Author Archives: Charity-News

Conflict kills 300 children every day

More than half a million babies may have died as a result of conflict over the past five years, according to a new report by Save the Children. That’s an average of more than 100,000 deaths annually – or 300 babies every day.

Save the Children - war zone photo

At least 550,000 deaths of children under the age of one could be attributed to the effects of conflict in the 10 worst-affected conflict zones between 2013 and 2017, the most recent year for which data was available, the charity found.

Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia are the countries where children were hardest hit by conflict.

The death toll does not include children killed directly by fighting. Instead, it estimates the number of infants and young children who may have died from the knock-on effects of nearby conflict, such as starvation, outbreaks of disease, damage to hospitals, or delays to aid deliveries.

Child deaths rose to 870,000 when all children under the age of five were included. The estimates are likely conservative. By comparison, the charity estimates that almost 175,000 fighters or soldiers were killed in the conflicts over the same five-year period.

The horrific impact on children is partly the result of protracted modern conflicts, often fought among civilian populations. But there is also a crisis in accountability – with persistent, widespread and sometimes deliberate violations of children’s rights across the globe.

Save the Children is calling for the UK to urgently implement a new strategy for protecting civilians – with children front and centre – covering diplomacy, defence and aid.

Britain’s cross-government ‘Protection of Civilians Strategy’ was last updated in 2010 and has no specific provisions for children or other vulnerable groups.

Save the Children is calling for the UK to:

  • Track civilian harm and comprehensively record civilian casualties in conflicts the UK is engaged in, as recommended by the Chilcot Inquiry;
  • Acknowledge the harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, avoid its use and take measures to reduce their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure;
  • Consistently call out violations against children in conflict, including by allies;
  • Raise the urgency of protecting civilians wherever Britain has a seat at the table – including at the UN Security Council, NATO and the G7.

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, said: “The UK should be using its global influence to protect children living in war zones. From Yemen to Syria and South Sudan, children are bearing the horror of armed conflict.

“Some are treated as collateral damage in urban bombing. Others are deliberately targeted for killing, abduction and recruitment by armed groups. Millions go hungry because humanitarian aid is obstructed.

“Britain should send a clear message to the world: the war on children must end, and those who commit crimes against children will be held to account.”

New charity will celebrate musician’s life

Friends and family of Welshpool musician Tim Gutteridge, who died recently, are setting up a charity in his memory.

Tim was very much loved by all that knew him, and to honour his memory and the causes that he believed in, a new charity – the Tim Gutteridge Memorial (TGM) Community – is being set up to continue Tim’s efforts and vision for affordable entertainment in Welshpool.

The TGM Community will help provide musical and recording equipment for the community with a focus on music production. It will also focus on performance projects and affordable entertainment and extra curricular / lifelong education for Welshpool. Alongside music, performance and entertainment, the Community will seek to relieve personal crisis by providing practical support such as food and small financial grants where nothing else is available.

Tim’s friends and family are now raising funds to set up the Tim Gutteridge Memorial Community, with the aim of securing charity status within 2019. Click here to find out more and to support them.

 

Be more Hebden Bridge!

A conference taking place in Birmingham (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd February) is to look at ways to make more places like Hebden Bridge!

Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Future Co-ops 2019 will address how the co-operative sector can grow and has found that Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire has almost 50 times more independent co-operatives per head of population than Hull, only 80 miles away.

As independent, democratically-owned and controlled businesses, co-operatives often tackle some of the most important issues in a locality such as employment, access to healthy foods and care issues. But the establishment of these businesses is very sporadic and Future Co-ops 2019 will explore new, practical actions to help co-op deserts bloom!

While Hebden Bridge has been identified, in this study, as being one of the top English towns in terms of number of co-operatives per inhabitant, a number of other towns and cities have a significant density of co-ops too.

University cities, especially those with a tradition of social innovation, seem to display a higher density of co-operatives with Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton and Manchester all scoring relatively well.

After Hebden Bridge, Totnes in Devon has been identified by Co-operative Futures as another strong example of an English ‘co-operative town’, although Hebden Bridge still has twice the number of co-operatives per head as Totnes.

According to Jo White of Co-operative Futures, the organisers of the event, co-operatives can be found right across the UK, but their distribution is very uneven.

“Our figures give an insight into the uneven distribution of co-ops. There are brilliant co-operatives across the country, and we all want to see them replicated. Future Co-ops 2019 gives delegates the opportunity to learn from Central England Co-operative’s Think Digital team some innovative, engaging and effective techniques in generating solutions to problems. We’ll be applying those techniques to the conference’s central theme – how to make co-operative deserts bloom and turn everywhere into Hebden Bridge. Only with less rain. Join us for fun, challenge, learning and great networking!”

