Scottish charities receive surprise Royal call

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Prince William surprised three Scottish charities who have been supporting communities through coronavirus #NeverMoreNeeded

21st May 2020 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Prince William surprised three Scottish charities this week by giving them a virtual call of support.

The Duke of Cambridge had been due in Scotland this week at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The meeting of the assembly was cancelled due to lockdown restrictions, so instead HRH took the time to speak to representatives of Scotland’s voluntary sector.

On Tuesday (19 May), the Duke spoke to two organisations Finding Your Feet and Possibilities for Each and Every Kid (PEEK) to hear how funds from the National Emergencies Trust have been helping them. On Wednesday, he spoke with Lifelines Scotland, who support the wellbeing of Scotland’s emergency service workers and volunteer emergency responders.

In Scotland NET’s Coronavirus Appeal funds are distributed by The Foundation Scotland Response, Recovery & Resilience Fund to small charities and grassroots groups that are delivering real results for the most vulnerable and affected during this crisis. To date Foundation Scotland has supported 550 community projects and is actively encouraging other local groups and small charities to apply.

The Duke first spoke to Corinne Hutton, founder of Finding Your Feet, which is a Paisley-based charity that provides physical and emotional support to amputees and those with limb absence across Scotland.

Swift support from the NET Coronavirus Appeal and Foundation Scotland at the beginning of the pandemic allowed the charity to adapt its services, providing online and telephone counselling, as well as online lockdown classes. The call took place in Mental Health Awareness week and the Duke spoke with one of the charity’s beneficiaries – Stephen – about the ways in which the organisation provide emotional support, which is particularly important at the moment as many of its members are ‘high risk’ and can suffer from loss of self-esteem and independence.

Hutton said: "Firstly, the emergency funding from NET distributed by Foundation Scotland was a lifeline for the charity at a tough time and I would encourage other organisations and groups to apply.

"The money allowed us to adapt our services for online and over the phone delivery, ensuring that no amputee in Scotland would have to cope alone during this pandemic.

"As if that wasn't enough, to be told that Prince William would like to speak to us was just breathtaking."

Next on the video call were PEEK Project, who have provided 123,000 nutritious meals since lockdown began to families requiring assistance in East Glasgow. The Duke got a peek into the charity’s food truck – called PEEKACHEW – where they are making around 300 meals a day. PEEK’s chief executive, Michaela Collins, and community chef Charlie Farrally, spoke about the importance of delivering healthy and nutritious food to the families they support during lockdown – 90% of whom qualify for free school meals. Funds from the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal through the partnership with Foundation Scotland have enabled PEEK to respond to demand for hygiene and wellbeing packs, such as sanitary products and soap which are being provided alongside the food deliveries.

Collins said: "It was a bit of a funny experience but you know he was really nice, he was really genuine. We were on the call for a good half hour just speaking about PEEK and what we do in a normal basis pre-Covid crisis as well as the response and the plans for the future."

Over the past eight weeks, the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal has distributed £32m through its partnership with the UK Community Foundations network and has helped support more than 5,000 grassroots charities and local organisations to meet the urgent needs of their communities.

 

On Wednesday (20 May), the Duke called Lifelines Scotland to hear from representatives from the Scottish Ambulance, police, fire and rescue services and Scottish Mountain Rescue about how they are working collaboratively with one another to embed mental health and wellbeing support across their services, and to tackle the stigma around seeking out support. The participants also spoke to the Duke about their own experiences with mental health throughout their careers.

Established in 2016, Lifelines Scotland seeks to help individuals and organisations understand how to best protect and support the wellbeing of both volunteer emergency responders and blue lights workers as they encounter stressful and potentially traumatic experiences, and what can be done if someone sustains a psychological injury. The charity also delivers training to emergency responders on workers on how to best cope with stress and look after their own mental health, and how to support their colleagues.

The Duke also heard more about the impact that the current coronavirus outbreak is having on mental health within the emergency responder community in Scotland, and thanked each of the organisations for their tireless work.

Last month, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched Our Frontline, an initiative which provides round the clock mental health and bereavement support to frontline staff and key workers. The Duke of Cambridge also chaired a roundtable with representatives from the emergency services sector and the NHS, including Lifelines Scotland, during which he heard more about the mental health challenges impacting keyworkers in the UK, and how Our Frontline can best support them.

22nd May 2020 by katy lamb

"2 great charities, fantastic interviews