Scotland's communities respond to the pandemic
Dates-n-mates goes online
Dates-n-mates - a project of C-Change Scotland, supporting love and friendship for adults with learning disabilities – has been offering a variety of online activities to vulnerable adults across Scotland. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the project was providing in-person social events, dating opportunities and training workshops to their members. However, as with most organisations, they have had to cancel all planned events for the foreseeable.
However, dates-n-mates did not want to stop providing social opportunities for its members (adults with learning disabilities) and refused to leave them socially isolated.
The project has created new digital methods of providing safe social opportunities and support to their members. A team of four staff are working across four branches, making regular phone calls to members alongside hosting group video calls and virtual events.
Presently, daily group video chats (Mon-Fri) where members can chat, laugh and interact with other adults in the learning disability community across Scotland are being held. Two virtual events are also taking place every week including Friday night quizzes with a different theme each week, a games night, and a dance party – all held over zoom and shared on Facebook.
Talking Heads Webinar
Wise Group chief executive Sean Duffy will be in conversation with Social Investment Scotland online at 3.30pm today (Thursday 30 April).
Register to hear more about the importance of emotional intelligence, colleague wellbeing and responding to the new needs in society.
Charity’s cancer fears
Scotland’s only cancer research charity, Worldwide Cancer Research, has expressed fears over how many more people could die from cancer in Scotland as a result of Covid-19.
The charity first raised fears of this a few weeks ago, after Scotland’s chief interim medical officer, Dr Gregor Smith, revealed alarming stats demonstrating a significant drop in GP urgent cancer referrals. Now, new evidence from University of College London (UCL) and DATA-CN, the Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, shows that almost 18,000 more people could die from cancer over the next year in England and Northern Ireland alone due to the impact of COVID-19.
According to the evidence, the pandemic has not only impacted cancer services and treatments but has also caused people to delay notifying their doctor when they may have signs or symptoms of cancer due to fears of infection.
Dr Matt Lam, science communications manager at Worldwide Cancer Research, said: “This research looked only at England and Northern Ireland but there’s absolutely no reason why this prediction wouldn’t be the same for Scotland, too. We were right to be alarmed two weeks ago when we heard of the 72% drop in GP urgent cancer referrals. We encourage everyone to follow the advice of NHS Scotland and contact their doctor if they are at all worried about the signs or symptoms of cancer.”
Team proves handy
A housing association’s handyperson team has been dealing with everything from rescuing cats to lifting bulk items by the ton from Glasgow’s streets.
Since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March, Queens Cross Housing Association’s handyperson service has lifted some 32 tonnes of bulk items from North-West Glasgow streets - the equivalent of 24 average family cars in weight.
The service ramped up its offer as a response to Glasgow City Council suspending its bulk uplift service.
Maintenance manager Jim Williams said: “‘The handyperson team provide one of those services that often fly under everyone’s radar. It’s only at times like these that people get to see the real value of what they do.
“They have worked non-stop since the lockdown alongside our estate caretakers to provide our residents with a clean and safe environment and ensuring common areas are kept free from bulk items.
“People are spending more time at home but a big clear out indoors means a lot more items end up on the street. If we don’t remove them then it just doesn’t get done. They’re doing a great job in difficult circumstances.”
On top of this, the team’s been carrying out other duties like checking on association tenants to find out if they’re safe and well and delivering food parcels.
“One of the more unusual requests meant a cat was saved from starvation,” Jim added. “We managed to find it a temporary home when its owner was admitted to hospital. The team were happy to help.”