This will be a different kind of Christmas for many of us. We know that the ever-changing Christmas guidance has been difficult to keep up with and it’s impacted not only on people’s Christmas plans but on the public’s mental health and wellbeing. We set up a COVID-19 resources hub back in March 2020,  which has links to health guidance, videos to support your mental and physical health during lockdown and resources for vulnerable groups of people. Please do visit the hub if you need support.

We hope that everyone has a restful and safe Christmas break planned. If you are a bit unsure about how to stay safe over what is likely to be a festive period unlike any other, our Chief Executive, Christina Marriott featured in a video providing guidance on staying safe over the holidays. We have also, in partnership with the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene, put together a COVID-19 Christmas guidance infographic with some tips for a safe Christmas break.

While we know that Covid has had a major impact on our lives in 2020, it is positive news that the COVID-19 vaccination is now being rolled out across the UK.  As part of our work on vaccinations we recently, conducted some polling to find out more about the public’s willingness to take the vaccine. The research had extensive media coverage, and was featured on the Radio 4 Today Program, The Guardian, BBC Online, and The Telegraph. It is vital that we gauge the public mood on uptake so we can help to dispel any myths or quell any fears about taking the vaccine.

In other news, following on from a successful launch, the Gambling Health Alliance’s (GHA) #LidOnLoots campaign has moved into its next phase. We wanted to look further into the devastating financial impacts that loot boxes can have on gamers and their families, to see just how much damage they can do. Our full findings are shocking and will be out just in time to raise awareness of the hidden cost of some of the video games that will be under the Christmas tree this year. Keep your eyes peeled on the public health news section of our website.

Both RSPH and the GHA have welcomed the long-awaited publication of the Gambling Act Review (the last time it was revised was over 15 years ago!) and early next year they will be focused on putting together a response that will help to revamp the UK’s current gambling guidance. This is a public health issue that doesn’t get nearly enough air-time and we’re proud to lead a diverse and engaged alliance of over 50 gambling health charities, organisations and individuals.  We are also excited to be partnering with Gambling With Lives on a new project which will explore what taking a public health approach to gambling will look like – further details to follow next year.

The team have also been working on our response to a consultation on introducing a total online advertising ban for High Fat Salt or Salt food products. These kinds of consultations don’t come around very often, so it is important that we make our voice heard on this important issue. The response form was sent to members of our Food and Behaviour change special interest groups, so thank you to everyone who took the time to give their feedback. Good things come to those who wait and we anticipate they’ll be a response around Spring 2021.

One of our big projects for early 2021 is to develop an online tool to help Allied Health Professional students to find public health placements (or to help placements find students). We have carried out a host of successful focus groups and we are planning to launch the project in early the first few months of 2021.