Inspiring sprint runner and MBE Jonnie Peacock is sprinting into action to applaud the nation’s Apprentices and Trainees, and their hard work throughout 2021. With a desire to see individuals succeed especially those who are considered disadvantaged, Jonnie has joined forces with one of the UK’s top recruitment and training solutions providers, Qube Learning, to celebrate individuals actively changing their lives.
As a child, living with his parents and sister just outside of Cambridgeshire, Jonnie was full of energy and curiosity, and had dreamt of being a footballer but he faced an obstacle that would change the course of his life forever. In 1985, at the young age of five years old Jonnie contracted meningitis which saw him lose a leg, an unforgettable experience for him and his family, but early on he was determined his future would not be defined by the emotional event.
At school Jonnie threw himself into everything, playing all sports and not holding back, it was only at secondary school that other children noticed he was different. Wanting to be a mechanic, Jonnie loved cars and still does, he says ‘It’s not always about the traditional exams and accreditations that will get you where you want to go. Just enjoy what makes you get out of bed in the morning, keep positive and don’t let anything hold you back’. Jonnie’s mum and dad were big influences on him and embedded determination into him early.
In the hospital that fitted his prosthetic leg Jonnie was informed about disability sport and was directed to a Paralympic sports talent day, and it is there that Jonnie found solace and a deep-rooted drive that took over him. After encountering life changing challenges, he was inspired to prove that no one should be discriminated against for a disability and in 2012 Jonnie stood proud as he was adorned with a gold medal, crowned a Paralympian at only nineteen years old.
Jonnie Peacock says, ‘I have built a solid foundation of resilience over the years, and I believe this is what has kept me going. When I was still at studying, I struggled to walk when my stump was sore so my mum would help carry me to school, I didn’t want to give in. Finding my inner voice that was telling me ‘I can do it’ allowed me to put the effort and time into getting to where I am now. It wasn’t an easy route, but it was the right one. Not a day goes by when I don’t look around and see where my determination has got me, I feel lucky but then remind myself it’s not luck it was me who conditioned my mindset to believe in my abilities. I was the child whose life could have taken a very different path, but I decided I am worthy and will make something of myself and that’s what I did. How we perceive achievement is slowly changing. It isn’t about who you know, how much money you have, where you live or who your parents are – the world now has the chance to change this attitude and I believe in many areas of life this is happening. To look at unlocking true potential, like Qube Learning, will engage unseen demographics who deserve to be seen whether it be at work, studying, with friends or family, they have the right to thrive just as much as anyone else’
One of the biggest obstacles Jonnie faced was representation, seeing disability athletes in adverts and on TV is the biggest step towards inclusivity. When he was younger, he did not see an athlete or role model with one leg or in a wheelchair and now you do.
Jonnie’s work with Qube Learning, an organisation that wholly champions Apprenticeships and Traineeships and encourages success for anyone no matter where you are from, will see him reward the organisation’s incredible students and the employers who take them in front of many UK business names on the 14th October 2021 in a virtual award ceremony – https://www.qube-learning.co.uk/event/qube-awards-2021/
Qube Learning is proud to be an OFSTED grade 2 (Good) Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider that works with hundreds of Employers across the country to deliver a range of training and qualifications to a multitude of Students. If you are interested in finding out more about the positive opportunities an Apprenticeship or Traineeship can bring through Qube Vision and eLearning, either as a Student or an Employer, then speak with the experts at Qube Learning.
That’s according to serial entrepreneur, investor and now author Vikas Shah who has spent 13 years talking to the world’s most influential people including global leaders who continue to tackle ‘the world’s most profound health challenge’- Paul Farmer CBE, Dr. Thomas Insel, Dr. Shekhar Saxena as well as Professor Green, former England cricketer Marcus Trescothick, author and activist Matt Haig and the late Maya Angelou – as his hobby.
Vikas Shah, who gave TedX talk ‘How to Save Your Own Life’ having overcome the darkest period in his experience of depression and anxiety, shares 5 positive influences for society to adopt when it comes to supporting young people as we emerge from the pandemic.
1 Prioritise Emotional Intelligence and Resilience (in education)
Emotional intelligence and resilience can and should absolutely be taught. Why is it that when we’re growing up, we’re not talking about how people work? We’re not taught about body language, how to understand people, how to understand ourselves, our own emotions, what anxiety is, what depression is and how we manage our thoughts. It seems strange doesn’t it when our mind is a lens with which we perceive the world, and when other people’s minds perceive and interact with us. And weirdly. It’s one of the things I’m thankful for in the mental health journey that I’ve been through. All that therapy, all that reading, it gave me a much deeper sense of intelligence, and as a result I feel that I’m now, much better with people. We ought to be prioritising them on the education agenda.
2 Find and use a day to day (mental health) language
It shocks me that we haven’t really found the language to deal with mental health issues yet. Having spoken to world experts on the subject they are also shocked. The brain is arguably the most complex object in the universe. We all have one. And there’s a good chance that something so complex will go wrong. Go figure.
