Daily coronavirus roundup for third sector, Tuesday 23 June

David attenborough

How the third sector is responding to the pandemic

23rd June 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Sir David in nature plea

Sir David Attenborough has warned that humanity must create a new relationship with nature and the ongoing destruction of the natural world makes dangerous viruses such as Covid-19 ever more likely.

The broadcaster and natural historian was speaking after it was announced that he was the recipient of People’s Postcode Lottery's annual Postcode Hero award in recognition of his environmental work.

As part of the award, he received £250,000 - raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery - for Fauna & Flora International, the charity of which he is vice-president. Together, with its regular funding award, Sir David accepted £500,000 for the charity.

Fauna & Flora International is world-renowned for its innovative programmes, many of which have come to be regarded as classic examples of conservation practice. It has now received £1.25 million to date thanks to players of the lottery.

The charity is using the funding boost for its new crisis fund in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to protect global conservation efforts.

Sir David said: “As the world responds to this pandemic, we must be led by the science, and the science is telling us that the destruction of nature is making the emergence of new and dangerous viruses ever-more likely.

“The finger of blame cannot be pointed at the natural world for this crisis, but in our relationship with it, and we must urgently act to create a new relationship that respects rather than exploits the wonders of nature.

“I joined Fauna & Flora International just after leaving university. It’s the great body of conservation and it’s active in every part of the world. The money raised by those who play this remarkable lottery will go to a very, very worthwhile cause.”


Charity responds to statistics

The Children’s Society has responded to the new ONS survey on the social impact of coronavirus on young people aged 16-29 between 3 April to 10 May 2020.

The survey reported eight in 10 young people aged 16-29 cannot attend education and that 75% felt their future life plans would be affected. It found almost half felt home education was negatively affecting their well-being and a similar proportion felt they could not study effectively from home.

Richard Crellin, policy manager at The Children’s Society, said: “These findings lay bare the devastating impact that being unable to attend school and college is having on young adults.

“This is causing worry for young people not only about their ability to learn now, but also their plans for the future.

“It is harming their well-being at a time when they are already more likely to be lonely and to report bigger impacts on their mental health than older people.

“We don’t know how children under 16 are feeling because the Government does not properly measure their well-being as it does for over-16s - but it is clearly a major concern that they are also being hit hard right now and could suffer long-term consequences.

“That’s why it’s crucial the government urgently shares its plan to ensure young people can safely return to education as soon as possible.

“While there will be a focus on catching up on their education, we want to see children’s well-being at the heart of their return to school and college. The government should demonstrate this by beginning comprehensive national measurement of our children’s wellbeing.”


Charity to feature in Theatre of Dreams return

As Manchester United gears up to host its first Premier League game back at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, the club’s sponsor Chivas, has announced it will be dedicating its pitch-side advertising space to support MND Scotland.

The pitch perimeter digiboards - that would usually promote the world-famous whisky - will also feature MND Scotland’s text to donate number, helping the organisation reach a vast audience at a time when they need it most.

Scotch whisky Chivas’ parent company, Chivas Brothers, announced in January that MND Scotland had been selected by employees as their Charity of the Year. Due to the pandemic’s impact on planned fundraising efforts, the company donated an additional £26,000 at the start of the outbreak to reach their £50,000 target early and extended the partnership to the end of 2021. The pitch-side sponsorship space donation is the latest phase of the company’s ongoing support.

Iain McWhirter, head of fundraising at MND Scotland, said: “People with MND are already under attack from a devastating disease, which threatens their freedom and security; emotionally, physically and financially. With the outbreak of coronavirus, these same individuals are now under threat from a second disease. Being donated a platform by Chivas which offers exposure and potential donations from a global audience is such an incredible gesture. Everyone dreams of getting onto the pitch at Old Trafford; we’ll use our chance to help relegate MND to history.”


Helping older people to stay connected

Sparko Virtual Retirement Community, a new British tech company endorsed by several Age UK organisations, is offering a simple yet innovative platform for age sector charities to connect with members, communicating with them directly to deliver interactive activity programmes and services – all through their home television set.

The service is a combination of easy-to-use technology integrated with charities’ services which improves quality of life for older people, reaching across the digital divide and allowing them to remain independent and active within the local community.

Charities and housing associations are using the service as a platform to interact with members and offer a range of services and activities. This is even more important now charities' physical activities are restricted due to coronavirus isolation restrictions.

A box connected to the television provides users with unlimited communication via video chat and entertainment whilst enabling charities’ local community coordinators to provide social and technical support, help at home, volunteer activity coordination and high levels of safety and security.

The user can enjoy live discussion groups, live classes and groups from language lessons to fitness, mental wellbeing and cooking, interacting through their televisions using a simplified remote control. They can easily make unlimited video or audio calls to loved ones and friends, share photos and get access to a library of thousands of videos chosen to suit their interests, along with a Happy News channel.