morgan Lake got on, visit: https://youtu.be/qPpBJ5bDvow

Find out more information about the partnership between SAS and British Rowing here: https://www.sas.com/en_gb/offers/british-rowing.html

Stigma still exists for children in care

A new ScotCen Panel attitudes survey has revealed that, while attitudes in Scotland to care experienced young people are generally very positive, some people still hold discriminatory attitudes.

The survey, commissioned by the Life Changes Trust and carried out by the Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen), reports positively that the majority of people in Scotland feel that being in care ‘makes no difference’ to whether children behave well or badly (72%), or whether they are a good or bad influence on others (88%).

A majority also feel that being in care ‘makes no difference’ to whether a young person is more or less likely to get into trouble with the police (64%), or whether they make a good parent or not (83%).

However, over a third (35%) of people in Scotland do believe that children in care are more likely to get into trouble with the police and around a quarter (24%) believe that children in care are worse behaved than other children.

And while most people believe that ending up in care is not the fault of the child, a significant minority – 4 in 10 (42%) – think it is likely children are in care ‘because the parents can’t cope with their child’s behaviour’.

Heather Coady, Director of the Life Changes Trust Care Experienced Young People programme said: “When it comes to care experienced young people, there is a significant gap between public understanding and reality.

“We know that children and young people become involved with the care system when their parents are unable to provide adequate care or protection. Poverty, social exclusion, chronic unemployment, poor housing, and lack of community resources make it more likely that a family will come into contact with the care system. That’s the reality. But people often believe that children become involved in the care system because they are bad, or because of something they did. In fact, 88% of looked-after young people in Scotland entered the care system on care and protection grounds.

“It’s important that we recognise these gaps, because what the public thinks and feels about the care system and the young people who experience it matters hugely. Changes to policy and practice need public support to deliver lasting transformation.”

According to the research, around 6 in 10 (58%) people in Scotland know someone who has been in care, or have been in care themselves. Around a quarter (26%) of people have a friend who has been in care and 1 in 10 (10%) have a family member who has been in care.

This research is the first in Scotland to explore public attitudes to care experienced young people and it raises questions about the balance between people’s knowledge of the challenges that face care experienced young people and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours.

This survey highlighted the following:

Knowledge

• Around 6 in 10 (58%) people in Scotland know someone who has been in care, or have experience of being in care themselves.
• Around a quarter (26%) of people in Scotland have a friend who has been in care.
• Around 1 in 10 have a job that involves working with people in care (12%) or have a colleague (11%) or a family member (10%) who has been in care.
• One in ten (10%) reported knowing ‘someone else’ who had been in care.

Opinions on why young people end up in care

• The most common perception of why children are in care is ‘because their parents are addicted to alcohol or drugs’, with over 7 in 10 (73%) believing this is a likely reason.
• Over half (54%) think it is likely that children are in care ‘because there is not enough government support for families’
• 4 in 10 (42%) think it is likely children are in care ‘because the parents can’t cope with their child’s behaviour’.
• People on the left of the political spectrum, in the lowest income group, and those living in the most deprived areas are the most likely to believe that ‘children are in care because there’s not enough government support for families’.

Attitudes towards care experienced young people

• The majority of people in Scotland feel that being in care ‘makes no difference’ to whether children behave well or badly (72%), or whether they are a good or bad influence on others (88%).
• A majority also feel that being in care ‘makes no difference’ to whether they are more or less likely to get into trouble with the police (64%), or whether they make a good parent or not (83%).
• However, over a third (35%) of people in Scotland do believe that children in care are more likely to get into trouble with the police and around a quarter (24%) believe that children in care are worse behaved than other children.

Attitudes to forming relationships with care experienced young people

• The majority of people (68%) feel happy for their children to form a friendship with care experienced young people (with around a quarter saying they would be neither be happy or unhappy).
• Similarly, almost 8 in 10 (79%) say that they would be happy if a close relative ‘married or formed a long-term relationship’ with someone who had spent most of their childhood in foster care.
• However, a smaller proportion (71%) say that they would be happy for a close relative of theirs to marry or form a long-term relationship with someone who has spent most of their childhood in a residential home.

The survey drew the following conclusions:

• While the majority of people in Scotland do not have negative views on care experienced young people, a significant minority do hold attitudes that might be deemed to be discriminatory or stigmatising.

• Negative attitudes can influence how people behave towards, or make decisions about, care experienced young people and adults. Such negative attitudes need to be challenged if people with care experience are going to be able to lead fulfilling lives free from stigma and discrimination.

