13 articles Articles posted in Charity

Help Stop Companies from Robbing the Poor

Most of my readers know that I have strong socialist values and feel really strongly about equal rights for all people. Our current government has created a culture of keeping the rich rich and the poor poor, which has perpetuated food bank usage in the UK, huge levels of homelessness and the highest levels of child poverty in hundreds of years. What you might not know is that the huge tax-dodging companies which operate in the UK have a huge effect on poverty in other countries too. Companies dodge approximately £78 billion in tax in poor countries annually, stripping them of funds for vital services. Oxfam reveal that just a third of this amount would be enough to cover the healthcare that could prevent the needless deaths of eight million mothers, babies and children. Oxfam has created a powerful video to show what’s happening:

Showing it in such stark, literal terms of patients being directly deprived may seem provocative, especially when we see the part with the baby in an incubator, but the cold, hard facts are that this is exactly what happens when companies refuse to pay their taxes.

It makes me sick that even the lowest paid workers are expected to pay income tax and tax on almost everything they buy, but companies which turn over billions in profit get let off. I can’t even begin to get my head around how unfair that is and it’s time that we started demanding that the Government make changes.

Oxfam has started a petition and is asking people to follow this link and add your name to a list of people who wants to see changes happen NOW. It will take two minutes of your time and could make a difference, not only to us here in the UK, but also to people living in enforced poverty all over the world.

Do leave me a comment below if you have anything to say about the campaign or just to let me know you’re adding your name to the petition. I’m heading there to sign my name right now.

Helping Refugees Through the Hardest Times

I think we can all agree that the past few years have not been great for ‘feelgood’ news. It barely seems like a day passes between stories of tragedy, war and human suffering and it’s something which weighs heavily on my mind during those idle moments when your brain wanders. Some of the images I’ve seen on TV and in newspapers in recent years will probably stick with me forever.

I heard a quote, a few years back, from American TV hero Fred Rodgers and I find it helpful to remember when the news gets too much. He said:

“For me, as for all children, the world could have come to seem a scary place to live. But I felt secure with my parents, and they let me know that we were safely together whenever I showed concern about accounts of alarming events in the world.

There was something else my mother did that I’ve always remembered: “Always look for the helpers,” she’d tell me. “There’s always someone who is trying to help.” I did, and I came to see that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police and firemen, volunteers, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong.”

I thought of this quote again when I heard about ESSN and their new way of helping refugees. The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) is a programme that provides cash to the most vulnerable refugee families living in Turkey. They can spend the cash on whatever they decide is most important. It could be food, fuel, rent or medicine.

They’ve teamed up with twelve European illustrators have come together to produce delightful new work to portray how seemingly mundane items, from toothbrushes to teddy bears, mean so much to a refugee child. The series of illustrations aims to promote the work the European Union (EU) and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are doing with their ESSN (Emergency Social Safety Net) Programme, which helps the most vulnerable refugee families find their feet again. Here are some of my favourite illustrations from the collection:

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Work like this is SO important; the mainstream media seems to go out of its way to completely dehumanise refugees, to the point where people were totally unmoved by images of dead children after their boat sank, escaping from Syria. It’s easier for people to be unwelcoming of these people than it is for them to contemplate the suffering and misery they must have endured to make them risk leaving their homes. These children are no different to our own and things like a book or a teddy or a skipping rope are just as important to them as they are to ANY little boy or girl.

If you’d like to know more about ESSN or would like to see some of the other artworks which have been created for this campaign, do head over to the site and take a look.

Everyone Jump For Pudsey! #JumpForPudsey

Pudsey bbc children in needWhen I was a kid, Pudsey and Children in Need was one of the highlights of the year – we’d get to do fun things like non-uniform days and bake sales at school to raise money for Children in Need and we’d all huddle round the telly for the night when it was shown on BBC One. Children in Need is now in it’s THIRTY SIXTH year (I know, it’s older than me!) having raised over £600 million since 1980 and this year they want us all to get a bit more active to help with the fundraising. Whether it’s leaps, launches, bounds or hops; the goal is for the UK to spring its way to one million jumps, turning jumps in to pounds. Boots is calling on people to get jumping with friends or family, at work or at home next week and in particular on Jump Day on the 26th of October.

