Topics for this month:

Black History Month

In the UK, October has been designated Black History Month, and we’ve profiled three black history pioneers, who chased a dream and changed the world.

Lisa Gelobter (1971-present) 

  • Each time we congratulate ourselves for reacting to an online chat with the perfect GIF, we should also be celebrating the genius animation skills of Lisa Gelobter. As well as inventing the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), Gelobter was involved in bringing animation and video streaming software to life – think Shockwave and HULU. Gelobter has since combined her technology talents and personal experiences of discrimination to launch teQuitable; a company aimed at making workplaces more equitable, through technology.

Yvonne Connolly (1936-present)

  • Yvonne Connolly was Britain’s first black female Head Teacher. Moving to Britain in August 1963, Connolly proved popular with her pupils and was later appointed as Head Teacher of what was referred to as “a white man’s school”. Angry letters from the public ensued, along with threats to burn the school down. Yet, Connolly’s determination has seen her become a key figure in black history, celebrated for her passion for teaching and her contributions to making education more equal. 

Oprah Winfrey (1954 – present) 

  • Challenging the norm can change the world and Oprah Winfrey is a case in point. Winfrey has spoken openly about her impoverished upbringing, multiple accounts of sexual abuse in her childhood and her experiences of racial injustice. Yet, her entrepreneurial spirit led Winfrey to start her own production company. She’s since become North America’s first black multi-billionaire. Known for her talents as a talk show host, television producer, actress, author and philanthropist, Winfrey is often named as the most powerful woman in America and the most influential black person of her generation. 

COVID-19 Alert Levels

Local COVID alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area. Local COVID alert levels are sometimes called ‘tiers’ or known as a ‘local lockdown’.

As of 22/10/20, the local alert levels are included below:

Local COVID alert level: very high

  • Liverpool City Region
  • Lancashire
  • Greater Manchester (From 23rd October 2020)
  • South Yorkshire (From 24th October 2020)

Click here for the very high leaflet

Local COVID alert level: high

  • Cheshire
  • Cumbria
  • Derbyshire
  • Durham
  • Essex
  • Leicestershire
  • London
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Northumberland
  • Surrey
  • Tees Valley
  • Tyne and Wear
  • York
  • West Midlands
  • West Yorkshire

Click here for the high leaflet

Local COVID alert level: medium

  • All areas in England are medium, apart from those listed above as high or very high.

Click here for the medium Leaflet

You can find out the coronavirus restrictions in a local area by visiting:

World Mental Health

After months of lockdown and the loss it has brought to many around the world, it has had a huge impact on us all, and prioritising mental health has never been more important than it is now.

Research shows that nearly 80% of people living with mental illness say that Covid-19 and the national response have made their mental health worse. World Mental Health Day which took place earlier this month on the 10th October, focused on how people can reach out as well as how people with lived experience are overcoming the challenges of lockdown and how together, we are pushing for a better world post-pandemic.

The theme this year for World mental health is ‘mental health for all’ as everyone has been affected in one way or another. Making a positive change can seem so hard, especially during uncertain times and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Our mental health is just like our physical health, in that everybody has it and we need to take care of it as best we can.

Five Warning Signs of Mental Illness

  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability
  • Extremely high and low moods
  • Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety which takes over the mind
  • Social withdrawal and changes in character
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits, as well as appearance

Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Living with a mental health problem can often have an impact on day to day life, making things that others might not think about more difficult.

Tips on how you can help mental health:

  • Buy yourself something nice
  • Cook a meal that nourishes your mind
  • Ring a friend or arrange a zoom who you have not spoken to in a while
  • Write yourself a letter, highlighting your good points to remind yourself about what a special person you are
  • Watch a funny film
  • Go for a walk in the country side
  • Look at happy photos or videos

‘Mind’ a UK leading mental health organisation who campaign for better metal health, believe everyone with a mental health problem should be able to access excellent care and services. They also believe every person should be treated fairly, positively and with respect.