You know, it should be obvious in the same way that it’s obvious that we get sick sometimes, pull a muscle, get aches and pains.
But it seems odd that we don’t give that same benefit to our minds. To me that says that we’ve not found the right language when it comes to speaking about it in day to day life.
3 Encourage young people to Dare to Dream (like Americans)
We have to give young people opportunities. I’ve done quite a few talks in schools over the past few years and when I ask young people what they want to do a lot of responses aren’t too good or if anything are along the lines of ‘I want to be famous or a footballer’.
You don’t really hear young people talk about careers, you don’t really hear them talk about a future and it seems like there’s a sense of hopelessness. Add to that an economy that’s broken along with so many issues and it’s difficult to find hope, especially when you’re a young person and you may not have the resources to pay for your own education and get through.
So, we have to find a way of making young people feel like there is a better future that’s worth pursuing. We often think of American culture being a bit cheesy. But one thing they do well is aspiration and making people feel that if you work to a dream you can get ahead and build a better life. Culturally, that’s one thing we need to find a way of getting into people because if we can’t give young people hope there’s no incentive to try.
4 Understand (not misunderstand) what masculinity now is
Masculinity came up when speaking to Professor Green and others including Marcus Trecothick. Perhaps our modern version of masculinity has got a lot of things to answer for in terms of the pressures we’ve put on what it means to be a man. Our misunderstanding of what it means to be a man compounds the problem further.
5 Embrace rapid change as a ‘new norm’
The pace of change across all aspects of our life is now running at such a pace that we have to make sure that we are at least emotionally and psychologically prepared for the unexpected. To begin any journey we need to be resilient, personally, mentally and physically. We are living through a global scale natural disaster which has shown us how quickly the world can change, as what is now normal would have seemed anathema around a year ago. Young people should be encouraged to embrace this rapid change.
Vikas Shah MBE on remembering how far we’ve come
“If this pandemic had happened even a decade ago we would not have had the technology, or the capacity to create a vaccine as quickly as we did. It has been a phenomenal testament to human ingenuity and progress that this has been able to happen. You know, every single day around the world hundreds of thousands of people are lifted out of poverty. Our world is getting ‘net’ better as much as it’s hard to see that at times.
“While this pandemic is bad it could have been a hell of a lot worse. In terms of what viruses are capable we’ve been let off relatively easily. In that sense this has to be a warning shot even though it was only a matter of time before we had a global pandemic.
“As a society I think it has taught us the importance of community. It’s taught us the importance of looking after each other and that actual capacity within communities to give and support. I hope that stays with us because when the next pandemic comes we’ll need to draw on all of that again.”
https://thoughteconomics.com – Vikas Shah’s Thought Economics website
https://vikas.work – Overview of Vikas’ work and achievements
https://vikas.work/speaking/ – TedX talk ‘How to Save Your Own Life’, Vikas Shah
https://thoughteconomics.com/matthew-mcconaughey/ – Matthew McConaughey interview by Vikas Shah
https://thoughteconomics.com/robert-oneill/ – Robert O’Neill interview by Vikas Shah
https://thoughteconomics.com/sophie-ellis-bextor/ – Sophie Ellis-Bextor interview by Vikas Shah
https://thoughteconomics.com/brian-eno/ – Brian Eno interview by Vikas Shah
You Me At Six have launched YOUMonday, turning the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday, January 18th, into a day promoting self care, wellness and positivity.
In an effort to promote positive mental health in the increasingly challenging times we’re faced with, You Me At Six are encouraging everyone to take some time out for themselves today, to do something for YOU.
Frontman Josh Franceschi said: “2020 presented us with some of the most challenging circumstances ever, and 2021 is no place for a Blue Monday. We hope that everyone can join us in taking a little time out for themselves today, to do something for YOU. Stay safe, stay positive and support each other.”
Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM says: “Every day at CALM we see first-hand the value of people opening up. In 2020 our helpline answered over 140,00 calls and chats and directly prevented 564 suicides. With chats and messages exchanged around topics such as isolation, anxiety, relationship concerns, health worries, financial stress and suicidal thoughts.
Whether you are having a blue, green or yellow Monday, or feeling low on any day for that matter, you can turn to CALM for support via our helpline and webchat. Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. And it works both ways. If you open-up, it might encourage others to do the same and seek the help they need.”
Passionate about campaigning for positive mental health, guitarist Max Helyer spoke to Young Minds, the UK charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. He said: “I find it incredibly important to talk about my mental health with my family and close friends. One thing I get from it is a new perspective and a way of thinking that maybe I hadn’t thought of myself. Exercise has been something that has really helped me over the past year. I’ve gone through quite a lot emotionally and found this gives me such a great release of endorphins and sets me up positively for the day.”