The guys at Children in Need said “Helping to reach the one million jumps will be thousands of gymnasts from up and down the country who will be taking part in Jump for Pudsey challenges being staged in British Gymnastics registered clubs and leisure centres.  British Gymnastics has also created five easy jumps challenges for adults and children to do wherever they are, which can be found on boots.com and in the Jump Journal – available free from most Boots UK stores.

British artistic gymnast and five-time Olympic medal winner Max Whitlock is lending his support to the campaign to get as many people jumping as possible. Max says: “I think the Jump for Pudsey campaign is a brilliant idea! It’s great to have a campaign that not only raises money for such an incredible charity but also helps people keep fit whilst having fun. Even just a small amount of exercise like jumping can make a significant difference in helping people become healthier and happier. I’m sure lots of people will enjoy taking part and I know lots of gymnasts will be joining in and challenging each other to raise as much money as possible.” Many of Max’s fellow top Olympic gymnasts will also be showing their support for Jump for Pudsey by encouraging the public to get involved.”

Once you’ve done your jumps you can head over to the Boots totaliser to log all of your efforts with them and help get the total to one million! Jumping for Pudsey is such a simple and fun way to get involved, stay active, and most importantly raise money for disadvantaged kids in the UK and we’ve been getting our jump on in aid of this excellent cause, as well as roping in a whole bunch of Sausage and BB’s friends from school – take a look at some of our jumps below:

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If you need a bit of inspiration into how to get a bit of bounce in your step, British Gymnastics have put together a fabulous guide to encourage you to jump, which you can see here…

Jump for Pudsey

People are being encouraged to share their leaps with #JumpForPudsey  and make a donation of £3 by texting JUMP to 70313, or via mydonate.bt.com/events/jumpforpudsey. You can also find out more at boots.com/childreninneed.

We’d love to see your jumps too, so don’t forget to share all of your tweets, instagrams and Facebook posts with us so that we can follow along.

Impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated, study suggests

climate changeIn the UK with our well-stocked supermarket shelves, it’s easy to forget that many parts of the world are affected by a lack of food. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 800 million people across the globe don’t have access to the nourishment they need to enable them to lead healthy lives.

Children can be especially badly hit. On its website, the charity humanappeal.org.uk highlights the shocking statistic that each year, over three million children die because of malnutrition. One of the factors contributing to food shortages is extreme weather. From flooding to droughts, a range of environmental factors can affect food supplies.

New research

Research in this area generally focusses on how weather changes hit crop yields in particular areas. However, a recent study by a team from Brown and Tufts universities suggested this may underestimate the impact of climate change. Publishing their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change, the scientists stated that as well as looking at how much food can be harvested in given units of land under particular weather conditions, it’s important to examine the number of crops farmers choose to plant each growing season and how much land they cultivate.

Senior research author Leah VanWey warned that looking at crop yields alone can miss significant factors that affect overall food output. She stated that this approach omits farmers’ reactions to climate shocks. For example, farmers might respond to falling profits by reducing the amount of land they use. They may also be less inclined to grow two successive crops in the same field within a single growing season.

‘Worrisome’

Taking these factors into account, the team looked specifically at Mato Grosso, a state in Brazil that produces around a tenth of the world’s soybeans. They suggested that if current trends continue, an average temperature increase of just one degree will cause a nine to 13 per cent drop in the production of soy and corn.

Commenting on this finding, research leader Avery Cohn said: “This is worrisome given that the temperature in the study region is predicted to rise by as much as two degrees by mid-century under the range of plausible greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.”

Creating incentives

According to the researchers, one way to reduce the negative reactions of farmers to climate shocks may be to increase incentives for growing crops. For example, if governments subsidise or insure farmers for growing particular foods, this could have the effect of minimising cuts in production.

With major climate change widely predicted for the coming decades, governments and organisations around the world are searching for innovative ways to minimise the problems this could cause for food production.