Heather Coady added “Right now, the story people tell of care experienced people isn’t one of success. But it’s time we stopped looking at the negative and started to concentrate on the positive. Care experienced young people are just as likely to be talented, articulate, intelligent and full of potential as other young people, they may just need extra support to fulfil that potential. So it’s very important that we challenge negative stereotypes and instead look at ways to provide that extra support and to believe in young people. These issues need to stay on the public and political agenda so that we can create the best life possible for care experienced young people.”

Driverless vehicles will unleash a new industrial revolution – but we must address legal issues first

The legal and ethical implications of driverless vehicles threaten their development, new research from Université Paris-Saclay warns.

The two main issues that self-transport vehicles face are the protection of personal data and responsibility, says Professor Mélanie Clément-Fontaine, expert on the impact of AI and data on intellectual property and digital law.

If smart and autonomous machines have the capacity to be trained and make decisions independently, it requires those involved in the development and commercialisation of self-transport vehicles to build in security and ethics at the outset.

Thereby recognising that they must be prepared to accept legal liability for the quality of the technology they produce.

“Self-transport vehicles are the robots of tomorrow. Now that humankind stands on the threshold of an era when ever more sophisticated robots, bots, androids and other manifestations of AI seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution – which is likely to leave no stratum of society untouched – it is vitally important for legislature to consider its legal and ethical implications and effects, without stifling innovation,” says Clément-Fontaine.

When the European Union introduced the right to be forgotten earlier this year, the link between the protection of personal data and private life was strengthened. Now the development of driverless vehicles must find its way in today’s increasingly challenging legal landscape.

These findings were published in the French journal Les Objets connectés; “Self-transport vehicles in the eye of the cyclone of reforms in robotics, personnel data and civil liberty”.

DELAYS IN LUNG CANCER TREATMENT ‘CANNOT BE TOLERATED’ SAY EXPERTS

DELAYS IN LUNG CANCER TREATMENT ‘CANNOT BE TOLERATED’ SAY EXPERTS
Three out of four patients diagnosed ‘too late’

Variations in lung cancer care ‘cannot be tolerated’ and many people face ‘unwarranted’ delays in treatment, says a new report published today (22 November 2018) by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC).1

According to the report, just a quarter (27%) of lung cancer patients in England receive an early diagnosis (stage I or II) – and only around three quarters of lung cancer patients (72.6%) get treated within the current 62-day national cancer waiting time standard.1

“Three out of four people with lung cancer are diagnosed too late to be suitable for potentially curative treatment” says Professor Mick Peake (Chair), Clinical Director, Centre for Cancer Outcomes, Cancer Collaborative, UCLH and Chair of the UKLCC’s Clinical Advisory Group. “Unwarranted delays in treatment, even at the early stages, can allow a tumour to grow by just a few millimetres which can have a dramatic effect on someone’s chance of survival.”

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK for both men and women – with five-year survival rates consistently lagging behind many other countries in Europe. England currently ranks 26th out of 29 countries.3

Titled ‘Millimetres Matter’, the UKLCC report is calling for local cancer services to implement the National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway (NOLCP), an NHS England initiative which advocates a standardised care pathway for lung cancer patients, wherever they live, as well as faster access to diagnostic tests and treatment and reduced waiting times.4

The UKLCC believes putting the NOLCP into action, will help achieve its ambition of boosting five-year UK lung cancer survival to 25% by 2025.*

Patients diagnosed at the earliest stage of lung cancer are almost five times more likely to survive a year from diagnosis than those diagnosed in the later stages. 1

Currently, lung cancer patients in the UK are diagnosed with more advanced disease than many other countries and a third first reach specialist care following an emergency admission to hospital.5

Studies show there is a 16% increase in mortality if the time from lung cancer diagnosis to having surgery is more than 40 days – putting lives unnecessarily at risk.1

“A delayed diagnosis means patients having their worst fears dragged out, with thousands of people being left in an appalling state of limbo,” adds Richard Steyn, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon; Deputy Medical Director, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust; Honorary Associate Professor, University of Warwick and Chair of the UKLCC. “Despite improvements, we are still failing patients in England and the rest of the UK. More must be done to address the poor lung cancer survival in this country. Therefore, it is imperative that all hospital trusts adopt the National Optimum Lung Cancer Pathway.”

