Day 141 of lockdown restrictions #NeverMoreNeeded
Shameful eviction rate revealed
Eviction notices served during lockdown have amounted to 350 people being instructing people to leave their homes. A report by independent media platform The Ferret revealed some eviction notices were even served to tenants on the day lockdown measures in Scotland were announced on March 23. Early in lockdown, the Scottish Government warned it would take action against social landlords if they attempt to evict people over rent arrears during the pandemic. Measures were put in place within the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 to slow down the eviction process but this only covers tenants who received notices on or after April 7. According to the Freedom of Information data from the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service, 133 households were given notices in the period between the beginning of the pandemic and the legislation coming into effect. With the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) having resumed proceedings from July 9, this means people can now be brought through tribunals and face eviction from their homes.A further 218 tenants have had eviction notices filed against them since April 7, and are protected until October 10. Shelter Scotland, which had already warned of a “tidal wave of evictions” when courts are allowed to re-open, claims that even the current protections are not sufficient. Even in those cases where they were submitted after this date, landlords can simply wait until the act expires at the end of September, and serve a Notice to Leave on 1 October. Only 28 days’ notice must be provided before making an application for an eviction order.
Children’s mental health services warning
A charity has warned of a mental health “perfect storm” for children and young people. The warning, by the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) comes on the back of figures obtained by BBC Scotland via an FOI request which indicate that the number of referrals for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) has dropped by 57% between April and June 2019 and April and June 2020. These range from a 28% fall in requests for NHS Orkney to 80% in NHS Dumfries and Galloway. The SCSC has warned that mental health services will face an overwhelming and unprecedented pressure due to pent-up demand created by the COVID-19 lockdown, coupled with a cut in youth support services. This could potentially lead to a “lost generation” of vulnerable children and young people who are missing out on the support they vitally need. It has urged the Scottish Government to work with authorities and invest significantly in mental health services as children return to school and to ensure that teachers and other staff are aware of the services on offer for young people needing support. The SCSC has warned that self-isolation and social distancing have had an impact on young people struggling with issues such as anxiety and depression. It has noted that even the most resilient children are going to need additional support as they navigate this transition back into whatever is the new normal, and some will need a lot of extra support. A report commissioned by Young Scot, YouthLink Scotland and the Scottish Youth Parliament, called Lockdown Lowdown, found almost two-fifths of young people felt moderately or extremely concerned about their own mental wellbeing.
Govan groups in cash boost
Community groups in Govan have revealed a bumper cash boost of £200,000 from the Scottish Government to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. The boost has meant Govan’s funding to fight the virus has doubled to reach £400,000. The funding comes from the Scottish Government’s ‘Supporting Communities Fund’ – designed to help Scottish communities fight the effects of coronavirus. Hardworking organisations – many performing a vital role - have been given the money to deliver assistance in various ways to local people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by the health emergency. The good news on further funding was delivered by Govan’s COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Funding Group which is tasked with coordinating the distribution of Scottish Government money and which applied for the additional cash. The Group is made up of Linthouse, Govan and Elderpark Housing Associations and regeneration group ‘Govan Thriving Place’ along with the four councillors from the Govan ward who sit on Glasgow City Council. The group is supported by staff from Glasgow City Council and Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership. The original funding has had a widespread impact already with cash quickly distributed to help people. Some examples of funding include help for individuals seeking employment, providing opportunities to learn new digital skills, emergency food packages for vulnerable and isolated people and money to defeat domestic abuse.
A little help from their friends
Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster dug out some of their very best preloved items and posted them off to The British Heart Foundation (BHF), to help the charity raise much-needed money for heart research. The famous couple donated a range of luxury designer goods, with Rod exclusively giving the BHF a range of signed CDs and world tour memorabilia, using the charity’s new freepost donation service. Model and TV personality, Penny pulled out a range of designer clothing and accessories including a stunning black Dolce & Gabbana dress and some stylish Roberto Cavalli and Gucci heels - with Rod adding his own personal touch to his donated pieces, making them a true collector’s item. The treasured items will now available to bid on through the BHF’s eBay shop until 17 August, offering Rod and Penny fans the opportunity to own a piece once belonging to their idols and most importantly, help the BHF in its recovery from the coronavirus crisis and raise money for its vital heart research. Jane Flannery, Retail Regional Director at the British Heart Foundation said: “We want to say a huge thank you to Penny and Rod for their kind generosity in donating these fantastic preloved items to us. These pieces will help us raise much needed funds to help support the 7.4 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.”
Scotland’s gardens bloom once more
A change in Scottish Government Covid-19 guidance means garden owners will be able to welcome visitors once again. The news was announced as the open garden charity, Scotland’s Gardens, appointed a new national organiser, Liz Stewart, to head up its fundraising work. Gardens of all shapes and sizes across the country, which until now have been closed to visitors, are welcoming the public back to raise funds for charity, with special Covid-19 safety measures in place. Visitors are encouraged to stagger their arrival time, bring exact change, maintain safe social distancing at all times and to check a garden’s entry requirements on the website before setting out. Overseeing this summer’s openings will be the new national organiser Liz Stewart, who previously worked as development manager for Scotland for the Royal Horticultural Society. She was part of the development team for community activities and led the charity’s UK-wide Greening Great Britain scheme. Stewart has also been a Beautiful Scotland judge for the past five years, volunteering for Keep Scotland Beautiful. She takes up the reins from Terrill Dobson, who will still be involved as a volunteer organiser.