Find out more: https://futures.coop/future-coops-2019

Friends of Dame Barbara Windsor to run London Marathon for Dementia Revolution

Close friends of iconic actor and national treasure Barbara Windsor have unveiled themselves as an all-star team known as ‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ that will run the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ on the running track

To the delight of the well-loved screen star, the team will be running for the Dementia Revolution, a year-long campaign created by dementia charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK for the event’s Charity of the Year.

In a video released by the team, the star-studded group of actors who worked with Dame Barbara on popular soap EastEnders, met for a preparatory training session with Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell, the leader of the inspirational team.

The group donned Dementia Revolution running gear for a spirited stretching and sprints session with professional trainer and coach Martin Yelling, before sharing their motivations for taking on the incredible challenge in support of close friend Barbara, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.

Those bravely pulling on their running shoes are Adam Woodyatt, Jake Wood, Emma Barton, Natalie Cassidy, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter, who all forged firm friendships with Barbara during their time on the soap.

United in support of the star, the group have joined the Dementia Revolution campaign in a bid to raise much-needed awareness of dementia and to raise £100,000 to power ground-breaking research into the cruel disease.

Barbara Windsor herself previously expressed her support for the Dementia Revolution in October 2018, when husband Scott announced that he would be running the marathon on 28 April, coincidentally his 56th birthday, in a video that received thousands of views.

Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society with almost a million people living with the condition in the UK – it is now the country’s leading cause of death, ahead of heart disease. There are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure the diseases that cause dementia, but scientists are working tirelessly to beat the condition.

The Dementia Revolution sees Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK working together to overthrow old attitudes towards dementia and raise millions of pounds for the most ambitious dementia research initiative the UK has ever seen – the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), powering ground-breaking research to find better treatments and a cure.

Speaking about the creation of Barbara’s Revolutionaries, Scott said: “From the bottom of my heart I really admire all of the team for taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution – it is such an amazing show of their love and friendship towards Barbara.

“It’s one thing to be friends with someone, but when people say that they’re going to give up their spare time and much needed days off and instead dedicate them to a cause that means so much, then that really is extraordinary – to both Barbara and me it’s so incredibly special.”

Dame Barbara Windsor added: “It means so much to me to see some of my closest friends coming together to support this cause. And I know it will mean a lot to everyone else living with dementia.”

Jeremy Hughes, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is absolutely fantastic that so many close friends of Dame Barbara Windsor have come together to form Barbara’s Revolutionaries and are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution. It’s a display of true friendship in support of a cause that is so vital.”

Click here to sponsor Barbara’s Revolutionaries.

Future Co-ops Conference 2019

A conference that takes place at the beginning of February will be addressing the issue of co-operative deserts and how new co-ops can be helped to bloom.

Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Future Co-ops 2019 will address how the co-operative sector can grow.

Not everywhere is created equal. There are some well-known pockets of success in the UK where co-ops flourish – big cities, small towns, north and south. But there are plenty of co-op deserts too.

We’re all agreed we want more co-ops, better co-ops and, sometimes, bigger co-ops. Particularly in co-op deserts. But no fairy godmother’s going to wave a magic wand, so what do we, as a diverse sector, do with what we’ve got?

Join Co-operative Futures in Birmingham on the 1st and 2nd February 2019, where they’ll be working with Central England Co-operative’s talented Think:Digital innovation team, using their new insights and participatory problem solving techniques in a fun and effective way to explore new, practical actions we can all take away to help co-op deserts bloom!

According to Jo White of Co-operative Futures, the organisers of the event, co-operatives can be found right across the UK but their distribution is uneven.

“Future Co-ops 2019 will focus on why these geographic imbalances exist and how we can all help create the right environment to make new co-operatives flourish.”

Where: Hillscourt Hotel & Venue in Birmingham

Info: https://futures.coop/future-coops-2019

Unprecedented demand for cancer helpline

The number of calls from people with cancer facing difficulties at work has shot up over two years — with some employers reported to be breaking the law — a leading cancer charity has revealed.

Macmillan logo

New figures from Macmillan Cancer Support show a 74% increase in calls to its support line on a range of work-related issues such as discrimination and even dismissal, as a result of a cancer diagnosis.

A YouGov poll for the charity reveals that one in five (20%) employees who returned to work after cancer reported facing discriminatory treatment, such as demotion and worryingly more than a fifth (22%) of managers also have concerns about employing someone who has or has had cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support is now expanding its dedicated Work Support Service helpline to meet rising demand — with the charity receiving nearly 3,000 (2,987) calls about work issues this year alone.

It is also warning bosses they are breaking the law if they don’t provide the necessary support, such as reasonable adjustments, to employees with cancer — which is classed as a disability under the Equality Act.

While most of the 1,500 people polled (87%) who were employed when diagnosed with cancer said it was important to continue working after their diagnosis, employers’ ‘misconceptions’ add to the large number of difficulties already facing the 890,000 people of working age with the disease.

