Daily coronavirus roundup for third sector Wednesday 1 July

Loneliness

Third sector's response during the pandemic #NeverMoreNeeded

1st July 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Foodbanks see giving fatigue

Donations to foodbanks from crowdfunding websites have declined in May and June after peaking at the beginning of the lockdown, according to data from the University of Kent. Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby and Dr Tomas Petricek from the University of Kent gathered information on donations to foodbanks via crowdfunding websites GoFundMe, Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving using data-scraping software.They found that in February, before the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, fundraising appeals for foodbanks raised about £8,000-£10,000 a week. From early March, the figure started increasing very quickly, going from £50,000 a week at the beginning of the month to £1m week after 23 March, when the national lockdown was imposed. After that initial peak, donations to foodbanks via crowdfunding websites started to decrease. They amounted to about £600,000 a week in early May and fell to £125,000 a week in early June. Peter Taylor-Gooby, professor of social policy at the University of Kent, said: “The findings indicate how the amount raised took off in step with the numbers of coronavirus cases and the numbers claiming out of work benefits. The results so far show great and unexpected public generosity. Many people gave money to help vulnerable fellow citizens. But the level of support is falling. As the numbers of cases declined from April onwards, so did the income from the appeals.”

Scots teens’ mental health suffering

Scotland's teenagers are suffering a negative shift in mental wellbeing, according to a government survey. Girls aged 15 continue to have the lowest scores when answering questions about mental health.But the largest deterioration has come from 13-year-old girls and 15-year-old boys. More than 21,000 S2 and S4 pupils were surveyed on a range of topics around mental health between September 2018 and April 2019. The Scottish schools adolescent lifestyle and substance use survey (Salsus) report is one of the main sources of mental health data among young people in Scotland. Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said she wanted all young people to be supported to have good mental wellbeing. She said: "Research shows there are a number of drivers that may negatively impact mental health in teenagers, including social media use and disrupted sleep, among other issues. In today's world, technology allows friendships to thrive and can help young people find the help and support for issues they are facing. But it's helpful for us all to be aware of our use of social media and the time we are spending online."

Loneliness epidemic made worse by lockdown

Coronavirus has exacerbated the UK’s loneliness problem, with a quarter of UK adults saying that lockdown has made them realise that they have “no real friends”, according to new research by Santander UK. The research shows that people have been reflecting on their friendships in recent months, with 29% of all adults saying they have been disappointed not to have heard from particular friends since lockdown began, and one in five saying their friendships have been strained because their friends haven’t bothered to get in touch with them.  Fourteen per cent fear they have lost friends forever as a result of not being able to visit them in person. Loneliness has been so unbearable for 12% of people in the UK that they have deliberately broken lockdown rules in a bid to alleviate their feelings of isolation. Meanwhile, many have turned to food and drink for comfort, with 40% of lonely people saying they have been eating too much, and a quarter drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. One of the most common effects of loneliness is missing friends and family, and the over 55s have felt this more than other age groups. Almost three-quarters of over 55s say they have struggled during lockdown, while 38% of all adults have noticed a deterioration in their older or vulnerable relatives’ mental or physical wellbeing since the start of lockdown. Santander UK commissioned the research to highlight the impact of loneliness and the need to support those who are struggling. To help those in need of a friendly chat, Santander UK employees are signing up as volunteers to make social phone calls to lonely and vulnerable people in the community through Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society. In turn, the Santander Foundation will donate £1,000 to Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society (split equally between the two charities) for every employee who takes part in this and other volunteering initiatives, up to £1million. So far, more than 1,000 colleagues have signed up.

Baby bereavement charity garners support

Held in Our Hearts is encouraging family, friends and colleagues to take up the baton and ‘PassTheK’ to reach our neighbours down under in Brisbane, Australia. The charity should have been travelling there for an international conference to share learning about their work and many people would have been travelling abroad at this time of year. Charity supporters can run, walk cycle or swim as many ‘K’ as they can throughout July and then ‘Pass’ the virtual baton, by tagging a friend on social media to do the same. Collectively, the aim is to travel from Edinburgh to Brisbane, a total of 16,313km. The charity has run a series of popular and fun virtual challenges through April, May and June, helping to keep their community connected and raise essential funds for their work. In June, #TheKTeam challenge was set for their running and cycling community, which had supporters seeing how many ‘K’ they could achieve in different teams. Over the month, the charity saw 11 teams ranging in size from a single person to 20 people, travel over 11,500 km. Nicola Welsh, Chief Executive Officer says of the current situation: “In a recent survey we did, 67% of families stated the lockdown has had a big impact on the care they have received. We want to continue doing all we can to support them and ensure that they are never alone. As a bereaved parent myself, my heart goes out to all the families that have had to face this nightmare isolated at home, away from close family and friends. We are committed to supporting bereaved families for the long term. One of the biggest challenges we have increasingly been seeing has been families coping with a pregnancy following a loss.”

Theatre industry hit hard by covid

Sir Ian McKellen is launching a covid-19 fundraising appeal with The Theatrical Guild through The Good Exchange platform this today 1 July, to offer much needed support for theatre workers left unsupported by any government schemes. While the Government has recently published its recovery roadmap for theatres, it leaves many struggling backstage and front of house theatre workers with more questions than answers.  After receiving a distressing letter from a stage manager facing eviction and unable to access government relief, Sir Ian selected The Theatrical Guild to receive a £40,000 donation from proceeds of his one-man show “On Stage: With Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others and You!”, to support theatre workers to help with food bills, housing costs, mental health services and other basic essentials.  He is calling on anyone who has attended a theatrical production in the past to put their hands in their pockets to raise at least £80,000 for those most in need, with match funding on The Good Exchange platform, every £1 donated by the public will be doubled. The Theatrical Guild has already helped many theatre workers who have lost their income due to covid-19.