Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Customer Care: Get it right

We don’t get a second chance when it comes to first impressions, and yet sadly many organizations pay relatively little attention to how people are greeted when they have their first contact with the organization concerned. If we want to make a positive difference, then it is important that we get off to a good start by giving a positive, welcoming message, letting people know that they are valued and respected. Much of ‘customer care’ is basic communication skills, but there can sometimes be additional challenges involved (for example, where someone is irate or threatening). Of course, however difficult such situations may be, we need to remain focused and respectful – even if we feel very uncomfortable. This will help to make sure that, after the person concerned has calmed down, they will appreciate how well they were treated. If, on the contrary, we allow the tensions involved to prevent us from being helpful and supportive, we can be creating significant difficulties for ourselves (and/or our colleagues) further down the road if the message we are giving out is that resolving our own discomfort is more important than providing genuine customer care.

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Sociological insights to help understand people’s lives and their challenges

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Homelessness a ‘major issue’ for employers, new figures suggest

Homelessness is a “major issue” employers must get to grips with, experts have warned, as government figures revealed that more than a quarter of those who are homeless or facing homelessness are in work. Of 263,720 households in England given support from local authorities because they were homeless or under threat of homelessness in the year to April, some 71,210 (27 per cent) had one or more individuals in work.

The figures, from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, also showed that more than half of these households had a member in full-time employment. This equated to 14 per cent of all homeless households. Homelessness is a hugely complex issue, with the majority of cases the result of relationship breakdown or the inability of friends and family to support those at risk.

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The Professional Social Worker: An essential text for all social workers

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Black history month

When we sat down to discuss the long list of potential themes and issues we could consider as part of this year’s magazine. We soon realised that for some time now since Black History Month started in the UK in 1987, a dedicated feature on the role and contributions of Black Women was long overdue and should be the focus for this year. Hopefully, we have achieved that aim and objective and that, You, the reader and wider public agree as well.

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Connect with Neil Thompson online! For Neil's blog and more resources

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The Managing Stress Practice Manual

Stress is increasingly being recognized as a serious problem in the modern workplace. In this practice manual, Neil Thompson uses his decades of experience of helping people tackle stress to provide a clear and helpful guide to the key issues and lays the foundations for a positive and constructive response to the challenges involved. This is an essential guide for anyone wanting to keep pressures within manageable limits.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – There’s no need to shout

Stereotyping can be seen as a very real danger when you consider how often we are fed inaccurate, distorted and oversimplified stereotypes by the media. There is therefore a very strong need to be ‘stereotype aware’ and try to makes sure as far as possible that we do not allow ourselves to be influenced by them. One such stereotype that I have come across time and time again is the assumption that certain people are likely to be hard of hearing and that it is therefore necessary to shout. Older people are a prime target for this type of stereotyping, but disabled people are not immune to it either. While the incidence of hearing loss is indeed greater in the older population than in the general population, this is far removed from assuming that all older (or disabled) people have a degree of hearing loss. It is easy enough to adjust our volume if we need to, and so there is no need to shout as a general rule, as that just reinforces stereotypes and can be intimidating. But, such is the prevalence of stereotypical thinking that very many people resort to raising their voice without even realising that they are doing so.

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Ensuring every older person is treated with dignity as a unique individual

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Call for 1m people to join UK’s biggest mass tree-planting campaign

Volunteers are being urged to do their bit to stop the climate emergency by grabbing a spade and signing up for the biggest mass tree-planting campaign in the UK’s history.

Plots in suitable sites around the country are being prepared for 30 November, when the Big Climate Fightback campaign will start with pledges sought from 1 million people. Local groups are being encouraged to run tree-planting events and councils are being asked for permission to plant trees on their land, or outside schools and other publicly owned properties. Businesses are also being urged to plant trees on their own premises if possible.

People without gardens or the means to plant their own trees are being encouraged to spot potential sites and ask their local council or the landowner for permission to plant.

It’s all about people: visit Neil Thompson’s humansolutions website

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Race, class and institutional prejudice

Since 2017, Runnymede has been collaborating with the Centre for Labour and Social Studies to research race and class inequality in the UK and foreground a new way of talking about these issues so that:

–      we build solidarity across struggles, sectors and movements

–      we are better equipped to tackle structural race and class inequality

The Race and Class Messaging Toolkit (2019) is an ongoing project aimed at providing language to build solidarity across difference and challenge ‘divide and rule’ narratives, for both advocates and the general public.

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A Career in Social Work: Part biography, part overview of social work careers

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‘To be recognised nationally was incredible’: How it feels to win a Guardian public service award

One year on from winning in the housing category at the Guardian Public Services Awards 2018, Heart and Home’s award is still proudly displayed in the office for everyone to see.