For example, more than a third (34%) of managers worry their employee would not stay long in the job and nearly a tenth (8%) fear someone could use their illness as an excuse not to pull their weight at work.

Around one in eight managers have concerns about the impact of the diagnosis on other staff, with some worried it could cause awkwardness (13%) or resentment (12%) among colleagues.

Sadly, the research also found some workers with cancer did experience a lack of understanding of their needs from their employer (9%) and colleagues (8%). Others even lost their jobs (4%) as a result of their diagnosis.

Former web developer Jordan Taylor, 24, from Telford, Shropshire, was diagnosed with testicular cancer earlier this year and said: “Before I was diagnosed my colleagues felt like a family, but as time went on their attitude towards me completely changed.

“When I returned to work after treatment I was called into a meeting by my boss, who said performance was down in my absence and that companies had complained. There was no time to ease back into my role or any mention of reasonable adjustments to help me during recovery.

“Shortly after my return, I was told my whole team was facing redundancy. A few colleagues insinuated that it was my fault, even though I was ill — it was awful and caused me a huge amount of worry.”

Liz Egan, Working Through Cancer Programme Lead at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We know how important it is to many people to work during cancer treatment, or return to employment afterwards, and this is entirely possible with the right support. Unfortunately, however, many bosses have misconceptions about employees with a cancer diagnosis.

“The rise in calls we have experienced to our helpline is staggering and shows just how vital it is that people with cancer have support and advice with their choices around work. We want to be able to support everyone living with cancer who needs us and are reliant on generous donations from the public to provide services like this.”

The charity is also helping thousands of employers through its Macmillan At Work scheme. As well as offering a free toolkit, resources and advice, the charity also offers specialist training sessions for line managers and HR professionals to help them feel equipped and confident supporting staff with cancer who want to stay in work during treatment or return to work after.

Macmillan Cancer Support and its team of trained work support advisors for employees with cancer can be called for free help and support on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday — Friday, 9am-5pm). Information is also available at www.macmillan.org.uk/work.

Charities join forces to change the lives of homeless people and their pets

Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, and Mayhew, leading animal welfare charity for dogs, have launched a joint Christmas gift campaign that will help homeless people and their dogs access vital services, health and wellbeing checks, and warming food and supplies.

Crisis logoHomelessness is devastating, and a dog can be the only companion for someone who doesn’t have a place to call home. Crisis and Mayhew have been working together for 11 years to bring warmth and support to homeless people and their dogs. This year, the two charities have collaborated on an extra special initiative – a range of four virtual gifts designed to make a real difference to vulnerable owners and their pets.

Supporters can choose to donate £5, £10, £15 or £20 and, with proceeds split equally between Crisis and Mayhew, can help both charities fund much needed items and services for homeless people and their dogs. A few examples range from providing a cup of tea and a canine health check to a warm coat and help accessing a practical skills course.

Mayhew logoFunds raised could help provide homeless people with advice, food and warmth at Crisis at Christmas, and help them leave homelessness behind through Crisis’ year-round support with housing, employment and health. It could make a real difference to projects like Mayhew’s Pet Refuge programme, which provides shelter and care for the pets of people going through a crisis period. This is a lifeline for owners and enables them to access vital services, many of which are proffered through charities like Crisis who provide comprehensive support with housing, employment and health.

Through this new joint initiative, Mayhew and Crisis hope to help even more vulnerable owners and animals this Christmas and beyond, and make a real difference to the ongoing lives of homeless people and their dogs.

Richard Lee, director of fundraising at Crisis, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be partnering with Mayhew this Christmas to ensure our homeless guests and their dogs receive the support they need. Homelessness can be a devastating experience at any time of year, but it can be particularly hard at this time of year. That’s why Crisis at Christmas is so important – as well as food, warmth and vital services like those provided by Mayhew, our guests will be introduced to our year-round services that help thousands leave homelessness behind for good each year.”

Mayhew CEO Caroline Yates said: “Homelessness is devastating, and for many in such a situation, a dog is their best friend and the only source of comfort they have. The expense of food and vet care puts an extra burden on someone already in a vulnerable situation, so we are thrilled to have teamed up with Crisis to give people a way to help us both provide necessary items and services to those in need. Helping people and helping animals come hand in hand, especially at Christmas.”

To see the virtual gifts and to make a donation, click here.

Report reveals health impact of air pollution

Particles in air pollution cause a wide range of damaging effects to the cardiovascular system, according to a landmark new report.
Air Pollution photo

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) report found that air pollution can cause damage to the cardiovascular system in the following ways:

  • increasing blood pressure
  • making the blood more likely to clot
  • the build-up of fatty materials inside the arteries, reducing the space through which blood can flow – also known as atherosclerosis
  • altering the heart’s normal electrical rhythm – also referred to as arrhythmias
  • causing inflammatory effects on the cardiovascular system – or systemic inflammation.

