This month's newsletter is brought to you by equal parts frustration, rage and optimism.

I saw a quote this month by an American children’s television presenter called Mister (Fred) Rogers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

There’s been a fair few scary things in the news this month.

The rhetoric around the Government coronavirus response has changed from “we’re all in this together” at the start of lockdown to “this Conservative government will always balance the books” and talk of getting borrowing under control when furlough is ending and things look like they’re about to get worse.

It’s worrying.

We’ve got areas all over the country under Tier 2 or 3 restrictions, businesses on the brink and a new scheme replacing furlough that doesn’t look generous enough to save them. Sadly, 67% of wages might not be enough when you have to pay 100% of your bills, especially if you’re on minimum wage.

There’s a focus on saving ‘viable’ jobs with depressed revenues, which could be the writing on the wall for people who work in sectors like the arts, events and live sports, as well as hospitality businesses struggling in Tier 3.

Creatives are being told to give up doing the things that have kept us all sane during lockdown to retrain for beige jobs in beige buildings. 

One-person limited companies are still chasing the bus down the road after it set off in March without them.

And THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO MPs voted against feeding the UK’s poorest kids over the holidays.

But at least we have a £12 billion world-class test and trace system to help us fight the virus, eh?

Thankfully, the helpers have been easy to find.

Like the kind-hearted businesses and organisations who have stepped up to help Marcus Rashford and FareShare with their #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign.

Or nurse Lucy Moyland who’s been creating and handing out positivity cards and notes to lift people’s spirits.

Or the folks at The As-Suffa Institute in Birmingham who’ve been feeding and handing out cash to people in hardship.

When things are a bit shit, the helpers are the people who give you hope.

If we all look out for each other and be nice to each other, we’ll all be helpers.  

Swimming in the survey deep end

Laura has spent the first month of her internship learning what a pain in the arse I can be to work with.

She’s also been learning about surveys and has put together her top 10 tips for beginners, covering everything from questions to accessibility.  

Read: Getting to grips with online surveys

“Why would I waste time and money on research?”

Speaking of surveys, are they even worth it? In fact, what’s the point of research at all?

I get asked these kinds of questions a lot, so I’ve set about answering them in a Pearson Insight version of readers’ questions.   

Read: Research is a waste of money

Interesting stuff

Finding our voice as researchers

In the spirit of us all being helpers, Nick from Deep Blue Thinking has been looking at how researchers can play more of a role in making sure that data is used to help make the right decisions in commercial and social research.  

Mental wellbeing in market research

Opinium’s wellbeing report, conducted by MRS, is an important read.

It shows the importance of looking after our mental health at work, which is made all the more urgent by the current pandemic. Hopefully, it’ll encourage more companies to embrace flexible working. 

Covid and community rights

New Local is fed up with communities being ignored and neglected by the Government and are campaigning for change in the form of community rights. This post lays out their argument in a way that makes sense. 

Freelance lessons

Andre Spiteri shares the biggest lessons he's learned after five years of freelancing. A must read for any freelancer (or anyone thinking of taking the plunge). Full of nuggets like this:

"Don’t treat freelancers as your competition. Seek them out and do your best to make genuine connections. 

They’ll have your back if you have theirs." 

Those boots are made for walking

If you like a bit of variety in your walks or you want to visit somewhere on foot rather than in the car, you might find Slow Ways useful.

It's a project to create a network of walking routes that connect towns, cities and villages across the UK. So far, 700 volunteers have created 7,500 routes stretching 110,000km. Now they’re looking for 10,000 people to help walk, test and review those routes.

If you fancy it, the website has details on how to get involved.   

Slow Ways

Freelance soundtrack

"Go on, fill your heart up with gladness. Not a moment too soon. Not a moment too soon"

Have a lovely Halloween and Bonfire Night, whatever you’re up to.

We'll be trying to keep these lot as calm as this while all the fireworks go off. (I guess I'll be sitting in the dog bed...)  

Take it easy.


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