Daily coronavirus roundup for third sector Wednesday 20 May

Lockdown

News from the third sector as lockdown continues #NeverMoreNeeded

20th May 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Lockdown presenting barriers for sight loss public

A charity which supports blind and partially sighted people is campaigning for pavement space to made accessible to all pedestrians during Covid-19. The Scottish division of National Federation of the Blind (NFBUK) says it is important for footways to be kept free to allow pedestrians to safely access their local high-street. It comes after the Scottish Governments proposals to ease lockdown restrictions at the end of the month, with aims to allow different households to meet up provided they remain socially distant. The NFBUK say that in order for the economy get back on its feet, by re-opening shops and cafes, it is important that customers, have enough space to queue at shops and to be able to pass safely on the pavement while adhering to social distancing rules. They say it is critical that cafes and tables do not take up valuable pavement space and they should not be allowed to take over this pedestrian space during COVID19.

Animal welfare group slams fireworks during clap

Animal charities and vets are urging the public to not use fireworks during the Clap for Carers on Thursday nights. Scottish SPCA spoke out about how there should be “no reason” for fireworks during the clap, with the bangs and loud noise distressing animals, as pet owners across the city spoke out about the lasting effects the loud bangs can have. SSPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said, “There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that people should be setting off fireworks during the weekly ‘clap for carers’ event. It’s disappointing that some members of the public would try to turn a moment of genuine appreciation for keyworkers in to a competition to see who can make the most noise. The bang from a firework is terrifying to an animal and some will panic and flee at the sound, which can result in road traffic accidents. Clap for Carers has been a routine way to show appreciation to NHS workers, carers and all key workers during the lockdown, but pyrotechnics used during the 8pm clap have caused distress to many pets and pet owners. 

Engage with nature online

From 22-24 May, WWF is hosting a nationwide garden 'bioblitz' as part of our new Learn to Love Nature educational hub. Nature lovers can join WWF and zoologist Sophie Pavelle (@sophiepavs)- as the charity invites families across the UK to join a garden bioblitz this Friday – the International Day for Biological Diversity. The challenge? To help WWF identify and track as many different species of insects, small mammals and plants as possible in your garden using the Seek app. Each week Each week, WWF’s website provides engaging ways for families to connect with nature and learn more about our the planet. Its themed weeks include live learning events via its dedicated Facebook group, an opportunity to participate in fun and insightful webinars with WWF experts, and links to our popular educational materials.

Sex worker charity left out of funding

A SEX worker charity has hit out as it has been excluded from a Scottish Government pledge of £60,000 to support women affected during the Covid-19 pandemic. Glasgow-based Umbrella Lane and fellow charity Scotpep last month urgently called on the Scottish Government for support saying sex workers were facing an "unprecedented crisis". Now the government has given £60,000 to the nine organisations involved in the Encompass Network of support agencies. But this does not include Umbrella Lane, which says it has applied to join to Encompass Network but been turned down. Encompass Network, however, said it has never refused membership to groups that meet its criteria and would welcome new groups wishing to join. Dr Anastacia Ryan, Founder and Director of Umbrella Lane, said: "Umbrella Lane has been urging the Scottish Government to hear the voices and needs of sex workers and respond with financial support alongside a commitment to supporting the necessary scaling of effort by sex worker-led projects through Covid-19.”

Charities urged to recover statutory sick pay

A new online service will launch on May 26 for small and medium sized charities and businesses to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, the UK government has announced. The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This scheme will allow small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP. Employers will be able to make their claims through a new online service from May 26. This means they will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey said: “We are committed to supporting Britain’s small and medium businesses through this pandemic with a comprehensive package of support. “This rebate will put money back in the pockets of millions of employers, ensuring they can hit the ground running as the economy re-opens.”

Volunteers: pub food drive needs you

An emergency food operation being co-ordinated from a local pub has put a call out for volunteer drivers. David Maguire and his team at 1051GWR have provided thousands of free meals for charities, homeless people and NHS staff since lockdown began. The project – based in the West End of Glasgow - needs volunteers with cars to help collect surplus food and supplies from local supermarkets. Offers to volunteer should be made via weccs2020@gmail.com So far, more than £50,000 of the group’s £60,000 fundraising target has been met through public donations and funding from Glasgow City Council. You can donate here