News from across the sector #NeverMoreNeeded
DEC launches vital appeal
An appeal to help the world's most vulnerable through the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Fourteen charities - including Oxfam, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and the British Red Cross - will join together to ask the British public to donate. The UK government will double the first £5m of donations. Much of the money will go to refugee camps, where overcrowding and poor sanitation allows the virus to spread. The DEC, which is made up of 14 of Britain's largest aid charities, will spend donations on providing food, water and medical care to people in countries such as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. Other target countries are Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. The DEC estimates there are 24 million internally-displaced people in these countries. A further 850,000 Rohingya people have fled violence to live in Bangladesh's camps. Donations will also be spent on providing soap to vulnerable families and on providing information about the dangers of the spread of the disease.
Children being left with no voice
The health emergency has demonstrated how easily children are left with no voice, even as governments struggle to deliver policy aimed to benefit them, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland said today. The Commissioner, Bruce Adamson said that crucially, policy has been created that excludes the voices of those who are most affected. There has been no direct input from children and young people into decisions around the cancellation of exams, for example, or the change to a new method of assessment. There is also no representation of children or young people on the Scottish Government’s Education Recovery Group. As Scotland moves into the next phases of its response and starts to plan ahead, The Commissioner urged the Scottish Government to observe its commitment to include children and young people in decision making. He said: “The pandemic has revealed that we’ve not made as much progress on children’s rights as we would like to think in Scotland. Under pressure, too many of our systems and structures reverted to treating children as passive recipients of charity and welfare rather than active agents in their own lives and valued members of our communities.” Adamson also pointed out that the impact of emergency legislation - created at speed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic - on vulnerable groups of children, was impossible to properly assess due to serious gaps in data collection.
Business as usual for Fife tenants
Current coronavirus restrictions couldn’t eclipse the enthusiasm for the Kingdom Group’s hugely successful Summer Gathering event which this year was hosted entirely online using video conferencing platform Zoom. Tenants from across Fife and beyond logged in on Saturday morning to meet up virtually with other tenants, to share their views on the subjects that matter to them most and to discuss ways in which they can continue to be involved with tenant participation in the future. Free workshops were offered to all who attended including mindfulness, harp therapy, a virtual garden tour of Kirklands House & Garden in Saline and an insight on guide dog training with an appearance from a very special guest, Duke a German Shepherd-Golden Retriever cross. Younger guests were catered for too with children’s workshops from Wild Planet Explorers and award winning cellist Greg Sinclair. Max Scotto, Kingdom’s Tenant Participation Officer, said: "Holding our Summer Gathering virtually allowed us to engage with a number of tenants who, in most cases, had never participated before. Although it took a lot of work behind the scenes for us to help people connect digitally, it was all worth it when we finally saw them enjoying the programme and having meaningful conversations about issues that mattered to them.”
Cyclists get on their bike to help homeless
Glasgow’s homeless population has been supported during lockdown by kind-hearted staff from Scotland's cycling charity. Food and essential supplies have been delivered to people on the city's streets and asylum seekers housed in hotels by workers from Cycling Scotland. Every weekday for the past three months, two members of the charity's team have cycled around Glasgow dropping off food, personal protective equipment (PPE), clothing, soap and hand sanitiser at hotels and B+Bs. Using standard and e-cargo bikes, staff have made drops at locations in Blythswood, Garnethill, Govan, Hillhead and Dennistoun. The wheels got turning when Clare Skelton-Morris, who works for Cycling Scotland, spotted an opportunity to use the team’s skills to volunteer during lockdown. They quickly reached out to homeless support network Simon Community Scotland and offered to do their bit. She said: “Cycling Scotland has been supportive of us helping others right from the start of lockdown and I knew the Simon Community was looking for volunteers. “The team at Simon Community could only make deliveries in their van, which wasn’t ideal during lockdown. Driving and parking in Glasgow city centre is time-consuming, costly and bad for the environment, and, due to physical distancing requirements, only one member of the team could do the deliveries.”
Daunting challenge bids to raise cash for Erskine
Three intrepid fundraisers are taking on the West Highland Way to raise cash for Erskine veterans homes. Aptly named by the trio “The West Highland Way 100” is in aid of ex-service personnel and their spouses cared for, by the charity, in four care homes across Scotland. On 7 August, Stephen Dunn (46), Dillon Thomson (18) and Michael Downey (18) will begin their daunting adventure. A loaded march of 100 miles following the route of the famous West Highland Way, ascending a total of 15,000 feet, whilst carrying 35lb in weight. Finishing 30 hours later in Fort William, the team will have been pushed not only physically but mentally too. They are, however steadfast in their determination to succeed. All three have strong connections to the armed forces. Michael is serving with 2 Paras, student Dillon has aspirations of joining the armed services on graduating and is under the watchful eye of the training wing staff at 4 Para (Reserves) in Glasgow. And, long-time Erskine supporter Stephen, as well as serving in the TA, has witnessed the exceptionally high standard of care given to his uncle by devoted and professional staff in the charity’s Anniesland home.