Charity in poverty warning
The impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on single parent families will be “devastating” without urgent action, One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) has said following the publication of a new Scottish Government progress report on tackling child poverty.
The second annual progress report on the government’s four-year Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan was unveiled on Thursday (20 August). Published alongside this was an annex focusing specifically on single parent families, who are one of the six priority groups in the delivery plan.
While the report shows that notable steps were taken by the government in 2019-20 towards eliminating child poverty, OPFS is concerned that greater – and faster – progress is needed in a number of key areas affecting single parent families. In particular, the charity is joining other members of the End Child Poverty Coalition in calling for immediate financial support to low-income families.
Research published this week by Public Health Scotland indicates that the pandemic has exacerbated many of the inequalities facing single parents and their children.
This means that government efforts to address the problem are more important than ever.
One Parent Families Scotland Director Satwat Rehman said: “In the wake of Covid-19 and lockdown measures, the ongoing impacts for children and families mean that poverty and the inequalities that drive it are only growing. For single parent families, the effects will be devastating unless significant investment is made to address problems which began well before the virus.”
Virtual flower show
The Eric Liddell Centre has joined forces with Pentland Plants in a new partnership that aims to raise much-needed funds for vulnerable people, who have been affected by the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown. The Pentland Plants Virtual Flower Show is one of many virtual fundraising activities the charity has put in place since the beginning of lockdown to support the local community.
The aim of the event is to encourage people to have some fun, make new connections, show off their budding beauties, while also helping to raise funds for a great cause!
The Virtual Flower Show will take place online, with the closing date for entries 31 August. Any photos taken from 23 March onwards will be accepted.
The event will encourage people to show off their garden and take part in this innovative event, with prizes donated by Pentland Plants.
Chief executive of the centre, John MacMillan, said: “We are really pleased with the range of alternative ways that we have been able to continue to support people who are living with dementia, carers and other local people who just needed a little extra support – this event is a fun way that people can help us to keep these services going. Pentland Plants have been so helpful and keen to get involved with what we do – I’m delighted to work in partnership with them and hope that the local community will contact us and get involved.”
People can sign up by paying the £10 entry fee via Just Giving then contacting Zsofia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens Advice green light
The Scottish Government has given the go-ahead for face-to-face advice to resume at Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country.
Sessions on welfare, debt and income maximisation purposes can restart from Monday (24 August).
Derek Mitchell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “This is welcome news. The Citizens Advice network in Scotland hasn’t missed a beat during the crisis, with bureaux transitioning to remote working and delivering advice over the phone and by email, which will continue to be the main methods of access.
“However, we know that in complex cases involving vulnerable people there is simply no substitute for face to face advice.
“Each of the bureaux in the Citizens Advice network will reopen at a pace and in a manner which they judge to be safe and responsible while also meeting of the needs of local vulnerable clients.
“Our message to the public is to check contact details for your local CAB so you can get advice in the most appropriate way.”
Charity calls for bus jobs to be protected
WWF Scotland have called on politicians to do more to help save jobs at a company that produces green energy buses.
Alexander Dennis confirmed this week that it is to cut 160 jobs at its Falkirk site.
Lang Banks, director at WWF Scotland, said action is needed to protect companies that are embracing sustainability.
He said: “The low and zero-emission buses produced by Alexander Dennis are world-leading and are exactly what we’ll need on the streets of Scotland if we are to meet out climate change targets.
“Buses and trains helped to ensure key workers could do their important jobs during the Covid-19 lockdown. That help must be reciprocated with support offered to bus manufacturers, building on that already offered to bus operators.
“In the interests of people and the planet, it’s vital that ministers do all in their power to help ensure Alexander Dennis has a positive future to look forward to.”
Partnership hits £1m milestone
Since the start of Covid-19, Barnardo’s Scotland and Action for Children Scotland have been supporting families who have been worst hit by the pandemic. The two charities have now, between them, reached the milestone of distributing over £1m of support to children, young people and families.
During the coronavirus pandemic, funds have been distributed to families through the charities’ community-based services across Scotland, preventing a great number from falling into crisis. From food shopping; payment of fuel bills; emergency cash payments, and providing digital equipment, the two leading children’s charities front-line staff have gone above and beyond to make sure families who have been hit the hardest during this pandemic weren’t forgotten.
Lockdown may be easing and pupils have returned to school but life is very far from ‘normal’ for many, Barnardo’s Scotland is still seeing the need for emergency support.
Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: "The Scottish Wellbeing Fund has been a lifeline for many children, young people and families across Scotland. It has enabled us to get practical support to those most in need with the minimum of bureaucracy – every penny has gone straight to those who need it with all administration costs absorbed by the two charities. We have also worked in close partnership with local authorities, individual Schools and local charities to maximise our impact. We hope to continue supporting those children, young people and families most affected by the pandemic through whatever means we can.”