No Child Under 5 Should Expect to Die. #Stopatnothing

World VisionWorld Vision is a charity which offers humanitarian aid, development and advocacy across the globe to the poorest and neediest people. It is active in in more than 90 countries and is the 11th largest charity in the United States with total revenue of over £981 million. They’ve teamed up with BAFTA award-winning creative agency Don’t Panic to create video to highlight under-five child mortality and get people taking action for all children dying from preventable causes.

The video really does put a stark message across in a very effective way. Andrew Hassett, Director of Global Campaigns for World Vision says “We want the viewer to be confronted and shocked when they are faced with a young girl thinking about her future. We want the video to prompt them to take action,”

He adds “With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expiring at the end of the year and leaders meeting at the UN to discuss the next set of development goals, we have a once-in-a generation opportunity to accelerate progress and end the preventable deaths of children in the next 15 years,”

“We will only reach that objective if the most vulnerable and hardest to reach children are counted, heard and reached. Those are the children who live in war, fragility and instability. They don’t have a birth certificate, can’t access healthcare services and are dying from wholly preventable causes like pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.”

Next time you’re watching a Premier League football match, bear this in mind; the average Premier League stadium in the UK seats just over 18,000 fans. Now imagine those fans are all children and the vast majority of them are going to die, TODAY. It’s only when you picture the sheer magnitude of what 17,000 people looks like that you can get your head around how serious this is.
World Vision are hoping to get as many social shares of the video above, using the hashtag #stopatnothing, to spread the message that no child under 5 should expect to die. 17,000 is a HUGE amount of children to be dying every single day. Please visit http://www.wvi.org/gwa to share the campaign today.

Thanks.

Sponsor A Child: The Benefits For The Child And You

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Have you thought about sponsoring a child but stopped short because you’re not sure if your money really makes a difference? It’s not uncommon, but when you sponsor a child you really are having a direct impact on a child’s life.

By choosing to sponsor a child you’re doing so much more than just donating some money every month. You’re entering into a relationship with your sponsored child, one that brings many benefits for both the child and you.

The Benefits For The Child

Ultimately, when you sponsor a child you’re changing a child’s life in a very real way. These are just some of the benefits that the child enjoys when you sponsor a child.

  • Receiving An Education. One of the biggest drivers of child poverty is a lack of access to education. Child sponsorship programmes work hard to build schools, train teachers and raise awareness of the importance of education in communities. This means that children can have improved life chances and the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. An amazing benefit that you enable when you sponsor a child.
  • Living A Healthy Life. In many of the world’s poorest countries access to adequate medical care is greatly restricted. This often means that children die from entirely preventable diseases. The money you give when you sponsor a child goes towards building medical centres and training staff, as well as funding educational programmes to raise awareness of specific illnesses and health problems. You’re also helping improve sanitation and access to clean water, which is one of the biggest factors in improving overall health and life expectancy.
  • Feeling Protected. Sadly, in many developing nations children have few rights and are often subjected to violence and exploitation. When you sponsor a child you’re helping train people on child rights and helping campaign to protect children at both the community and national level. It also helps strengthen disaster preparedness and risk management, because during crises children are particularly vulnerable.

The Benefits For You

When you sponsor a child you also experience some wonderful benefits.

  • Forming A Relationship With Your Sponsored Child. Don’t look on child sponsorship as simply a financial contribution. When you sponsor a child you will receive updates from them, including letters and photographs. You’ll get to see how you’re helping them directly. And you can and should write back to them, send photos of yourself and your family, and send them small gifts. Many child sponsors develop long lasting relationships with their sponsored child and some even visit them in their communities.
  • Knowing You’re Doing Something Amazing. Without your contribution and commitment life for your sponsored child would be very different. When you sponsor a child you’re enabling profound life changes for the child and their community. And that really is something to be proud of.
  • You’re Helping More Than One Person. Although you have a personal connection with your sponsored child, your donation goes into a fund that helps pay for projects in their community. So you end up helping dozens of other children too.

If you sponsor a child you’re committing to improving the lives of children who have few of the opportunities that we take for granted on a daily basis. You’ll be helping someone in desperate need and giving them a life they never dreamed of.

