During the last decade, authorities and agencies across the country have found it increasingly hard to find permanent, loving families for children in care in a timely way. The government's plan to speed up adoptions, announced by Michael Gove in 2012, briefly reversed that trend. But it looks as though there has now been a dramatic loss of nerve by many in the social care sector...
The Slow Life Symposium - founded by the Indian-British entrepreneur Sonu Shivdasani and his wife Eva and Chaired by Sir Jonathon Porritt - is not like any other conference that I have ever been to.
Epigenetics is a really exciting, relatively young, field that looks at molecular changes on DNA which tell the cell how the genes should be read. It might be easier to imagine the DNA code as the script of a play, epigenetics are like notes in the margin telling the actor or director how to interpret and enact that script.
The voice on the other end of the phone excitedly informed me that I had been nominated and had gone through to the last four finalists of the 'Inspirational Guide dog owner of the year Award for 2014'. I woke up with a bang. 'Seriously!?'
The night was rounded off with a truly thought provoking speech from Paul Farmer, the Chief Executive of Mind. I wish I had the space to include it all, but here are the most poignant messages he got across to the now rather elated, and perhaps a little tipsy, audience.
For two decades money raised by National Lottery players has been re-invested in local communities and national projects to the tune of an eye-watering £32billion. Anyone who has ever bought a National Lottery ticket has helped to combat homelessness, tackle the stigma of mental health illness, inspired filmmakers, kept museums open and parks appealing.
Dying isn't a decision, and the fight for survival is not a fight, where the more pugilistic are destined to win. I think of Sunny now with her rosary beads, as I last saw her - staunchly convinced that her God would show her mercy. But it doesn't matter how relentlessly optimistic you are - just as it doesn't make any difference how many chia seeds you eat.
We live in a contingent world and do not have the luxury of choosing our friends; we share a seat with anyone who offers. And we must never lose our focus on the individual amid the complexity of the global.
It's time for a break, an adventure. Time to trek up a mountain and feel tiny and insignificant. Time to lay under the stars and watch the sun set and rise. The everyday beautiful things that we take for granted because we're eyes down, focused on career, money and the next big opportunity. Time to refresh the brain and get some fresh perspective.
In every region of the world, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has inspired changes in laws to better protect children, altered the way international organisations see their work for children, and transformed the way children are able to participate in their communities and societies. Today, children across the UK and the world are celebrating this momentous day.
Long-term diseases are the leading cause of death in the UK - according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in 2013 there were over 360,000 deaths from long-term (chronic) diseases in England and Wales. That's 72 per cent of all registered deaths that year. Around 8 per cent of these deaths are caused by just one disease: COPD.
Today marks UN World Toilet Day. In Europe we might question the need for a special commemorative day for something that for us is so trivial and commonplace. But for many people around the world, this is no joke.
On a cold November night I fought my way through the twisting lanes of Brighton to the Fisherman's Vestry, part of the beautiful St Paul's Church, to take part in an intimate literary event which aimed to explore the connections between creative writing and campaigning.
This is the tagline for the new campaign by Women's Aid to save specialist refuges for survivors of domestic violence across England from catastrophic funding cuts. Between 2010 and 2014, 32 specialist refuges have closed due to cuts to funding.
Band Aid reinforces negative stereotypes of Africa and Africans. It reflects a colonial mindset that is so deeply entrenched in Western culture that we aren't even aware it exists. The sight of a bunch of rich pop stars parading themselves as paragons of virtue and heroes is crass and eminently offensive. While it may allow them to wallow in self congratulation and positive PR, it is paternalism of the most grievous kind.... Ultimately, it is not Africa that needs to be saved, it is us. Only when we are saved from the greed and paternalism that distorts our understanding will Africa and the rest of the developing world finally begin to emerge from under the iron heel of Western hegemony.
This International Men's Day, don't take it for a joke, think about the men in our society who face real, life-changing issues every day of their lives and feel they should suffer in silence. They'll be your fathers, brothers, colleagues and best mates, and they need your help.