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At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall.
However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
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Does TV licence fee pay for ‘enthralling entertainment’?
Surely Keith Abendroth (letters, December 18), you have to admit that, disregarding the exorbitant sums paid to BBC ‘celebrities’, the TV licence fee provides us with enthralling entertainment.
Where else can one watch perpetual repeats of Homes Under the Hammer and Escape to the Country? In the evenings, there are spin-offs from the 92nd series of Strictly Come Dancing, the drama of Holby City, River City or Eastenders, the interminable series of Masterchef or the very aptly-named Pointless Celebrities.
What other source of delectation could one find to distract from the tedium of everyday life, and all for a mere £157.50?
Brian Gee, Carradale.
Praise for town’s taxi drivers
I read an article in the national press last week which made me think about the wonderful taxi drivers we have here in Campbeltown.
In the article, a disabled lady was demanding an apology from a Central Belt taxi company after being verbally abused and shamed by the driver of a taxi in which she got stuck.
When I read that, I knew the same thing would never happen in any Campbeltown taxi, no matter the company, as our drivers are exemplary.
Many times I have witnessed our taxi drivers going above and beyond the call of duty, particularly for elderly customers. They race out of their cars to help people load shopping into the boot, or help elderly people into the car, and often carry the heavy bags to customers’ homes.
Taxi drivers are a lifeline for elderly people all across the country and I hope ours know that we notice all the little things they do to go the extra mile.
Name and address supplied.
UNICEF supporting British children
The fact that UNICEF, the UN’s child protection wing, will, for the first time, intervene to support those at risk of hunger in the UK, is a damning indictment on the depths to which the UK has sunk.
UNICEF has put its funding behind a scheme designed to provide breakfast boxes to 1,800 families over the course of the Christmas holidays – marking the first emergency response in the UK by the organisation since it was founded in 1946.
Rising levels of food poverty in the UK are an absolute disgrace and the Tory Government should be ashamed of this.
We are supposedly one of the richest countries in the world. Our children should not have to rely on humanitarian charities that are more used to operating in war zones and in response to natural disasters.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh.
Save stamps for the Royal National Institute of Blind People
Last year, 2020, was challenging and, although many people like to give generously to charity at Christmas, it may have been difficult to make a donation this year.
It’s not too late – you can still help support the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) by collecting and donating used stamps from cards and parcels you may have received.
Your stamps will be recycled and turned into vital funds that will help RNIB support children with vision impairment. By donating your stamps, you can help make good things happen for these children, like ensuring they receive a letter from Santa in a format they can read in future.
To get involved and receive a pre-paid envelope for your stamps, visit www.rnib.org.uk/stamps or call 0303 123 9999.
After this, all you need to do is send your stamps using RNIB’s freepost envelopes, and they’ll take care of the rest. It really is that simple!
Show your support for RNIB this festive season by collecting stamps and help to make life better for blind and partially-sighted people.
Vanessa Feltz, broadcaster and television personality.
Festive support for British Heart Foundation
For many people, Christmas is usually a time for catching up with friends, raising a glass and embracing loved ones. But this Christmas would have been very different for most families across the UK, including those sadly affected by heart and circulatory diseases.
There are around 720,000 people in Scotland living with heart and circulatory diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke and vascular dementia. We know from the millions of people who have turned to us for support in 2020 that so many people with heart and circulatory diseases are worried about their greater risk from Covid-19 and that many have been shielding.
With your support, we’ve worked tirelessly to be there for people – extending our Heart Helpline’s opening hours, providing valuable Covid-19 information and continuing to fund research with the promise of improved treatments. Even over Christmas, our Heart Helpline was open for those who needed us most.
But we need your support now more than ever to continue this vital work. The closure of our shops and cancellation of fundraising events has had a devastating impact on our funds, putting life-saving discoveries in peril. We expect our income for 2020 to be cut in half.
Traditionally, Christmas is a time for giving and generosity. Whilst some Christmas traditions may have changed in 2020, we hope this one hasn’t – your support will help us to continue to fund research and support millions of people with heart and circulatory diseases at a time when they really need us.
Thank you for your support.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive, British Heart Foundation.