In addition to urging adherence to the National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway, the UKLCC’s report sets out a series of practical, real-life examples and case studies of how NHS trusts are already implementing elements of the NOLCP. These include a centralised booking system for diagnostic tests; appointment of a treatment pathway coordinator; inter-trust lung cancer referrals and providing patient travel for long-distance hospital appointments.1

Family Board Games and Puzzles Reign Supreme

Christmas is a time for family. Spending quality time with loved ones is something we all wish we had more time for and we can often be guilty of neglecting traditions due to our fast-paced way of living and digital age. But this winter, why not move away from technology and invest in some wholesome and cheering entertainment to keep the whole family amused for hours?

With a growing school of thought thinking it best to move away from time spent in front of screens, classic products such as board games and puzzles can help you relax as a family and provide endless hours of entertainment. Addiction to gaming and the excessive use of smart phones, televisions and the web is now recognised by the World Health Organisation as a disorder, which can lead to stress and significant impairment in day-to-day functioning*.

With this in mind, never before has it been so significant for families to understand the importance of time spent away from screens and what better time to encourage both young and old alike to ditch their technology, than at Christmas? So rather than sitting down to watch a film together, sit down and interact over a game together. Compete with your cousins, side with your sister or ally with your auntie. After all, what better way to bond than over a board game?

This festive season keep spirits high by focusing on fun that the whole family can enjoy together. Ryman Stationery understand the importance of time spent with loved ones and have a huge range of games and puzzles to suit you and your nearest and dearest. So, whether you opt for a mind-boggling war of wits or favour a fun and light-hearted game of cards, there’s something to suit everyone this Christmas.

Fantastic Fantasy

Using our imagination allows young and old to be as creative as we might dare. For those of you who love fantasy lands, why not tap into your favourite characters with an interactive game and immerse yourself in their world?

Winter is coming. Play detective with this Game of Thrones  Cluedo (£22.99). Find clues and use your wit to discover ‘who dunnit’ in this modern twist of the classic investigative game. Could it be Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen or perhaps the Hound? Only time will tell.

Are you a joker like Joey or more of a Monica? Put your knowledge to the test with this Friends Edition Trivial Pursuit (£8.99) and discover who the true Friends fanatic of the family really is.

It’s the online video craze that has seen youngsters go mad over but coax them off their screens with this Fortnite Monopoly Board Game (£24.99) (while stocks last) instead. A far more family-friendly version of the popular fantasy game, claim locations, battle opponents and survive – the last player standing, wins. Just make sure to play fair!

Know your witches and wizards from your muggles? Are you a Gryffindor or Slytherin? Let the games begin with Harry Potter Scrabble (£26.99). Perfect for fans of the books and films, this version celebrates the wonderful and enchanted vocabulary from the magical world of Hogwarts and beyond.

For a sweet stocking filler, why not treat a loved one to this charming Roald Dahl Top Trumps Card Game (£4.99)? A fun and educational game for the whole family, compare your favourite characters to each other. Whether Matilda, James and his Giant Peach or Fantastic Mr Fox, this is perfect for playing at home or whilst travelling to see relatives.

Feeling Puzzled

Puzzles are a great way to create a calm and soothing environment. Christmas can be chaotic so making time to spend piecing together a puzzle is a fabulous way to unwind with the family.

Create an aura of mystery with this magical Fantastic Beasts 1000 Piece Puzzle (£12.99) (available instore). For every witch, wizard and beast amongst the family, to keep you all enthralled for hours.

Do you have a Disney fan in the family? The Ravensburger Jigsaw Puzzle Disney Vintage Movie Posters 1000 Pieces (£11.69) brings to life 60 years of fairy-tale Disney movie posters. Whether you are mad for Mickey Mouse or a grown-up Peter Pan, you’ll love creating your own work of art.

To ensure your work in progress is kept immaculate, why not add one of these Puzzle Mates Puzzle and Rolls Jigsaw Mat (£8.99) to your constructions? Both a perfect surface for creating jigsaws and a protective storage capability, this will ensure your puzzle is left in-tact and ready to complete when you come back to it. No missing pieces or broken parts in sight!

Family Classics

You just can’t beat a classic and family members of any age range will love these much-loved British boardgames. The perfect accompaniment to any Christmas gathering, to keep you all occupied for as long as you wish.

Fancy a challenge? This Boggle Classic Word Game (£8.09) will have opponents racing against the sand timer to find words out of the jumbled letters. Up, down, this way or that, how many will you find?

Got a competitive streak with your sibling that just won’t go away? Battle it out with this Guess Who Game (£14.39). Using yes or no answers, narrow down their mystery character – before they discover who you are!

