Letters, October 16 2020


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‘Gift day’ to support Highland Parish Church

As the Covid-19 crisis continues, many people are struggling financially, and are anxious about what the future holds.

Some of this applies to the church as well; the work we do in the local community continued, but during the lockdown period, there was no income.

In order to continue supporting our work in Campbeltown and beyond, the Highland Parish Church is holding a gift day tomorrow (Saturday, October 17).

I will be available in the church between 10am and 2.30pm, to receive donations from any members and friends of the Highland Church.

Donations may also be sent care of St Blaan’s Manse, Southend, and cheques made payable to Highland Parish Church. The church will also be open for prayer.

Thank you – your support is much appreciated.

Reverend Steve Fulcher, Highland Parish Church.

Community Payback Order work is making a difference

I am writing to highlight the Community Payback Order work that has been going on in Southend, even during this dreadful pandemic.

On behalf of Southend Community Council, I’d like to say how very grateful we are for the work which includes grass-cutting in the play park, and grass-cutting, edging, weeding, and repair and painting to the remaining picnic tables and the sleeper fencing at Keil.

It has not been easy to keep this kind of thing going on in these difficult times but as a community council we want to thank the co-ordinator and his team for their work – it has been wonderful and such a help.

Thank you on behalf of Southend.

Margaret McDowall, secretary, Southend Community Council.

A83 corridor options fail to address needs of Argyll and Bute

As many of your readers will be aware, Transport Scotland currently is engaged in consultation with the public on corridor options for the A83.

We at the Argyll and Bute branch of the Scottish Green party are concerned that the 11 options proposed fail to address the present and future needs of Argyll and Bute, including the need for secure and resilient supply routes to the whole of Argyll and Bute; safe roads across our area; well-maintained roads; roads that go to and from the right places; and a joined-up local transport policy designed to serve the needs of residents, businesses and visitors to Argyll and Bute.

Most alarmingly, the consultation provides no reference to climate change, either as a cause of the current A83 emergency or as a factor to be considered in each of the options.

There appears to have been a process of elimination of options prior to the publication of the consultation – for example, there is no reference to rail links, a tunnel, improved ferry services or alternative routes for freight – and it would be in the public interest to make explicit how this process was undertaken, by whom and whether any surveys or studies on the geological, economic, social or environmental impact of each option have been undertaken.

We believe that most of the options presented would be so unfeasible in terms of engineering costs that we would be drawn to only one or two that would appear to offer the least challenging short-term solution for restoring a safe and reliable route in Argyll and Bute. If we are indeed correct in this assumption, then this is a very disingenuous process by Transport Scotland, for it is not a consultation in the true sense of the word.

There is no doubt that the need to address the A83 crisis of connectivity is an urgent one. However, we must not be driven to actions that might bring even greater problems further down the line. Is it time perhaps for both a short and long-term solution?

We would be very interested in hearing the views of your readers directly and would invite them to contact Argyll and Bute Greens at argyll-bute@scottishgreens.org.uk

Dennis Archer and Cathy Cameron, co-convenors, Argyll and Bute Greens.

Call out for local fundraisers for NSPCC Scotland/Childline

Here at NSPCC Scotland we have continued to be here for children throughout this pandemic.

Through Childline, our counsellors have been supporting children with a wide range of issues, including mental health, family relationships and abuse, and our helpline has been there for adults seeking advice or concerned about the welfare of a child.

Last year, our Speak Out Stay Safe programme visited 833 primary schools in Scotland, speaking to more than 145,000 children about their right to be safe from abuse and neglect.

Because of Covid-19, the team is unable to go into schools at the moment but have been working on ways to continue to get these important messages to pupils.

Our fundraising volunteers in communities across Scotland have rallied together to think up innovative ways of raising funds for us, which is so important as we rely on public donations for 90 per cent of our income.

We’ve had supporters host virtual fundraising events, run marathons in their back gardens and one fundraiser even cycled the length of the UK on an exercise bike in her living room.

We’re looking for enthusiastic, creative and organised people across Scotland to help us raise funds in communities to help keep more children safe. This could be on an individual basis or as part of a local fundraising group or network.

You will play a key part in keeping children safe in your local area by helping NSPCC Scotland to raise money and awareness locally, while learning new skills and meeting new people. Our NSPCC Scotland fundraising team offers all the help our volunteers need to be successful.

NSPCC Scotland is here for children, whenever they need us to be and it’s with your support that we can continue to be so, throughout this public health crisis and beyond.

If you would like to find out more about how you can help in your local area then please contact scotlandfundraising@nspcc.org.uk

Paul Cockram, head of fundraising at NSPCC Scotland.

British Heart Foundation appeals for preloved items

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is appealing to the people of Scotland to donate their quality preloved items using our freepost donation service, to support our recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

In June, we launched a new post-to-donate service, making it even easier for the public to give their decluttered items to charity. This was part of new measures we introduced to help keep shop staff, volunteers and customers safe.

The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on the BHF’s income, leading to a potential £50 million cut in research funding and the delay of important scientific breakthroughs.

We are now urgently asking for support by encouraging the people of Scotland to simply donate good quality items that they have been clearing out while at home, without hitting the shops.

We hope to receive smaller items such as branded clothing, handbags, shoes, jewellery, cameras and vinyl records via its freepost service. These will be sold either online via our eBay store or in one of our 76 shops in Scotland.

Customers can simply head to the webpage, request a freepost label which will be emailed to them and then choose to either print the label off or bring the email in to one of 7,500 nationwide Collect+ drop off points to be printed off there. Packages can be up to 10kg.

In line with government advice and to keep customers safe, all donations given to the BHF will now be rested for 48 hours before being placed onto the shop floor. Customers will also be able to donate at new contact-free donation points which will be set up at every BHF shop entrance. For larger donations to home stores the BHF free collection service is now up and running – ensuring all pick-ups are Covid-secure.

Every item sold will be turned into funds for research that could help transform the lives of those 720,000 people in Scotland living with heart and circulatory diseases.

To find out more information on the BHF’s freepost donation service please visit: bhf.org.uk/postyourdonations

The British Heart Foundation.