Follow #YOUMonday today to see what each member of You Me At Six is doing for YOUMonday. Fans can look forward to a vegan cooking lesson with Josh Franceschi, a local walk with Max Helyer, skating tips from Chris Miller, a sourdough baking 101 with Matt Barnes, circuit training with Dan Flint, and more. You Me At Six encourage fans and friends to share their own YOUMonday updates with the hashtag #YOUMonday.
YOUMonday follows the release of You Me At Six’s new album, ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ titled after a tumultuous period of emotional blows left the band getting to grips with new life scenarios. Channelling these experiences as a catalyst for reflection, empowerment and redemption, ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ is a soul-bearing, shape-shifting new album, and the sound of a band embracing change. Listen HERE.
Hull punks NEWMEDS have released their new single ‘Twenty Three’ which is out now and available to stream on all good DSPs.
The band’s long-awaited debut EP Nothing Is Heavier Than The Mind will be released on 13th November 2020 via Man Demolish Records.
A candid reflection on vocalist Nick Cobley’s personal struggles with Crohn’s Disease, and also a poignant comment on the link between the way we often unknowingly harm both ourselves and the planet through mindless consumption, the new single is another galloping slab of trademark punk’n’roll from the quartet.
“I’ve struggled with Crohn’s since I was 12 and at around the age of 23 I really struggled to come to terms with being ill,” explains Cobley. “Everything we eat, consume and do in this time and age can be harmful. I feel like it’s mainly about the poison we put in our bodies every day without realising, but also about the things we continue to do knowing they are harmful for ourselves and for the world.”
Building up to an apocalyptic breakdown signifying the end of the world, Cobley’s gut-wrenching vocal refrain sounds out the end of the song: We’re all just grains of sand / A drop in the ocean, a mix of chemicals / No faith, no purpose or meaning / Poisoning the air, that we’re breathing.
“It’s a reminder that our time here is short,” says Cobley, “that we are lucky to be here, and that it was a complete accident that we ever were in the first place.”
The EP’s lead single and title track was released last month and picked up support from Kerrang! Radio, Dead Press!, Bring The Noise, VISIONS Magazine, Allschools, The Punk Site and more.
Debut EP Nothing Is Heavier Than The Mind released 13th November 2020
South Yorkshire band, Hands Off Gretel, have released a 48-page full colour zine, which includes over 70 pieces of individual fan art. The zine will help raise funds for Brighton based anti-bullying charity ‘Ditch the Label’, which was chosen by band front woman Lauren Tate, who recently spoke out about the impact of years of bullying and online harassment.
The fan artwork that features in the zine was invited by the band as part of their ‘Lock down’ activities to keep fans engaged, as tour plans were cancelled due to COVID-19 . The band received over 70 submissions of fan art and prompted Lauren to create the fan zine.
‘We just couldn’t believe the standard of the artwork that came flooding in. I decided that we had to create something really special, so that we could truly celebrate all of the artwork together and I came up with the idea of a Fan Zine, The ‘quarantine Edition’ ‘
While Lauren set about narrating the zine she was subjected to yet another hateful public attack online, something that has been ongoing for 5 years. The perpetrator posting false personal allegations online and messaging other bands, fans, promoters and music journalists, hiding behind fake profiles to try and sabotage Laurens character.
‘On the one hand I was dealing with such amazing positivity from our fans receiving these wonderful art creations, at the same time as battling this hatred online. I had felt so powerless that someone was actively using the Internet to spread hate about me.
Everyone tells you its ‘Normal’, ‘just ignore it’, ‘haters gonna hate’, but unless you have been through it, you have no idea how much it messes with your head.
Receiving the artwork from all around the world really helped me so much during this time and the sheer positivity of this just gave me the confidence and the courage to finally speak out.
Creating the zine to raise awareness of the impact of bullying and supporting the anti-bullying charity ’Ditch the Label’ just seemed like the obvious thing to do, turning this into something really positive and doing my bit to help others going through the same thing.’
The lock down has led to a huge increase in bullying, harassment and online abuse. The bands chosen Charity, ‘Ditch the Label’, has seen a 158% increase in contact with their charity during the lock down. Each week, thousands of people benefit from the charity’s resources and digital one-to-one support. They have a team of digital mentors who are trained to help young people navigate through issues related to bullying, such as improving mental health, body image, coming out and building confidence and self-esteem.
‘Ditch the Label are delighted to be involved in the Hands Off Gretel fanzine, which will not only raise awareness of the prevalence and impacts of bullying and abusive behaviours, but will also raise vital funds. These funds directly help us keep our support services running – thank you so much on behalf of those we support.’ Sue Jones CEO Ditch The Label
The 48 page fan zine ‘Quarantine Edition’ which includes all the art submissions and personal accounts from the band around issues of bullying and self confidence is on sale on the bands website and will also be sold at the live gigs (when they resume) £5 from every zine sold will be donated to the charity ‘Ditch The label’.