COMEAP advises the government on all matters concerning the health effects of air pollutants and this new report marks the most comprehensive review to date, examining the studies conducted over the past decade on the potential biological mechanisms by which exposure to air pollution results in adverse cardiovascular health effects.

In the report, COMEAP found clear evidence that exposure to small particles of air pollution has a wide range of effects on the cardiovascular system, including irregular heartbeat and blood clots. The COMEAP report also provides recommendations where new research is needed to get a more precise understanding of the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular health.

It follows the publication of a COMEAP report in July this year, which estimated that long-term exposure to the air pollution mixture in the UK contributes to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths every year. The WHO also estimate that almost six in ten deaths related to outdoor air pollution being caused by a heart attack or stroke.

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Chief Executive Simon Gillespie said: “This thorough report gives us a clear view of the damaging impact air pollution has on our heart and circulatory system. While there are steps that people can take to reduce their exposure to air pollution we can’t expect people to move house to avoid air pollution – Government and public bodies must be acting right now to make all areas safe and protect people from these harms.

“We were reassured to see that the Government’s draft clean air strategy had a focus on health, but we need a commitment to WHO guideline limits for particulate air pollution in UK law to drive action to better protect the nation from the damage to health caused by air pollution.

“Having these targets in law will also help to improve the lives of those currently living with heart and circulatory diseases, as we know they are particularly affected by air pollution.”

Click here to read the COMEAP’s report.

Global credit union movement surpasses 260 million

The World Council of Credit Unions has released its latest report, which shows the continued growth of credit union membership around the world, surpassing 260 million members in 117 countries. This is an increase from its 2016 report, which showed membership of 235 million members in 109 countries.

WOCCU logoThe most notable changes from the end of 2013 to 2017 are 12 million new members in the US, 11 million each in Latin America and Africa, 7 million in Asia and one million in Europe.

“This year we can celebrate as a global community. We have realized our vision of reaching 250 million members by the year 2020,” said Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO. “We see that membership growth continues to reflect the important role that credit unions have in providing economic empowerment to people worldwide.

“The three primary challenges we hear from credit unions everywhere are advocacy, disruptive technology and membership growth. For 2019, we will launch the logical next step and take on the second global challenge, which is disruptive technology. We are gearing our efforts toward digitization, including access to core services by online and mobile channels, automation of internal processes and connection to local payments and electronic ecosystems. If we want to continue growing and competing in tomorrow’s disruptive markets, we take on this challenge, make it our own and market the advantage to serve the under-served.”

The World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. It promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial co-operatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services.

World Council reports data based on country responses to its annual survey and does not make estimates for non-reporting countries. The Statistical Report provides the most comprehensive data on the global credit union movement available and is cited widely by governments, international institutions and analysts as an expert resource.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 89,026 credit unions in 117 countries serve 260 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at www.woccu.org.

Action on Hearing Loss launches online resource for employers

National charity Action on Hearing Loss is launching a comprehensive new online guide for HR professionals and employers on how to best support both prospective and current staff with hearing loss and deafness.

Action on Hearing Loss logoThe Employer Guide has been developed in response to research conducted by the charity which found that more than half of people with deafness had been mocked or teased about their condition in their workplace, and that more than a third had felt bullied by their colleagues.

The guide will offer support on how to make workplaces more accessible for people with deafness and hearing loss – from simple deaf awareness tips for staff and management to providing more detailed information on how to take advantage of the Government’s Access to Work scheme to cover the cost of additional communication support.

Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables people to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality

As part of the launch the charity invites everyone to take an online quiz to find out how much they know about hearing loss in the workplace, which can be found here: www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/workingforchangequiz.

The new guide forms the latest part of Action on Hearing Loss’ Working for Change campaign, which is seeking to break down the barriers faced by people with deafness and hearing loss when accessing and progressing in employment.

Dr. Roger Wicks, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “Although there are around five million people of working age in the UK with some form of deafness and hearing loss, the results of our survey indicate there is a profound lack of awareness and understanding of its impact.

“It doesn’t have to be like this, however. There are a number of ways HR professionals and employers can educate themselves and their staff. Deafness and hearing loss do not limit anyone’s capacity for excellence, and we want employers to make the most of this huge pool of talent by enabling existing and prospective staff with deafness and hearing loss to thrive in the workplace.

“This guide is not only a resource that can educate employers and staff about hearing loss and deafness, it also sets out best practice and explains what support there is, such as the Government’s Access to Work scheme, to create an inclusive environment. We believe that the more educated and aware people are about deafness and hearing loss, such negative attitudes will become a thing of the past.”

To read Action on Hearing Loss’ Employer Guide and for other available resources, click here.