Any doctors in the building? The Classic Operation Game (£18.89) is one of the earliest electronic board games and a true classic. Take it in turns to play at being surgeon and operate to cure the ailing patient. The Doc with the least mistakes, wins!

Stress Relievers

If it all gets a bit heated and competitiveness gets out of hand, some light-hearted entertainment should be at close quarters! Laughter is always the best medicine so ensure you relieve any family tension, so don’t let family squabbles get the better of you.

The Who in The Room Board Game (£11.69) is a hilarious party game to provide you and your family with hours of amusement. With over 300 entertaining questions, players can decide ‘who in the room’ would be best suited to the scenario or description asked.

For musical lovers, why not add some melodic notes to your entertainment to diffuse any strained relations? This Disney Play That Tune (£4.99 reduced to £2.70) puts you and your family to the test both in knowledge and musical skill! Take it in turns to play a tune, whilst your rival’s try and guess what it is. With 60 songs to choose from, you’ll have no difficulty in re-discovering the humour together.

And if all else fails, use the Whoopee Cushion Practical Joke (£1.99) to lighten any mood and alleviate the festive stress. It wasn’t me!

Grab the bargains on Black Friday… but be alert for potential cyber fraud

Black Friday sales are a great opportunity to bag a bargain, particularly online. But while there are many Black Friday bargains to be had, cyber fraudsters also view this calendar event day as an opportunity for fraud.

More than 17 million Brits were hit by cybercrime in 2017. That said, there is no reason to avoid shopping online out of paranoia. Most stores and sellers are operated by legitimate businesses, however you should never become so comfortable with shopping online that you compromise your security through complacency.

Stay alert, observe safe shopping practices, and you will be able to enjoy the convenience and speed of Black Friday online sales without sacrificing safety. Cybersecurity company, BullGuard, has put together some useful tips that will help shoppers stay safe and avoid cyber criminals during the Black Friday sales.

Be alert for phishing mails
As Black Friday approaches cyber fraudsters get seriously busy crafting phishing emails. These emails are endlessly creative and claim to be from all sorts of organisations that you will know from well-known retailers, sports suppliers and even travel companies. The one thing they have in common is an offer that is too good to ignore. Except that’s exactly what you should do, ignore and delete them. The aim of the fraudsters is to get you to click on a link. If you do and go on to enter personal information to the website page you clicked through to, you will have just handed your information over to a fraudster.

Shop on websites that you trust
Well-known brands have a track record of trustworthiness. Whenever possible, buy from vendors you trust on sites that you trust. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out a new site or store, but if you have the option to shop somewhere safe and familiar for the same prices, it’s a good idea to take it. It certainly makes life easier and removes uncertainty from the equation.

Check website security
It should be a golden rule that you avoid buying something from a website that doesn’t have ‘https’ at the start of the URL. The ‘s’ stands for secure and signifies encrypted data. You should also look for a green padlock in the browser bar as this also symbolises the same thing. If either of these things is missing, give the site a wide berth.

Poorly designed websites
If a website isn’t professionally designed, it might mean that the owner of the site isn’t a professional and could also be a scammer. Even if the vendor is well intentioned, the site could be compromised if the site design isn’t competent.

A well-designed website is usually a good sign when you’re shopping somewhere new. If you get a lot of pop-ups and cannot close them, it is best to stay away. Another red flag is when you navigate to a site that is difficult or impossible to navigate away from. It’s a good warning sign.

Beware of social media scams
Your email account isn’t the only place you can receive phishing messages. Customers are often targeted on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Scammers will often send a message that looks like it comes from the social media service itself, but the links in the message will take you to fake pages. Social media sites will never ask you for your user name and password in order to verify your account through a private message. Be very alert when you receive messages from unknown senders.

Be careful shopping online with mobile devices
When using a mobile device you can receive an abbreviated URL for a website. This can mislead buyers into phishing scams. For example, it is common to shorten URLs for display on sites like Twitter or even some shopping websites. However, since the URL is shortened it is impossible to know where you are being sent when you click the link.

You may also be tempted to shop on a public network, but these unsecured networks have security vulnerabilities. When using a mobile device make sure you are using a password protected network. On iPhones, secure networks will have a little padlock next to the network name when you connect. Other operating systems will have a similar technique for showing secure networks that you should note when shopping.

Use credit cards
Credit cards aren’t tied to your personal account so if you are unlucky enough to be defrauded the risk is minimised. Plus, credit card fraud, once it is proven, is often refundable. Debit cards on the other hand are not really covered. It’s largely up to your bank’s discretion as to whether they refund you. They are also tied to your bank account which could allow clever hackers to use your debit card details to plunder your account.