“I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! I don’t want our year to end now,” says Pip Yaxley, multiservice manager for the host scheme. Run by the Benjamin Foundation in Norfolk and Suffolk, the service pairs up young care leavers with hosts who can provide them with safe and supported accommodation as they make the transition to independent living.

It matches each young person with a house in their local area, close to their established support networks. Hosts range from single people to couples and families, but the focus is always on finding appropriate and meaningful pairings that can transform lives.

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The Authentic Leader A new approach to leadership in Neil’s important book.

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The Managing Stress Practice Manual

Stress is increasingly being recognized as a serious problem in the modern workplace. In this practice manual, Neil Thompson uses his decades of experience of helping people tackle stress to provide a clear and helpful guide to the key issues and lays the foundations for a positive and constructive response to the challenges involved. This is an essential guide for anyone wanting to keep pressures within manageable limits.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

A fresh look at social work theory and methods

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Dadirri listening

Listening, of course, is more than just hearing. It is about paying attention to someone in a way that creates a genuine human connection. Sometimes that connection is enough to enable the person concerned to feel stronger, more confident and better supported in dealing with their difficulties. Listening is an important first step in terms of exploring potential solutions, but at times listening is enough on its own to find the strength to move forward positively. ‘Dadirri’ is a concept drawn from Australian aboriginal culture which refers to the type of listening that creates that all-important bond, listening that gives a strong and genuine message that we are concerned and that we are here to help without judgement. It could be described as listening with our heart rather than just with our ears. When you have been on the receiving end of such listening you will know about it, as you will feel the positive, empowering effects of it. Learning how to develop dadirri listening is therefore an important step forward for us to take.

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A practical guide to supervision of students & other forms of workplace learning

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Invisible women

Too often, women remain treated as a homogenous group by researchers and policymakers, with the assumption of a single female experience. However, this one size-fits all approach means there are, in effect, millions of invisible women, who are not being seen or heard by policymakers.

Factors such as race, faith, ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality, location and employment status can combine with gender to create distinct and particularly troubling experiences of discrimination and inequality – but this intersectionality is still largely being overlooked. As a result, valuable insight into the different experiences of women is often being lost.

That is why the APPG on Sex Equality decided to focus its work on understanding what can be done by government to take a more effective approach to understanding the discrimination, inequality and exclusion that too many women in the UK continue to face – especially when it comes to accessing work.

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If you’re a social worker come join us in the Social Work Focus Facebook group!

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Plant trees

Whatever you want to plant, whether it’s one tree in your garden or a whole wood, we can help. Every sapling that we provide is UK sourced and grown to minimise the risk of importing and spreading tree pests and diseases.

Seeds are collected and stored in the UK, and they are all coded and batched so that we can track an individual tree. Over the next 10 years, we’re aiming to plant 64 million trees and we can’t do it without you.

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Effective Teamwork: The importance of working together

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The No. 1 mistake ‘even smart people make’ when creating to-do lists, according to a productivity guru

The biggest waste of time and source of stress in the workplace is chasing our to-do lists. How often have you found yourself chasing after 14 different tasks that keep scurrying down 25 rabbit holes? Every day, most likely. (It’s a lot like that “whack-a-mole” game we used to play as kids. The adult version is not fun.)

When it comes to productivity and creating to-do lists, the biggest mistake that even smart people make is focusing too much on their goals and not giving themselves the freedom to take a step back to recalibrate their focus. And those who do attempt to do this often get distracted and allow their thoughts to scatter.

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The Managing Stress Practice Manual

Stress is increasingly being recognized as a serious problem in the modern workplace. In this practice manual, Neil Thompson uses his decades of experience of helping people tackle stress to provide a clear and helpful guide to the key issues and lays the foundations for a positive and constructive response to the challenges involved. This is an essential guide for anyone wanting to keep pressures within manageable limits.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

Not a textbook, a hands-on manual of practice guidance. An essential resource!

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – You don’t know how I feel

Many people confuse sympathy (sharing the same feelings as someone else) and empathy (being able to recognize someone else’s feelings and being able to respond appropriately, but without necessarily having those feelings ourselves), while others settle for apathy, in a state of semi-burnout. But clearly empathy is what we need to aim for: being able to be supportive of others who are wrestling with emotional issues, but without facing the same emotional challenges ourselves. However, what is very clear is that this is not simply a matter of saying: ‘I know how you feel’. This is a very unhelpful and potentially quite counterproductive way to respond, partly because: (i) we do not know how someone else feels (for example, if I am helping someone who has just lost their father, the fact that I have lost my father does not mean that I know how they feel, as our respective experiences of losing a father may have evoked very different feelings); and (ii) making such a comment means we are focusing on our own feelings rather than those of the person we are trying to help.

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How to Do Social Work: A basic guide from one of social work’s leading authors

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