Coronavirus roundup Friday 11 September 2020


Daily roundup from the sector 

11th September 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Charity’s workforce have been Enabled

One of Scotland’s leading charities has announced today that its entire workforce of over 2,200 people will be required to use the Protect Scotland coronavirus contact tracing app, with immediate effect. Enable Scotland, a member-led learning disability charity, said it took the measure in order to protect its workforce as well as to enhance protections to the 2,500 people and their families that it supports across Scotland. The charity also says it wants to play its part in protecting the communities in which its staff operate. Making the announcement Theresa Shearer, CEO of Enable Scotland, said: “Our priority has always been, and remains, the health and wellbeing of our staff and the people we support. We’re committed to doing everything we can to protect individuals, their families and communities, as well as our own people, from the ill effects of coronavirus. “Today’s decision will stand us in good stead to be part of the fightback against coronavirus and to continue delivery of our services which give people the chance to live their lives in the way they choose. The swift rollout of the contact tracing app to all of our employees was only made possible by the digital transformation we undertook a year ago. It has once again paid dividends, not only in ensuring we are able to communicate at speed with a geographically dispersed team, but now also ensure they have the resources and tools to use the new government app to ensure protect vulnerable people as well as themselves. We hope that by using the app, we will also limit disruption to the essential services we offer to people with learning disabilities.”

Global events by Scots health charity

A Scottish-based charity providing worldwide support and advice to people suffering from the liver disease PBC (primary biliary cholangitis), has announced a unique series of global events. This year’s International PBC Day is on Sunday, 13 September. Starting in Australia and working its way through Taiwan, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, Canada, UK, and USA; a series of 19 online events will run over 24 hours for anyone who wishes to learn from world experts about the latest developments in PBC diagnosis and treatment. Currently 20,000 people, mainly women are living with this incurable progressive condition which is the leading cause of liver transplant in adult women. This event reflects the incredible online support the PBC Foundation has provided to its 15,000 registered service-users around the world since the start of lockdown. These include a weekly Q and A with leading global experts, who have been able to advise patients living as far afield as Israel and Argentina.  Daily online get-togethers provided a lifeline of support and friendship to global members, many of whom were shielding in isolation. Collette Thain, founder and CEO of the PBC Foundation said of Sunday’s global plans” If anybody had said to me six months ago that we would be hosting a 24-hour online event with world’s leading experts and connecting them with our global PBC community, I wouldn’t have believed them! However, due to lockdown we were forced to rapidly embrace digital communications to continue to provide support to our service users and I was astounded by the number of people we reached during this time our regular webinars. Sunday’s International PBC Day is going to be truly ‘international’ and I would encourage as many people as possible to join us.”

Funders working overtime to help sector

Foundation Scotland has announced it has awarded nearly £1.5 million in crisis support to communities in Glasgow and the west of Scotland. The cash has come from its dedicated Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund - and now it is urging other eligible groups to apply. Launched in March, Foundation Scotland’s crisis fund was the first source of community funding to open as the coronavirus pandemic hit the country. Working in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, funded projects include support for those with poor or worsening mental health, those with poor access to critical services or care, those experiencing bereavement and support for organisations to safely provide vital services within the current guidelines. To date, more than 462 local projects have received a total of £1,488,682. Covid-19 initially had a huge impact on Glasgow-based Street Cones, a local arts and drama charity which works with people within or at risk of entering the criminal justice system. Before the crisis hit, all of their support work was carried out exclusively face-to-face. Restrictions then halted all on-going projects leaving around 100 isolated individuals without the necessary support which was helping them to turn their lives around.

Care provider takes over

Blackwood Homes and Care has successfully completed the transfer of Freespace, a not-for-profit care provider in Edinburgh, in a move that will protect the future of the 130 employees and 40 customers. The transfer means that the 40 adults, who all have varying disabilities and support needs, will not only receive continuing support from their care teams but will benefit from Blackwood’s innovative technology-based services to help them live as independently as possible. Freespace was set up by the parents of young adults living with a disability over three decades ago, and since then it has provided support to adults with physical and complex disabilities until it confirmed that it would cease operations this year. Angela Currie, Operations Director at Blackwood, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for us to step in to offer our care and support to this group of Edinburgh residents. Like Blackwood, Freespace has a long history of helping people to live independently and we’re privileged to be able to continue its service. “We’ll be bringing all of our technology, care and support services to our new customers and 130 new staff members – creating a flexible and modern care service which will make a huge difference to everyone. Customers will be given the tools to be able to live more independently and freely, while receiving high-quality standards of care from the same carers – many of whom they have built long-lasting relationships with over the years. We are happy to welcome our new employees to Blackwood, who will also benefit from our technology, training and development, and flexibility.”

Energy company digs deep

SSE Renewables has donated over £8 million to community projects in Great Britain and Ireland in 2019/20. The publication of the community investment review highlights all donations made in 2019/20 and demonstrates that local people are responsible for deciding how funds are allocated in their own area. 1,102 projects have been supported. Among them was the UNESCO New Lanark Heritage Site, which was awarded £140,000 to to invest in electric buses to transport increased visitor numbers in an environmentally sustainable way. Jane Masters, Head of Heritage and Development of New Lanark Trust said: “The SSE Renewables and Clyde Wind Farm (Scotland) Ltd funding will support our goal of reducing our carbon footprint, whilst enabling more visitors to access the outstanding heritage and visitor experiences offered.” The report also highlights a focus on investing in the skills of young people including an award of £117,114 to apprentice programmes in the Highlands, and a further £22,675 to  Young Enterprise Scotland to support a school enterprise programme in the Scottish Borders. Geoff Leask, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Scotland said: “Young Enterprise Scotland is very grateful for the generous support from SSE Renewables which will allow us to inspire young people to learn and succeed through enterprise.”