Alice Franklin is one of 300,000 people in the UK with Tourette’s Syndrome. For 25-year-old Alice, the condition manifests itself in uncontrollable body movements or ‘tics’ – jerking, twitching, punching walls and windows and involuntarily collapsing to the floor. The physical side of the condition is the hardest to deal with and exhausting she says. But she also swears and hurls impromptu insults at individuals she’s just met – including her new boss and customers in a bar where she worked. It’s a life-changing condition Alice has lived with for more than three years – but for her and thousands like her, therapy isn’t readily available. In fact, a survey shared exclusively with 5 Live Investigates by the charity Tourette’s Action shows even when a diagnosis has eventually been made, most aren’t given medication or directed to any form of behavioural therapy. And even when they are, it can take years to access. There are no NICE guidelines relating to the condition and Tourette’s Action says the condition is widely misunderstood by the medical profession. More than 460 people responded to the charity's survey and 79 per cent of respondents said their mental health had been affected by the condition. More than a third said they’d considered suicide of engaged in self-harming behaviour.
Gambling Self-Exclusion Schemes
An investigation by BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates reveals problem gamblers are able to continue betting online even when they sign up to a national self-exclusion scheme. More than 50,000 people have signed up to the GamStop scheme which allows addicts to ban themselves from online betting platforms. But 5 Live Investigates recruits the son of a problem gambler to sign up to the scheme to test if it works. After banning himself, Adam Bradford, whose dad David lost more than £100,00 by gambling online, is able to sign up to a new gambling website by changing just a few small personal details. GamStop say they're 'deeply concerned' by the findings.
The programme also returns to Grimsby where a year ago a producer self-excluded from all the high street bookies in the town. But he was able to place bets on high stakes fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT's) in all but two of the betting shops he was banned from. A year on, the programme returns to Grimsby to find out if anything has changed.
Kids in Care Placed in B&Bs.
There has been a big increase in the number of vulnerable children being housed alone without live in support. In some cases youngsters have been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation, bedsits and even caravans by the local authorities that are meant to be looking after them. Figures obtained by 5 Live Investigates show the number of young people aged 16 and 17 and placed in what’s called ‘independent living accommodation’ has gone up by 28 per cent in England since 2010. Young care leavers tell the programme they’ve been placed in dwellings over-run by drug users, alcoholics and abusers. The Children’s Commissioner says she is now launching an investigation into the crisis. The Government says the law is clear and that local authorities must provide accommodation that meets children’s needs and that includes appropriate supervision whilst in that accommodation.
Photo Credit: Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images
Safety Concerns over Smart Motorways
MP’s have told 5 live Investigates they want the roll-out of ‘all-lane running’ smart motorways to be suspended amid concerns over the safety of stranded motorists and the recovery workers who go to rescue them. All-lane running – or ALR – motorways are stretches of carriageway where the hard shoulder has been removed and converted into a running lane. That lane is only closed to traffic in the event of an incident. Highways England says ALR motorways are as safe as traditional motorways and they improve traffic flow. But there are many people who disagree. Ellie Montgomery and her family became stranded on a traditional motorway which didn’t have a hard shoulder because of road works. Their vehicle was hit by an HGV on the M6 in Cheshire and the family narrowly escaped serious injury. She sets out her concerns about taking away hard shoulders.
Photo credit: Press Association.
Eating Disorders in Sport
Anna Boniface was selected to run for England after she became the first non-elite woman to finish the London Marathon in 2017. But over-training and under-eating meant her dreams were short-lived because she failed to finish the event after suffering a stress fracture to her ankle. She was later diagnosed with a condition known as Energy Deficiency in Sport - brought on by pushing her body to the limit and failing to refuel properly. The condition affects hundreds of young athletes and can lead to serious eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. It can also weaken bones, stop women athletes from having periods and dramatically reduce testosterone levels in men. As the TrainBrave campaign is launched to raise awareness of the condition, 5 Live Investigates hears from those suffering the consequences. They include a young cyclist left with the bones of an 80-year old, and an Olympic hopeful forced to give up athletics in her mid-20’s after four spinal fractures brought on by her diet.
photo credit: kbschlee photography