Daily coronavirus roundup for third sector Wednesday 3 June


The third sector's coronavirus response 

3rd June 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Charity hosts virtual brain building for babies

NSPCC’s Look, Say, Sing, Play campaign is launched across the UK today with weekly YouTube videos, following a trial in Glasgow. The campaign, which has been piloted in the southside of Glasgow as well as a few locations across England, aims to empower and highlight to parents the brain-building benefits that everyday moments such as singing and playing with your child can have. To coincide with the launch, the NSPCC has produced a series of short weekly YouTube videos showing mums and dads at home trying out the Look, Say, Sing, Play tips with their little ones, using only what they can find around the house. It also explains how each fun task helps their child’s brain to develop. One Glasgow mum, who attended an NHS Baby Club where the session was delivered by NSPCC Scotland, said: “The tips are accessible and easy to adopt into daily life. I think parents will find the sessions empowering and will understand more about how their babies’ brain works.” Another mum said: “The brain science behind the activities was completely new to me and it has definitely changed the way I parent. I have been using the tips with my son since he was born and I noticed he started clapping and crawling a lot earlier than my daughter did. This may be a coincidence but I didn’t do these sorts of activities with her until she was a bit older.” Last year, an NSPCC survey of more than 2,000 parents and expectant parents revealed that 62% were unaware that the interactions with their new baby in moments such as playing, singing or story time can be brain-building ones. NSPCC Scotland Local campaigns manager, Carla Malseed, said: “We have had great success with Look, Say, Sing, Play during the pilot, and we’re now excited to share the resources with families across the UK.”

Talent showcase

Values Into Action Scotland (VIAS), Scottish Commission for people with Learning Disabilities (SCLD) and partner organisations have announced plans to run a digital version of their Young Scotland's Got Talent event. The two charities had been planning to run a number of events this year but these were postponed due to covid-19. These long established events bring together all the relevant agencies who give advice on employment, offer fun workshops, and showcase the talent of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism with interesting jobs. Young Scotland's Got Talent on the Front Line is a unique online event where the audience will be treated to keynote speakers, a range of workshops, a market place and a talent showcase where young people will be interviewed about the vital work they have been doing during lockdown. The event will take place on Wednesday 29 July between 10.30am and 2.30pm. People can dip in and out of the wide and varied programme or can stay and enjoy the whole online experience. Norma Curran of VIAS said: “Our aim is to create the same fun and informative atmosphere that young people, their families and supporters have come to expect from Young Scotland’s Got Talent.”

Trust brings the bard to life

New detail about Robert Burns’s first home with Jean Armour in Dumfriesshire will be revealed via Zoom this week by one of the world’s leading experts on the bard. Professor Gerard Carruthers, Francis Hutcheson Chair of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University, will host the online seminar Burns@Ellisland, which is already attracting international interest. Ellisland Farm on the banks of the Nith near Dumfries includes a romantic cottage designed by Burns in 1788 after the success of his Kilmarnock edition. It was here that he finally set up marital home with the young Jean Armour, and parts of her stove remain in the cottage kitchen. It is one of many small museums closed by Covid-19 and the charitable trust which took over Ellisland’s management last month hope the seminar will increase membership and help raise funds. Professor Carruthers, who is secretary of the new Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, says the farm is central to Burns’s artistic and personal development and has a strong claim to be the home of European romantic song. He said: “The seminar will look at Burns’s crucial Nithsdale social relationships and at the writing of Auld Lang Syne and Tam o’ Shanter. It will examine Burns’s mental, physical and imaginative health. Ellisland speaks deeply to the psyche of Scotland’s national poet and once we grasp this history we begin also to realise the potential for Ellisland as a major heritage site for the future.”

Renewed calls for free TV licences

Age Scotland has renewed its call to the UK government to save free TV licences for over-75s, saying TV is even more of a lifeline for many older people during the pandemic. The charity’s former Chairman, Lord Foulkes, raised the issue in the House of Lords, calling for compassion as hundreds of thousands of older people face “greater loneliness and misery” during these unprecedented times. Campaigners are also concerned that the BBC’s proposed replacement plan poses a clear risk to public health, as older people might place themselves at risk by visiting shops or libraries to complete the required documentation. Age Scotland has welcomed the BBC Board’s decision to delay the introduction of its proposed plan to replace the free TV licence for over 75s for two months. But with no end to the pandemic in sight, this is not nearly long enough, and the charity is urging for the plan to be scrapped altogether. From 1 August, only those people over 75 who receive Pension Credit will be entitled to a free licence, and will need to send in documentary evidence. A BBC leaflet (issued prior to the pandemic) advises them to photocopy this in their local corner shop or library. This would contravene government guidelines for those who are shielding, while libraries remain closed.

Housing group proves to be caring landlord

More than 2,000 vulnerable households across Scotland have been helped by an emergency fund set up by Wheatley Group. Wheatley’s Emergency Response Fund has so far provided extra help to 2087 people and families in financial hardship, who are ill or self-isolating to buy essential items. That support has included help with fuel top-ups, white goods such as cookers, activity packs for children, mobile phone top-ups, baby milk and nappies and pet food. The fund, supported by the Scottish Government, the Wheatley Foundation and other donations, has made a big difference to households across the country. Lisa Samazie, from Wishaw, got support after her husband contracted the virus and couldn’t go to work. Activity packs for her kids she received through the Emergency Response Fund have helped the family cope. Lisa said: “My two boys are three and five have been getting bored because we can’t take them anywhere, so the colouring-in books and pens have been great. We’d been getting food parcels through EatWell and one day the activity packs for the kids arrived. It was a really nice surprise and the kids love them. It keeps them occupied. My housing officer is always on the phone, checking that we are okay. It’s so helpful. It shows how much they care.”