Daily coronavirus roundup for third sector Monday 29 June

Back to school

News on how the sector is responding 

29th June 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Cancer treatment timebomb charity warns            

Pausing almost all clinical research trials in Scotland in response to coronavirus has removed treatment options for many people living with cancer, a report to MSPs and charities has found. A report to the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Cancer, which meets online today (Monday), has also highlighted a 95% drop* in new patients entering clinical trials, which has left people with cancer with fewer options for treatment. Coronavirus has also delayed research into drugs that could potentially be effective in the future. Cancer Research UK is now urging Scotland’s health service providers and the Scottish Government to move swiftly to get existing clinical trials for cancer restarted as quickly as possible. To ensure patients can participate in clinical trials safely, the charity says Scottish Government must ramp up COVID-19 testing so people with cancer can be treated in safe spaces where the risk of exposure to the virus is minimised. Marion O’Neill, Cancer Research UK’s head of external affairs in Scotland, said: “Cancer hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic and it’s essential that clinical trials are restarted urgently. The Scottish Government has acknowledged that restarting cancer care is a priority. This urgency must now be extended to clinical trials and research. For those living with a cancer diagnosis now, the pause to trials has had a catastrophic and heart-breaking impact by removing access to final treatment options. For those diagnosed with cancer in the future, clinical trials are key to helping us understand more about this devastating disease and improving the range of treatments available.”

Call for clothes following hotel incident in Glasgow

An organisation which works to support asylum-seekers is appealing for clothes, toiletries and phone chargers for the residents of the Park Inn hotel. The Unity Centre, which provides support for asylum seekers, issued the appeal for basic supplies on Saturday. They are asking for people to drop off warm clothes, shoes, jackets, toiletries, as well as phone chargers, SIM cards and old phones, on Monday. A post by the organisation reads: "All people residing in Park Inn have been moved to alternative accommodation and do not have access to any of their possessions whilst the hotel remains a crime scene. If you have any spare phone chargers/smart phones lying around, please drop off at Unity Centre, 22 Ibrox Street on Monday June 29 between 10am and 4pm.Call ahead if you can drop something off another day: 0141 427 7992."  The Park Inn hotel was providing temporary housing for about 100 asylum seekers. However, as police continue to cordon off the area, the residents have been moved to alternative housing. 

August school return questioned by campaigners

Parent campaign group 5050inschool has voiced concern about the lack of certainty about the new plans for a 100% return to schools in August. Having welcomed the cabinet secretary for education and skills, John Swinney’s announcement on Tuesday it has emerged that there will be no final decision on this until tomorrow (July 30). ampaigners are asking Glasgow parents to join a campaign for a minimum of 50 percent in-school time as well as a national standard of online, interactive blended learning. 5050inschool group member, Sarah Chisnall, said: “We welcomed the government’s announcement on Tuesday, but as we said at the time that our five asks group remain as valid as they were before the change of plans were announced. We are worried that what we heard from Mr Swinney and also from the leader of the EIS Larry Flannagan, means that the guarantees about the amount of time our children will be in school and the plans for national best practice in at home learning will be needed more than ever. This will only increase the concerns that parents. carers, teachers, and support staff will have about what will happen on August 11 or 12 and it is imperative that we these concerns are being heard and addressed by everyone who will influence the final decision.”

Dundee digs deep with joint effort during lockdown

Almost a million meals have been provided so far to support some of the most vulnerable people in Dundee during the coronavirus pandemic. The combined efforts from the third sector, Dundee City Council and Scottish Government’s initiatives have resulted in a total number of 941,831 meals, as of June 19, for vulnerable people in the city. The citywide response to the health emergency has included the equivalent of 571,723 meals supported by the council, through the direct delivery of food or provision of a school meals payment. Councillor Lynne Short, equalities, fairness & older people spokesperson for Dundee City Council, thanked volunteers and staff members for their continued work in feeding those most in need during the Coronavirus pandemic in Dundee. Short said: “It is fantastic that the city has mobilised so quickly and provided such an impressive amount of meals to some of the most vulnerable people in Dundee. A health emergency like the coronavirus pandemic has presented real challenges for maintaining equalities and fairness across the city.”

Start planning for return to fundraising

Charities can start planning for the return of public fundraising activities but should consider the risks before going ahead with them, new guidance has said. Published by the Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (IoF), the guidance lists the precautions charities should take if they decide to resume their public fundraising once the lockdown is lifted. It includes a section on key principles when fundraising during the Covid-19 health emergency and a more specific guide on public fundraising, and was written in consultation with Public Health England. The government started easing coronavirus restrictions in England on 15 June, when it allowed non-essential shops, including charity shops, to reopen. Many other businesses, including pubs, restaurants, museums and cinemas, will be able to reopen from 4 July.  The Fundraising Regulator and the IoF first announced they were working on a joint guidance about the return of public fundraising on 6 May. The guidance, dedicated to public fundraising, contains a list of more practical precautions: for example, no more than four fundraisers should work together at the same time, fundraisers should maintain a static position and always keep at minimum distance. The use of face masks and additional personal protective equipment (PPE) is not recommended.