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Mental wellbeing app offering free lifetime access to those involved in trial



Credit: Thrive: Mental Wellbeing

Anyone involved in the trial testing the effectiveness of the Thrive: Mental Wellbeing app will be granted lifetime access to the app and integrated therapy services free of charge.

The trial is looking to discover how successful the app, which has 25 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy modules, is in helping people with anxiety and depression.

Thrive is encouraging people aged 18 or over in full-time employment who feel like they could do with some support for their mental wellbeing to take part in the 10-week study.

Participants will be offered support with their wellbeing by the award winning mental health service.

Marnie Merrilees, counsellor at Thrive: Mental Wellbeing, explained: “Thrive want people to join the study and at the end of the study, everybody who participated will have access to the app and the therapy service for as long as they need it, which is absolutely amazing because this is free of charge.

“People will have access to the app and the therapy free of charge by simply participating in the study and following all the instructions that are required.”

Credit: Thrive: Mental Wellbeing

The company was launched back in 2012 “as the first scalable solution” to the UK’s mental health crisis by Dr Andres Fonseca, consultant psychiatrist, and Dr Adam Huxley, consultant clinical & forensic psychologist.

Since then, the business has followed in the footsteps of its name and thrived, gaining NHS approval in 2018.

Companies, charities, insurers and other organisations can partner with the app to offer the services to their employees.

It aims to provide the “whole organisation with the right level of mental health support at the time they need it.”

The app offers cognitive behaviour therapy, mood meter and mindfulness tools as well as an in-app chat so users can seek immediate support.

Marnie, who is a Sport and Exercise Psychologist (CPsychol in training) MBPsP, MSc, PGcert, BSc.Hons, suggests there is increasingly more anecdotal evidence of cold water therapy as a method of improving anxiety and depression.

She said: “Cold water therapy is a fantastic form of exercise and there is significant evidence that exercise is beneficial for reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“However, we don’t know for certain yet if the benefits of cold water therapy are above and beyond those of exercise in general as more research is needed in this area.”

Credit: Thrive: Mental Wellbeing

Marnie has been working alongside former special forces officer Sol Turk to raise awareness of the advantages of cold water therapy.

Go here to meet Sol Turk – the man who braved a 100-day dip in the North Sea

Marnie added: “[A] benefit of cold water therapy is being able to train your vagus nerve, which is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the calming part of your nervous system. Training it can help you face stressful situations more adequately.

“Anxiety is a mental health condition that causes excessive fears and worries, and while intermittent bouts of anxiety are natural, anxiety disorders make it difficult to participate in life in a normal way. So when you want to get rid of your anxious thoughts, exposure to cold is a great way to relieve the anxiety symptoms naturally.”

Marnie Merrilees experiencing cold water therapy at Tynemouth beach.

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Michael Gove proposes House of Lords sit in Sunderland during Parliament refurbishment



Sunderland has been suggested as one of several locations for the House of Lords to relocate to while Parliament undergoes refurbishment.

York had been previously been proposed but the Government vetoed the plans.

Michael Gove, who is Levelling Up Secretary, is said to have written to Lord McFall of Alcluith suggesting locations including Stoke-on-Trent, Burnley and Sunderland.

In the letter, Mr Gove said he knows “cities and towns across the United Kingdom would be pleased to extend their hospitality to peers”.

He is quoted as saying that having “carefully reviewed the proposed arrangements”, he “will not support the use of the QEII Centre as an alternative location”.

The Queen Elizabeth II Centre conference and exhibition space is just a few minutes’ walk from the Palace of Westminster in London.

In the letter, which the Sunday Times said was also sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, Mr Gove suggested a move elsewhere in England, Scotland or Wales.

He is reported to have written: “As the minister responsible for levelling up, it is clear to me that the House of Lords moving elsewhere, even for a temporary period, would be widely welcomed.

“I have carefully reviewed the proposed arrangements and…I will not support the use of the QEII Centre as an alternative location.

“I propose to establish dedicated liaison points for you in my department to support you in identifying a suitable location for the House of Lords in the North, Midlands, South West, Scotland or Wales. I would, of course, be happy to meet you to discuss this.”

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Tyne Bridge to Close for Several Weeks for £41m Restoration



Several weeks of overnight closures are planned in order to allow engineers to assess how bad a state the Tyne Bridge is in, before it can be restored to its former glory.

The long-overdue restoration is estimated to cost £41m in order to restore the bridge and refurbish the Central Motorway.

According to a local authority report, the inspection is expected to require the famous crossing to be closed from 10pm to 6am from June 13 to July 1. A number of roads underneath the bridge on the Newcastle Quayside are also due to be affected by the works – with closures due between May 16 and June 10 on Quayside, Lombard Street, Queen Street, and Akenside Hill from 8pm to 6am.

A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said: “We submitted a bid for £41.4 million to Government which, if approved, will enable a four-year maintenance programme for the Tyne Bridge and the Central Motorway to go ahead. As part of the funding process, we are required to carry out some initial works on the Tyne Bridge.

“This includes a full inspection of the bridge, so we can assess its condition and the scale of works required to finalise the costings and project plans to fully restore and refurbish this major structure. This needs to be completed ahead of funding being approved.

“As we need to inspect the entire span of the bridge, overnight closures may be required on the bridge and roads underneath it, so engineers can complete this work safely. Details on the programming are being finalised.”

The Tyne Bridge has not had any major maintenance for two decades and its much-needed refurbishment has been at the top of council officials’ to do list for years, in the hope of ensuring it is looking its best once again by its 100th birthday in 2028. However, it has been warned that the grade II* listed structure may have deteriorated into a worse condition than currently known and council bosses have warned that, like on other major projects like the Grainger Market’s roof repairs, the refurbishment may take longer than expected.”

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Seaburn and Roker Beaches Named Best Beaches in the Country in 2022



Sunderland’s beaches have been named among the best in the country for the 11th year running.

Seaburn and Roker were both named as winners of the Seaside Award by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The pair were once again handed Blue Flags, marking them out for their for their excellent water quality, cleanliness and attempts to constantly improve visitor amenities.

The Blue Flag awards, now in their 35th year, are issued by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and act as ‘a quality mark so visitors can be sure the beaches boast top-notch facilities and meet the highest environmental standards’.

Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for Vibrant City, said: “It is fantastic to see Sunderland’s beautiful beaches once again awarded the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Award.

“Flying these flags at Roker and Seaburn shows everyone who visits that our seafront has excellent quality bathing water and first-class facilities.

“We’re very lucky to have fantastic beaches with beautiful, clean water to swim and bathe in, and this national recognition is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in keeping our beaches clean, tidy and well-maintained.”

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