Sponsor a Child with Plan UK today.

Dementia, and Discussing Care Homes With Your Parents

The issue of care homes is one that needs to be treated with care and respect, as it’s a subject that many families every year have to consider with elderly parents. Care homes are a necessary part of society for those people who are unable to look after themselves, or whose families are unable to look after them.

It’s the role of the staff who work in care homes to look after the residents or ‘clients’ day and night, attending to their needs and keeping families informed of any issues. The aim of a care home is to replicate the family home environment in an engaging and comfortable space, providing meals, washing assistance, dietary care and a variety of other personal needs.

Specialised Care Homes

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There are also specialised care homes that not only look after the elderly, but care for people with mental and physical ailments such as dementia. The dementia condition is continuing to affect thousands of elderly people every year, and as such specialist care homes provide specific welfare duties for residents and families.

To get an idea of the correct care home you should browse around first, make regular visits to different homes before you decide to commit to anything.  Websites like extracare.co.uk can give you an idea of what sort of care your loved ones will receive, but it is always best to see the environment for yourself.

Choosing A Dementia Care Home

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 The dementia sufferer will need to be assessed by someone from your local services before you will be able to start looking at specialised care homes, and this is because local authorities contribute to the care of the elderly. Sometimes dementia sufferers don’t need residential care, meaning there are other options available such as home visits.  Additionally, once social services have completed their assessment about the level of care needed, they will work with you to find the right care home.

The Location

The location of a care home for someone with dementia is very important, as you’ll want them to be as close to family and friends as possible. You’ll also want to consider whether the area has shops, leisure facilities and other places that will be easily recognisable for the sufferer. If your parent follows any religious practice or beliefs, you’ll want to know if the care home will also meet these needs, such as taking your loved one to the local church, temple or mosque.

The Opinion of the Residents

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One of the best ways to gauge the level of care and service a dementia care home provides is to ask the opinion of the residents and their families. You’ll want to ask questions about the entertainment and social aspects of the care home, as well as the quality of food and comfort of the rooms. If there’s anything specific you would like to know, don’t hesitate to take a tour of the home yourself!

Brighten Up Your Kitchen in Aid of Children in Need

The exclusive polka dot retro fridge freezer available from Crampton & Moore in aid of Children in Need.An independent electrical retailer is hoping to raise hundreds of pounds for charity with a ‘cool’ unique online auction.

Sheffield based electrical retailer Crampton & Moore and white goods manufacturer Servis, have designed a one-of-a-kind Pudsey Bear inspired retro fridge to auction off, with all proceeds going to this year’s Children in Need. Consumers can make their bid on eBay for a chance to win the unique polka dot retro fridge freezer.

Bidding will start from 9am on Monday 11 November and will run until 8pm on Friday 15 November, the official Children In Need day.

Steve Lineton, E-Commerce Developer of Crampton & Moore commented: “Having worked with six different charities in the past, we are really excited to be part of this year’s Children in Need. Crampton & Moore has recently partnered with Servis and we thought an eye-catching product such as the retro fridge freezer would be ideal to help us raise money for the charity.

“We are proud to support such a worthy cause and hope consumers will join us next week and make their bid for the chance to win this exclusive fridge freezer.”

The limited edition fridge, in Classic Cream with Children in Need style polka dots, will be in Crampton & Moore’s Sheffield store on Wednesday 13 November to encourage consumers to make their bid online.

Servis’ retro collection fuses vintage style with modern cooling technology and is ideal for a household looking for extra food space. The retro fridge freezer boasts a practical capacity of up to 335 litres of fridge and freezer space, giving plenty of room to stock up ahead of the Christmas period.

In addition to the retro collection, Servis’ dishwashing, laundry and cooking appliances are also available from Crampton & Moore.

For more information or to place your bid visit www.stores.ebay.co.uk/Crampton-and-Moore.

