How the sector is responding to the ongoing pandemic
Virus exposing gaps in kinship care
The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating gaps in support for kinship carers, putting children’s placements at risk, a charity has warned. A Family Rights Group survey of nearly 700 kinship carers – many of whom had taken on children as a result of parental substance misuse, neglect or mental ill-health – found half had received no support during the crisis, despite high levels of need. A similar proportion were self-isolating because a household member has an underlying health condition, while a quarter said they had experienced worsening financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak. The study, which was carried out on behalf of the UK Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care, did not specifically ask participants about their current level of involvement with children’s social care. But responses from those who reported recent experience of local authority processes indicated that engagement from professionals was inconsistent.
Body calls for mandatory face masks in care homes
Independent car home body Scottish Care is calling for covid-19 testing of all care home residents and staff. Care homes continue to be hit extremely hard by the virus and the body says it needs to constantly review and revise its national approach to best support residents, relatives and staff. In a statement it said: “Distressingly, we may still not have reached the peak of the virus in care homes and anything that can be done to protect individuals and services and reduce risk of infection spread and deaths must be implemented with urgency. As knowledge and advice in relation to the virus develops, we are seeing particular spread risks associated with pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. That is why we are again calling for a change to national guidance so that all staff in care homes and providing care at home - regardless of role, Covid status or proximity to others - wear face protection in order to reduce the transmission of the virus.”
Knitted hearts raise spirits
Thousands of knitted hearts have been sent to a Glasgow hospital to help connect coronavirus patients and their loved ones. One heart is given to the patient while the other is sent out to their next of kin, who may be unable to visit. More than 4,500 have been sent to Glasgow Royal Infirmary after an appeal from intensive care nurse Liz Smith. So many have come in, they are now being shared with other wards and hospitals across the city. The scale of the response to an initial Facebook appeal means the hearts are now being given to less seriously-ill and non-Covid patients to bring a sense of connection, while rigorous infection control measures are in place. Knitters are asked to use clean wool and once they are knitted to deliver the hearts in resealable plastic bags with the date clearly written on it.
Bank gives away cash
Barclays Bank has pledged 100 donations of £100,000 to registered charities in the UK to support Covid-19 relief efforts, as part of its 100x100 UK Covid-19 Community Relief Programme. Barclays is inviting eligible UK registered charities to apply for funding to support immediate Covid-19 relief work in communities across the UK. This represents an initial investment of £10m from Barclays’ £100m Community Aid Package, which was announced on 7 April. The bank expects to begin distributing funds in June, subject to completion of due diligence and additional internal governance requirements. A statement from Barclays reads: “Charities applying should demonstrate a track record of delivering impactful, on-the-ground support to directly meet the needs of vulnerable communities facing social and economic hardship as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. “They will be able to articulate how funding from Barclays will be deployed to meaningfully support or boost their work, and they will be able to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable communities by deploying Barclays’ donation within six months of receiving funds.”
More than 150 charities in the North East struggling amid the coronavirus crisis will share a much-needed £300,000 cash lifeline in the next 24 hours, thanks to the Aberdeen Kiltwalk. Despite the postponement of the event following the pandemic lockdown, generous Aberdeen and North East Kiltwalkers raised £150,000 after organisers urged the 1,300 registered walkers to keep fundraising if they could for local charities. Moments after the fundraising deadline of midnight [Tuesday 5 May] Sir Tom Hunter announced that The Hunter Foundation, instead of adding 50% to walkers’ funds, was adding 100% - doubling the funds each Aberdeen Kiltwalker has raised. This will add an extra £150,000 and deliver a total of £300,000 to 155 charities across the Grampian region. The uplift by the Hunter Foundation follows its 100% top up of the Glasgow Kiltwalk, which was also postponed. Glasgow Kiltwalkers saw their fundraising of £733,000 double to £1.47 million for 540 charities in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.
Cash to fight cancer
UK-wide charity, Teenage Cancer Trust, welcomes a donation from the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, Dobbies Garden Centre, for £73,000. Teenage Cancer Trust is Dobbies national charity partner, with Dobbies having donated over three quarter of a million pounds in the last five years. Teenage Cancer Trust and Dobbies announced a formal partnership in 2019, having worked on a number of projects since 2015. Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for the seven young people aged 13 to 24 diagnosed with cancer every day. The fundraising efforts were led by team members at each of the stores from paper carrier bag purchases, the sale of the dedicated Teenage Cancer Trust rose, and contributions made in the soft play areas. Graeme Jenkins, CEO at Dobbies, said: “We take great pride in our ongoing partnership with Teenage Cancer Trust. The charity inspires team members nationwide and we are looking forward to continuing these efforts in the future.”