Through public campaigns, influencing decision makers and the services Minds deliver in communities across England and Wales, they have touched millions of lives. If you feel you need some advice, support or help with your mental health you can access their website:

Click here for the mental health handbook

5 Ways Young People Can Cope With Stress

The pandemic is an uncertain time for many young people. Young people have expressed anxiety over feelings of uncertainty, fear, loneliness and isolation, alongside a constant feed of negative news stories. 

As lockdown measures begin to relax, young people will naturally be nervous about what happens next, creating overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety.  

Ineqe Safeguarding Group have put together 5 ways parents, carers, teaching staff and safeguarding professionals can support young people with stress and anxiety. 

1. Facing their fears

During stressful or threatening situations, our bodies react with the ‘fight-flight-or-freeze’ response. But under sustained threats, we can overthink potentially dangerous situations until our anxiety makes us avoid the situation or thought itself. Sometimes, these thoughts can be more frightening than the perceived threat. In situations like this, it can be helpful to encourage young people to discuss their fears and anxieties about the return to the ‘new normal’. If a young person with an existing mental health condition has established coping mechanisms laid out in a support plan they should be encouraged to engage with them.

2. Use breathing exercises

Being aware of and controlling our breathing is a highly effective grounding technique that helps us relax our mind and body. Teaching young people in your care to focus on breathing in slowly through their nose and exhaling through their mouth can help them relax. It also builds their capacity to cope. When using breathing techniques, it can help to visualise themselves succeeding. For example, if a young person is stressed about going outside or to their education setting, encourage them to think things like ‘they will be ok, they will get through this’.

3. Practice daily mindfulness

Finding just 10 minutes a day to focus on mindfulness can make a major difference for young people. It could be when they wake up in the morning, before they sleep, at lunchtime or even on the way to school. There are lots of apps that play relaxing music, sounds, or guided meditations which are designed to help people practice mindfulness and relaxation. Any activity can be mindful, which involves being present and calm. Some young people use creativity such as colouring, painting or making music to help practice mindfulness.

4. Switch off

During the Lockdown, young people in the UK have relied on their screens to keep in contact with their support networks and to stave off the boredom. Playing Fortnite, watching YouTube and scrolling through Instagram can be fun but it is important to get the balance right. You should encourage young people in your care to take regular breaks from screens. Switching off allows young people to connect more with the people they are with, and this simple change will work towards making them feel less stressed.

5. Talk it out

Talking about our worries can help us make sense of them and see things from a new angle. Remember to regularly check in with young people to see how they are feeling. Ask open questions and take the time to listen to their worries. Having someone take the time to listen can make a big difference. It’s important that young people are able to engage with their support networks if they are struggling with their mental health. Make sure they know who they can talk to about anything that worries them. 

‘Friend-Finding’ Apps

Online safeguarding experts are particularly concerned about the surge in the use of ‘friend-finding’ apps, as authorities have previously warned during the pandemic that around 300,000 online offenders pose a threat to children in the UK. 

A couple of apps that have grown in popularity during the pandemic are Wink and Hoop.


  • Linked to Snapchat, allowing users to exchange profile information, with conversations then continuing on Snapchat
  • No effective age verification built in, e.g. fake date of birth can be used, meaning users may not be who they say they are
  • There are limited privacy and safety settings. Users cannot restrict who can contact them and there is no option to make an account private, but they can block and report users
  • App has reward feature aims to create habits and is designed to hook users 


  • Linked to Snapchat, allowing users to exchange profile information, with conversations then continuing on Snapchat
  • Users are not asked to input their age
  • Anyone can add a user, and search by location and age
  • Personal information such as age and location can be added to your profile
  • The app has its own ‘diamond currency’ allowing users to spend ‘diamonds’ to request ‘chats’ with other users. It costs ten diamonds to ask for a Snapchat username 
  • ‘Age gating’ means adults can’t see profiles of users under the age of 18, and vice versa, but users can edit their age at any time 
  • Ineffective age verification means users may not be who they say they are  
  • Users can report photos but NOT other users