Letters, October 9 2020

Letters.
Letters.

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Support our cinema to secure its future

With press and social media currently highlighting the parlous state of the cinema industry at this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kintyre readers will be wondering just how secure the future of the Campbeltown Picture House might be.

Readers can be assured that the board of directors of Campbeltown Community Business Ltd, which owns and runs the cinema, has been busy throughout these difficult times, together with the management team, in taking every feasible measure to ensure that this much-loved community asset will stand the best chance of surviving the challenges of the time, and emerge from the ‘tunnel’ as a running concern when the situation eventually returns to normal.

The fact that the Picture House is operating at the moment, albeit with minimum staffing, a very restricted programme of films, and over the weekends only, bears testament to the extremely generous financial support packages provided by the likes of UK and Scottish governments, the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the British Film Institute, the Corra Foundation and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Additional important funding has also been provided by local organisations such as Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, community councils, windfarm trusts, the Balure Trust and, of course, individual members of the public.

This ongoing survival challenge takes place against the backdrop of a lack of anticipated big title films, the releases of which have been progressively postponed by the main distributors on the basis that cinemas in their major markets of USA and China are still shut.

It is hardly surprising that such delays coupled with the threat posed by the pandemic itself has resulted in current audience levels in many UK and European cinemas being at unsustainably low levels.

It is anticipated that sufficient major funding will be made available to carry the current limited cinema operation through to 2021, when the much-needed releases of new titles will occur, the pandemic is hopefully under better control, and audience levels can return to normal.

In the meantime we ask as many of our supporters as possible to bear with us and attend whenever possible, whilst observing the appropriate Covid-related protocols as set out by the UK Cinema Association and sanctioned by the local authority.

It is emphasised that the usual refreshments and snacks remain available, not only for consumption in the auditoria but also for take-away and off-site consumption.

The ‘Wee Pictures’ can survive this challenge, but only with sufficient active input from the community itself. Please give us all the support you can!

David Mayo, chairman of the board of directors, Campbeltown Community Business, and Ellen Mainwood, general manager, Campbeltown Picture House.

Could you foster a child in need?

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown could see the need for foster carers in Scotland increasing.

Due to Covid-19, pressure on families has increased with many suffering job losses, bereavement and mental health issues which may have a drastic impact on the number of children needing foster care.

We expect referral numbers to climb now schools are open and teachers and other professionals identify vulnerable children and young people as needing support.

So we are urgently asking anyone who thinks they can help to come forward. It is more important now than ever for people to contact the charity to find out about fostering, to ensure the right foster carers are there when children and young people desperately need stability and a loving family, support when they need it the most.

Please contact us online at www.barnardos.org.uk/foster to find out more about fostering, becoming a foster carer and the support Barnardo’s can offer or call 0800 0277 280.

Sue Brunton, head of fostering and adoption in Scotland, Barnardo’s.

Help people to live while they are dying

This week marks Hospice Care Week (October 5 to 11) and in these unprecedented times, now, more than ever, people at end of life and their families need our care and support.

As the country’s leading end-of-life charity – we cared for more than 8,500 people across Scotland last year – we understand how vital it is for terminally ill people to receive the very best care in their final years, months, weeks and days.

That’s why we have continued to be at frontline during the pandemic, caring for people in the community in their homes and at our hospice in Edinburgh. At any one time we support more than 300 people who live at home in the capital and West Lothian area. One way we do this is through Day Therapy sessions which support people at end of life – both physically and emotionally.

Due to restrictions brought on by the pandemic, we are adapting the ways we work and finding creative solutions to ensure patients don’t miss out on this vital service. We now provide virtual consultations, coffee mornings, gentle exercise and relaxation online, giving our patients the opportunity to engage with others and tackle the loneliness and isolation brought on by local restrictions.

The people that we care for don’t have the luxury of time and it’s important that we continue to help people live while they are dying.

Libby Milton, Clinical Services Lead, Marie Curie.

Financial services and Brexit

The Brexit talks are back in the headlines as the crunch point is being reached on a potential trade deal between the UK and the EU.

Meanwhile, rumbling on in the background, and maybe not getting the attention deserved due to Covid-19, is the major impact Brexit is having on the economy.

According to professional services company EY, financial services firms operating in the UK have shifted about 7,500 employees and more than £1.2 trillion of assets to the EU ahead of the ending of the transition period this year – with more likely to follow in coming weeks.

About 400 relocations were announced in the past month alone. Since Britain voted to leave the bloc in 2016, the finance industry has added 2,850 positions in the EU, with Dublin, Luxembourg and Frankfurt seeing the biggest gains.

From next year, firms in Europe’s financial capital will lose their passporting rights, which enables them to offer services across the EU. They will have to rely on the bloc granting the UK so-called equivalence for them to do business with customers in the region. With the EU far from certain to grant that access, firms are beefing up their continental presence.

It is inevitable that further moves will follow soon as we stumble towards the Brexit precipice at the end of this year.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.