Use good online protection
This may seem as obvious as locking your front door when you leave home but you’d be surprised at the relatively large number of people who overlook this most fundamental cyber security step. Good internet security will negate many of the threats listed above. It flags up suspicious websites, malware that is hiding in emails, as well as keeping out a whole host of nasty viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and other types of malware.

It always pays to be realistic when confronted with outrageously good offers such as flights to New York for under £30, an iPad for less than £50, the latest smartphone for £20, laptops for under £70 and so on. Online retailers are in the business of making money.

They don’t give stuff away; they assiduously watch what their competitors are doing to set their prices accordingly. As such they don’t throw goods at buyers; they carefully calculate their offers. They certainly don’t offer free money for simply redeeming a voucher as some Black Friday phishing ‘offers’ have claimed previously. So the more ‘outrageously’ good an online offer is the more likely that it’s a scam.

Telematics insurance helps cut young driver casualty rates by 35%

Reduction masks rise in road casualties amongst 25-59 year olds

November 2018: Ahead of Road Safety Week 2018, new analysis of the latest UK road casualty statistics (1) by LexisNexis Risk Solutions has revealed that the number of 17-19 year old drivers who have been killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents has fallen by 35%, since 2011, compared to 16% for the driving population as a whole.

This marked reduction provides compelling evidence of the important role telematics insurance has played in cutting road casualties amongst the youngest most vulnerable drivers, helping to reduce casualties by over a third since 2011. The one major difference between young drivers and their older counterparts is telematics insurance, with 4 in 5 (2) young drivers estimated to have a telematics policy today.

However, the significant reduction in young driver road casualties masks an increase in the rate of road casualties amongst the wider driving population (drivers aged 25-59) with road casualties up by 4% in 2017 vs 2016.

The analysis by LexisNexis Risk Solutions is the first time road casualty statistics have been studied in direct relation to the exponential growth in telematics policies (since 2011) with 975,000 (3) live policies in 2017, suggesting telematics insurance has done more to cut accident risk than any other road safety initiative aimed at the young driver market.

The 35% reduction in road casualty rates in 17-19 year olds is despite the 10% increase in the number of vehicles on the road (2011-2016) and a 7% increase in the number of driving licences held across all ages (4) since 2012.

Graham Gordon, Director, Global Telematics, LexisNexis Risk Solutions says; “Our analysis and interpretation of the publically available road casualty statistics factors for key road safety advances such as improved roads, better junction design and new car safety technology – but the patent downward trend in the 17-19 age bracket points to an additional factor at play, the increasing availability and adoption of telematics insurance.

“Young drivers remain the riskiest drivers on our roads but the insurance sector deserves a great deal of credit for developing an insurance product that encourages safer driving and delivers fairer pricing to young drivers based on their road behaviour.

“The analysis is exciting because it provides evidence that telematics has had a real impact on the safety of young drivers and the potential it therefore offers to improve road safety standards for all motorists . It comes at a time when the cost of offering telematics is falling dramatically for the insurance sector – we estimate by as much as 50% since 2013. At the same time, analysis of motor insurance premiums shows telematics policies frequently come out as some of the most competitive insurance policies (5) when consumers shop for cover.

“We also know from our own research that 4 out of 5 consumers are comfortable with the idea of telematics insurance (6). This all paves the way for more drivers outside of the youngest age group to benefit from new, customer friendly telematics policies with the promise of fair premiums. ”

Tim Marlow, Ageas Head of Autonomous & Connected Vehicle Research said;
“It’s good to see that telematics are both giving young drivers access to insurance products designed to meet their needs and reducing the number of young drivers who become casualties. Future developments of this technology offer the potential to reduce casualties amongst other age groups, making a welcome contribution to our stagnated casualty reduction targets.”

