The world is changed by ordinary people. Neil Dawson leads the conversation, alongside Andrew Gribben and Paul Woods. Each week we invite a guest to share on their interest or passion. Topics range from history, science and the environment, to society, politics and humanity. If you’re enjoying the conversations, let us know. Or if you have any suggestions for future guests or topics, we’d love to hear that too!
In 2008, Pete Kernoghan visited Cambodia and came across the world of sex trafficking for the first time. Stand Out International — an early model for No More Traffic — began with the help of Viva Networks and Chab Dai.
2012 marked No More Traffik being registered as a charity with its focus on raising awareness around modern slavery here in Northern Ireland.
Human trafficking is a reality in our society, and it’s happening not far from our homes. So what can we do about it? Pete shows us what we should look out for and how we can report suspicious behaviour.
We finish off the episode by looking at how ethical storytelling plays a part in navigating this subject.
Football, school and community with Neil Megaw and Gary McCoo Neil Megaw is chairman of Richhill Amalgamated Football Club and works as a principal in Newtownhamilton High School. Gary McCoo — born and raised in Richhill — is also a key part of RAFC, and runs Richhill’s Facebook page. Just a couple of days before recording, Armagh I awarded Gary Sports Person of the Year Award.
Both men are deeply involved in life in the village. In this episode, they reflect on the effect of COVID on the life of schools, sport and local business, but also how the community stepped up to work through the pandemic.
Celebrity and community psychology with Dr Arthur Cassidy
Arthur loves God and he loves working with people, especially people in the margins. His lively personality attracted the attention of the world of television where he was invited to analyse the psychological health of celebrities and reality stars.
More recently, he helped set up a branch of the Yellow Ribbon organisation which tackles the problem of suicide in our community.
We’re recording this in lockdown. It’s been a year of trying to cope with and understand one of the worst pandemics the world has known.
It’s a multifaceted crisis that’s affecting so many professions. We’re looking at it from the point of view of the local practice, the hospital and the pharmaceutical bio-molecular level of the virus and vaccine themselves.
Lynsey and Jo are both practice nurses. Lynsey Lucas has been using social media to inform the community of the importance of doing our bit.
Joanne Garland has worked in the COVID-Centres as well as working on the frontline in ICU and faced all the emotions and fears of individuals and families at the worst times.
Sunil Parthasarathy has spent his life studying life at a molecular level and has worked with viruses themselves in the laboratory.
The rich/poor divide with Mark Knox
Ordinary People alumnus, Mark Knox began Aspire NI – an organisation that tutors kids who are growing up in Brownlow, and other parts of Craigavon – about 3 years ago. Around that time, he was part of a church plant in the area (Cara, Craigavon).
He runs us through the stats and how we’ve got to a situation where there’s such a huge divide between the rich and poor in our community. He also challenges some of the assumptions people make around local children in poverty, and encourages a stance of “informed naïveté”.
To help us understand what’s going on, we head down the road of meta-modernism. It’s a philosophy that’s not a philosophy.
Attila was born in Transylvania, Romania (previously Hungary). A self-proclaimed nerd, he’s a software engineer who specialises in accessibility.
In the last few years he moved to Dublin and became close friends with our producer (and this episode’s host) Andrew.
Spending many years time working creating websites and apps, he’s seen how attitudes and behaviours on the internet have changed throughout the years. He takes us through his thoughts on how we create a culture of decency and care on the World Wide Web from the point of view of content creators and social media users.
Journalism and politics with Peter Cardwell Peter grew up in Richhill then got into Oxford which resulted in a career in journalism with the Times, Newsnight and more, alongside Jeremy Paxman, Piers Morgan and David Dimbleby.
Journalism opened him up to the world of politics and in the last few years, he got the opportunity to work in the Northern Ireland Office and as a special advisor (SPAD) to the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire – who oversaw the opening of Stormont at the beginning of 2020.
He takes us behind the scenes of Stormont and the experiences of working alongside politicians. Surrounded by opinions, he says it’s important to not just know what you believe, but why you believe it.
Richhill man Michael moved to Dublin in the early 2000s to work with Christian Aid. During this time he travelled around the globe to places such as Kenya and India, where he was struck by the effects of divisive structures on society.
While in Dublin he began to work with the small church-planting initiative Ignite Network and Urban Junction — a youth and community project.
The diverse backgrounds their work has attracted has caused them to re-examine what’s important and find real joy in the “grey” areas.
Church and Mission Co-ordinator at Evangelical Alliance, Donna Jennings’s life changed with the arrival of her son, Micah. Diagnosed with ASD, he forced her to challenge how we approach “normal”.
As we endeavour to do better in light of culture’s lens what needs to change, in terms of community, relationships, to adjust what we see as normal?
Throughout the years, attitude towards disability has been cruel or ignorant. Maybe there’s good intentions, but what if we just need better conversations and openness?
Donna’s story has impacted many people. She works with Tio Associates: an organisation that shines a light on intellectual disability.
Education and nature chat with Stephen Blevins.
Stephen’s has been involved in the education world for many years, having been a teacher, principal and now a school inspector.
Recorded on the day when lockdown was extended, including a bit more uncertainty around the schools, he reflects on the impact of COVID on kids and parents and offers a few thoughts of encouragement to use this time wisely.
In recent times, Stephen has become a bit of an amateur nature photographer.
Village stories with Dr Alan Turtle.
A stalwart of the village, and doctor in the Richhill Health Centre for 30 years, he hadn’t always lived there. Now the chairman of the Richhill Village Improvement Committee, he brings us down memory lane but lends his wisdom and experience to the where we’re at today and what his hopes are for the future.
Even before St Patrick, Christianity existed in Ireland in a simple, community-based form. When we talk about Celtic Christianity, we might have some preconceived ideas. Even today you see short-lived movements and fads labelled as “Celtic”. But, maybe there’s something in how our ancestors lived out their faith that can give us real grounding. Thanks to David Bell and Gareth Bell (no relation) for their passion for this subject.
Venezuela is back on the news. The former jewel in the crown of Latin America is in the midst of a political and humanitarian crisis. But for a country that is on the brink of cracking, where is the hope for ordinary people?
David Dawson heads up worship at Emmanuel Church. With the praise co-ordinator from Grace Community Church, he discusses what goes on behind the scenes of a worship team. They talk about what worship means to them, how they got into music and what goes into coordinating a team, and where creativity can make an impact.
Julie Liggett has been counselling for a few years and Lila Gribben is studying counselling. Exploring the world of mental health has opened up some interesting discoveries and sparked hot debates. Together, we look at how the church can do better and how individuals can make a positive difference for people who are suffering. For more articles and resources mentioned in this podcast, head to our Mental Health topic page.
Ronnie Dawson (Drop Inn) and Mark Knox (Aspire NI) share their stories. Mark has been focussing on a community, whilst Ronnie has had a global mindset. Are there similarities, despite the different focuses? How do you get people around you? How do you cope in times when everybody else thinks you’re crazy?
Neil Dawson and Neville Garland discuss moving the location of their church; the reasons for it; the challenges and give some advice to church leaders who are considering similar big changes.