The London 2012 Olympic Games will run from July 27 to August 12, 2012. The London 2012 Paralympic Games will begin on August 29, 2012 and finish on September 9, 2012.
London is the first and, to date, the only city to host the Olympics on three occasions. The most gold medals that Team GB has ever won in the games was 56 in the summer of 1908 which were also hosted in London. The sport that Ireland won the most medals in is boxing (9). Northern Ireland athletes hoping to follow in the footsteps of Dame Mary Peters include tri-athlete, Aileen Morrison from L’Derry, brothers Peter and Richard Chambers and Alan Campbell all from Coleraine who are in the GB rowing squad and boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon from Belfast. Find out all the important dates and what’s happening when at www.london2012.com Major events such as the men’s 100m final on August 5 and the closing ceremony on August 12 will be shown on the big screen at Belfast City Hall.
The children’s charity ChildLine is urging children to speak up. In a major campaign, which can be viewed at www.childline.org.uk/physicalabuse, children are encouraged to speak out about physical abuse as new figures show a link to self-harm and truancy. In the UK in 2011/12, almost one in ten counselling interactions was regarding physical abuse (almost 28,000). In cases reported to ChildLine during this period, the perpetrator was equally as likely to be the child’s mother (32 per cent) as it was the father (31 per cent). A further one in 10 reported that both parents had physically abused them. The vast majority of young people contacting ChildLine about physical abuse were aged between 12 and 15 however, alarmingly 24 per cent were under the age of 11 and a few were as young as 5 years old. Children and young people can contact ChildLine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 1111 and at www.childline.org.uk. If you have concerns about a child or young person, you can call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, text 88858 or visit www.nspcc.org.uk.
RISK FOR NEWBORNS
A new report has shown how reluctance to introduce routine testing for a killer bug is failing to reverse the continued increase in infection in newborn babies. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies, causing death and disability. The report claims to show that the current strategy of using “risk factors” to identify which women to offer preventative medicine is failing to halt the increase in reported cases. GBS infection in newborn babies has increased by 32% since this risk-based strategy was introduced in 2003. In countries that have introduced routine testing of pregnant women with preventative medicine given to identified carriers, there have been dramatic falls in reported cases – in the USA, Spain and Australia, by over 80%. A recent survey has shown that women in the UK would welcome the opportunity to be tested for GBS in the later stages of pregnancy. Group B Strep Support recently launched an online petition calling for better prevention of group B Strep infection in babies in the UK www.gbss.org.uk/epetition
CUTBACKS ON DAYS OUT
A third of parents are reducing their spending on children’s activities according Capital One Finance. The research suggests that at present parents in the UK collectively spend £50 billion on children’s activities each year including sports clubs, school trips and birthday celebrations but 33% of parents are planning to cut back. Around 1.1 million will spend less on music, arts and culture and extra-curricular classes causing concern over hopes of finding future Olympians, ballerinas or artists. The findings indicate that the most significant cutbacks relate to spending on entertainment with 19% of parents planning to spend less on holidays and 11% on leisure trips to the cinema or bowling.
August is the month to celebrate all things animated. Great new movies to check out this month include Disney’s Scottish adventure Brave, while forever favourite Dr. Seuss’ tale of the Lorax hits the big screen with a strong environmental message about a grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. From 24 – 30 August, Queen’s Film Theatre animation week is a brilliant opportunity to take your kids to see the movies you loved as a child on the big screen. Highlights include a ‘claymation’ workshop with film director Joel Simon and classic’s such as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and the original King Kong. Book and find out more at www.queensfilmtheatre.com