Key Facts
•Road safety figures (Stats 19) have generally plateaued since 2011/2012.
•500 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads every week(7)
•In 2017, 1,793 people were killed on our roads, an average of 5 people every day and just under 25,000 people were seriously injured (8).
•73 people a day are either killed or seriously injured on our roads. Last year’s annual total was the highest since 2011(9).
•Amongst drivers aged 25-59 road casualties rose by almost 4% in 2017 vs 2016 (10)
•There has been a 6% increase in the number of deaths on motorways(11).
•Car accidents are the biggest killer of teenagers, according to WHO(12).
•Drivers aged 17 to 24 currently make up only 7% of drivers, but they represent nearly 20% of the people killed or seriously injured in car crashes(13).
•The 18-25 year old age group make up close to 25% of all motor insurance claims and the average claim amongst the youngest drivers is £4625, which is double that for drivers aged 51 to 70(14).
•In 2012, amongst 17-19 year olds, for every 37 drivers there was a casualty. In 2017 this increased to 1 in every 48 young drivers – a 29% improvement(15).
•The Government estimate that road traffic collisions cost the UK economy in excess of £16.3 billion a year(16).
•The Road Safety Foundation’s ‘Getting back on track’ report puts the societal cost of road traffic crashes at £35 billion in 2017. This equates to more than we spend every year on GP services and primary schools in combination(17).

NHS Staff Shortages set to Worsen: Recruiter Responds

Following the publication of research from Nuffield Trust, King’s Fund and Health Foundation – which indicates that unfilled vacancies across the National Health Service look set to skyrocket to 350,000 by 2030 – Michael Johnson-Ellis, Managing Director of Healthier Recruitment, has warned that Trusts must take a more strategic approach to workforce planning today to mitigate against future catastrophe.

The leading think tanks have identified a range of reasons for the impending shortages, including: the fragmentation of responsibility for workforce issues at a national level; poor workforce planning; cuts in funding for training places; ‘worryingly’ high numbers of doctors and nurses quitting before retirement age; and the effect of immigration policies.

Commenting on the current situation, Michael Johnson-Ellis, who has over 15 years’ experience in NHS recruitment, said:

“The scale of the staff shortfall which is predicted to hit the NHS in little over a decade has the potential to be catastrophic. To put it in perspective, 350,000 people is more than the population of Coventry.

“While these latest predictions are deeply shocking – they are not all together unexpected. Many of the Trusts we work with have historically struggled to not only recruit, but also retain, vital skills on a permanent basis. This can then create a snowball effect, where healthcare professionals are unwilling to build a career in a chaotic environment among rafts of agency nurses and locum doctors.

“However, despite this gloomy outlook, it is worth noting that this latest projection is based on a scenario where the current trend of staff leaving the workforce early, coupled with poor talent pipelining, continues – and this is something that we have the power to change.

“The blueprint for how the NHS will spend an additional £20.5bn a year by 2023-4, as outlined in this year’s Budget, is expected to be published within weeks – but we’re now firmly reaching a stage where talent shortages are a greater threat to the future of the NHS than funding, and any future strategy must have a plan to address the workforce crisis at its core.

“Long-term, it is vital that measures are put in place to ensure that skills are developed to pipeline talent effectively if the NHS is to continue to meet growing patient demand. However, in the short term, it is absolutely crucial that Trusts utilise workforces strategically – with a specific focus on engaging and developing permanent staff – if they are to offer the level of patient safety and continuity of care which those in their care expect and deserve.”

Cookware retailer ProCook eliminates plastic packaging

Cookware retailer ProCook has joined the battle against plastic pollution, announcing big changes to the way their products are packaged. The homewares brand has made the commitment to use fully recyclable materials in their extensive cookware and knife ranges resulting in 90% of all plastic packaging being eliminated in the ranges by the end of 2018. Furthermore, ProCook has committed to removing 95% of plastic packaging from all products by the end of 2019.

The worst offending non-biodegradable packaging such as EVA packing material, shrink wrap and polythene is being replaced with 100% recyclable card packaging in all ProCook cookware and knife ranges. The new card packaging is designed using a simple layered construction and clever folding techniques to protect products during transit. Customers started receiving plastic-free packaging in October 2018.

Commenting on the environmental move, owner Daniel O’Neill said:

“We have taken the big step to overhaul our packaging after considering the impact our sector has on the environment. As retailers we have a responsibility to consider the wider effect of our business activity, and addressing product packaging is a significant step in the right direction.

Our new packaging has been designed with careful thought and a long-term goal in mind – we want our customers to feel good about spending their money with ProCook in the full knowledge that we are a company that cares and is committed to reducing single use plastics .”

Responding to questions around knife packaging specifically, Daniel said:

“ProCook customers can be assured that products will continue to be packaged to very high standards with every consideration taken to ensure that safety and product protection are paramount. For instance, layered cardboard houses our knife blades very securely and is every bit as safe as the old EVA packaging. We’ve designed it to be secure and robust to ensure all orders arrive with customers in optimum condition.”

ProCook use biodegradable plastic bags in their retail stores and from Autumn onwards all bags have also been made from recycled plastic bottles.