(No money was received for the publication of this advertorial)

Ranty Friday – People Who Begrudge Charity

waitroseWhen it comes to charity, everyone has those that are close to their heart; in our case, we tend to give to animal charities, I do Race for Life every year in aid of Cancer Research and our local NICU unit, which cared for Sausage after she was born, always gets a donation if we see a collection. Husband and I have also adopted both a lowland gorilla and a Bengal tiger on Sausage’s behalf from WWF and once those adoptions expire, she’s told us she wants us to sponsor a dolphin, a snow leopard and a donkey next time.

If you’ve ever shopped in Waitrose, you might have noticed that they have a token collection system for local charities. Each shopper is given a green token with their shopping and a box is placed by the exit with three choices of charity or cause for shoppers to choose from. At the end of a month, the percentages of tokens in each of the boxes is worked out and the total gift is apportioned between the three charities. Causes vary from big, well known charities, specific wards in our local hospital and, as of the last week, three local nurseries which need help towards toys, repairs and learning resources.

Being a bit of a disorganised shopper, I tend to get things as and when we need them, rather than doing one huge weekly shop, which means that I go to the supermarket at least three times a week and in this time, the attitudes of other shoppers have really shocked me.

Rather than looking at the three nurseries who are politely asking for help and deciding which one they’d rather the donation went to, I’ve seen several people tuck their token back into their purse or wallet and walk away, dissatisfied with the choices of cause. I won’t even go into the fact that it’s nonsensical, given the fact that its worked on percentages of a whole, meaning that each cause will still get the same portion of the cash. The thing that has shocked me is people’s begrudging nature.

Waitrose have chosen which three causes to help at this time, causes which they believe are worthy of help, and they aren’t asking anyone for any money, they’re simply asking for people’s opinion on how they should divvy up the donations that they make. The people who put their coins back in their purses have stooped to a whole new level of begrudging by not placing their plastic token into a box and it absolutely amazes me.

I can only assume that the refusal to help three local nurseries comes from the same place as the dirty looks that old people give mothers trying to navigate their way around with a buggy – it’s like they’ve completely forgotten that they once had kids and had to face the every day challenges that life brought. Surely, if their kids were at nursery and they needed funding, they’d have been willing to give their token then?

As I said, most people have their ‘favourite’ charities to which they’ll give their time and money and I understand that they’ll go out of their way to help charities which are close to their hearts, over and above others which aren’t, but I simply cannot understand (or stomach, if I’m honest) the thought that people can be so begrudging and mean when it’s not even their own money they’re spending.

What do you think? Am I being too judgmental, or would this behaviour bug you too?

Clearing Out for Charity

declutterI’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve done some work for charity and there are a lot of charities which are close to my own heart. As a child, I had meningitis and still suffer the after-effects of the illness at times, and I’ve done fundraising and awareness for Meningitis UK over the years. I also worked for the NACCC (National Association of Child Contact Centres) for a couple of years, supervising visitation between parents and children where there was a court order in place. Some of the children came from homes where violence or drugs had been a part of their lives and being able to give my time to help was a very rewarding experience for me.

These days, I don’t have as much time to give as I would like. As a working mother, time is at a premium and I’m starting the next module of my degree in October, so all of my free time is going to be taken up by studying, when I’m not spending time with my family, writing, blogging, doing chores and all the other things that a busy adult has to do. So, I’ve been thinking about other ways in which I can make a contribution to charity.

My wonderful friend, Mummy Barrow, mentioned that the charity Refuge take donations of clothes and other goods, to help the people in their hostels. Many of the women they help walk away from their homes with only the clothes on their backs, so being able to give them something to wear and maybe a toy for their child is hugely important for their mental health, at the most vulnerable time of their lives.

After looking at the Refuge site, I noticed that they also advocate the option of selling things through eBay and offering the profit, or whatever percentage of it that you can afford, directly to he charity. Rapid Parcel also offer really low postage prices on their couriered items, so you don’t need to spend a fortune on sending things.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I live in a house with FAR too much clutter anyway so over the next few weeks I’m going to have a good sort out and sell the bits that are worth anything or send them to Refuge. If you’ve got any de-cluttering to do, do consider Refuge for your donations, they do fantastic work.