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UK news in brief

21 May 2021

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Keith Blundy

Boots off: the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, and his wife, Rosemary, camped in St Mary Magdalene’s, Trimdon, during an inaugural walk along the Northern Saints Trail earlier this month

Boots off: the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, and his wife, Rosemary, camped in St Mary Magdalene’s, Trimdon, during an inaugural wa...


Church leaders support Queen’s Green Canopy

THE Archbishop of Canterbury and other religious leaders have expressed support for the Queen’s Green Canopy, a tree-planting initiative, launched on Monday. Clarence House said that the initiative would “mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and to enhance our environment now, and for generations to come”. Archbishop Welby wrote on social media on Tuesday: “The beauty of trees reminds us of the need to care for our planet, for each other and for generations to come. Get involved in the Queen’s Green Canopy and plant a tree to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.” The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, who is the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, concurred.


YCMA leader calls for ‘wraparound support’

THE pandemic has “inflicted serious damage” on the mental health of young people who face unemployment and financial hardship, the YMCA’s chief executive, Denise Hatton, has said. She was responding on Tuesday to a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs, which concluded that “young people have had their financial, emotional and vocational wellbeing inordinately affected by the pandemic, and . . . a holistic approach is needed in order to aid their recovery.” Ms Hatton writes: “Wrap-around support is needed in order to restore young people’s confidence and ultimately strengthen their educational and employment potential. Investment in youth services is vital to alleviate the isolation, anxiety and family strain plaguing so many young people, while investment in educational experience and employment opportunities will ensure that young people enter the working world prepared to carve out a successful economic future.”


C of E Pensions Board criticises Toyota comment

THE Church of England Pensions Board was among a group of five shareholders in Toyota Motor to criticise the company president, Akio Toyoda, for questioning Japan’s plans to ban new internal-combustion-engine vehicles by 2035, Reuters reports. The firm had announced days earlier that it was aiming to become carbon-neutral by 2050. He said: “Policy that bans gasoline-powered or diesel cars from the very beginning would limit [technology expansion] and could also cause Japan to lose its strengths.” The Pensions Board’s senior engagement manager, Clare Richards, said on Wednesday: “We expect all companies in which we invest to be transparent about their lobbying activities, and to use their influence responsibly to support rather than seek to delay the type of policies that can get business and the world on track for meeting the Paris Goals.”


Messiaen birdsong greets Exeter’s brighter dawn

EXETER CATHEDRAL is to host an early-morning organ recital to launch a week-long festival of birds and birdsong (until 28 May), organised by The London Review of Books (LRB). It will be the first public event in the cathedral since it reopening post-lockdown; the cathedral admitted paying visitors again on Monday. The recital will feature four pieces of music by Messiaen, played by James McVinnie, who explained: “A devout Catholic, Olivier Messiaen was an extraordinary voice in 20th-century music. He saw God’s work in every aspect of the world, which extended especially to his fascination with birds. Much of his organ music includes his own representation of birdsong.”


York St John centre wins research grant

THE International Centre for Community Music at York St John University has been awarded £16,862 to research the international Musicians and Organizers Volunteer Exchange (MOVE) Project. Set up in 2012 and co-ordinated by JM Norway with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation, the project helps young musicians to plan concerts, festivals, workshops, and tuition. Volunteers are offered living costs, travel expenses, and language lessons. Norway, Malawi, Mozambique, and Brazil are involved. The research, focusing on the project’s inception and its effect on life and learning, will run until December.

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