Daily coronavirus roundup for third sector, Tuesday 21 July

Steven sutherland

21st July 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Teddy bears enjoy a picnic

To coincide with national Teddy Bear Picnic Day earlier this month, staff at Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) – wouldn’t let a global pandemic get in the way of making sure that children with complex health conditions could take part in the annual event.

The team at Rachel House organised two days of activities involving music therapy, sensory storytelling, build-a-bear and a virtual bear hunt through Rachel House, accompanied by a reading of Michael Rosen’s classic We’re All Going On a Bear Hunt.

Children within the hospice as well as those using its new virtual services were able to take part simultaneously, with pampering kits provided by Amazon, Tesco, Morrisons and Rightdose Pharmacy which were delivered to doorsteps all over the country by Scottish Gas,   

As serendipity would have it, one of the Scottish Gas engineers responsible for delivering those care packages has a very special connection to the hospice. Steven Sutherland (pictured), aged 45 of Gorebridge, Midlothian is the brother of Suzanne Sutherland, the little girl who helped underline the need for a Scottish hospice service and put it firmly on the national agenda back in 1993.

Suzanne, who suffered from a rare terminal condition, captured the nation’s hearts and helped compel the Scottish public into raising £4 million in funding to ultimately build Rachel House. She was present when the first brick was laid and courageously battled on until she died aged seven in 1998, having been able to use the care and respite services provided by the hospice she helped make a reality.

Steven said: “The family is so proud that Suzanne played such a special part in the legacy of CHAS and Rachel House by showing the country how important it was – and remains – that Scotland has a children’s hospice service.”

 

Fuel poverty call

Energy Action Scotland has called for action to help those struggling to pay their bills.

With 25% of households in Scotland living in fuel poverty and 30% of the newly unemployed destined to join them, academics and organisations including AGE Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, the Child Poverty, Action Group, the Alliance, Children in Scotland, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance and Carers Scotland have joined the call to protect struggling households in Scotland from sheriff officers in the continuing uncertainty following Covid-19 lockdown.

Chief executive of Energy Action Scotland, Frazer Scott said: “As lockdown restrictions ease many households are facing unprecedented hardship as they struggle with rising levels of debt.

“We are calling on our First Minister to intervene on behalf of these vulnerable households. We are willing to work with Scottish Government and energy companies to find solutions to rising energy debt and a situation which has all the makings of a humanitarian crisis come winter 2020.

“Fuel poverty kills six people in Scotland every day of winter and increased levels of fuel poverty will result in more deaths. Surely an inclusive Scotland cannot stand by and watch this happen for another winter?”

 

Centre staff praised

Staff at a day care facility in East Dunbartonshire are being commended by their employers after going above and beyond to support customers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Oakburn Park Day Care in Milngavie pulled together to help support customers and other vulnerable members of the community in a variety of ways during lockdown.

The key workers have been delivering lunches to the local community, as well as setting up mobile libraries and activity packs.

Lori Donachie, care assistant at Oakburn Park Day Care, said: “Throughout lockdown, staff at Oakburn Park have been supplying and delivering lunches to vulnerable members of the Bearsden and Milngavie community.

“As well as lunches, staff have been making and distributing activity packs, mobile libraries, jigsaws and DVDs to help customers pass the time. One of our care assistants, Alan Graham, took a lead role on this project and we appreciate all his hard work organising.”

 

Highland project calls for people to take the time to say hello to tackle isolation

Highland Hello is a multi-lingual project that encourages people to recognise that simple gestures can support us to feel more connected with people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With a view to connecting with those who may be feeling isolated and anxious during these challenging times, the project is asking people to make a small gesture of connection by saying a simple hello to others.

An online Highland Hello film challenge has been launched on Twitter and Facebook. The social media challenge calls for people to upload short films of themselves saying hello and passing on a wellbeing tip that has helped them during lockdown. The films that have been received to date have been collated and will be shown to people who have less access to the outside world such as those in care homes.

Information and hello postcards in a range of languages will also be sent to Highland organisations in the form of an online package to encourage them and the people they engage with to get involved.

The project which was developed by a small group of people based in the Highlands, is supported by the Highland Third Sector Interface, HiMRA: Highland Migrant and Refugee Advocacy, Fèis Rois, Highland Senior Citizens Network and national organisation the Scottish Recovery Network.