Help is a phone call away 

As we all face extra restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, Iain Gray MSP is helping promote the free support available from The British Red Cross.

The charity says that support is just a phone call away for anyone who is lonely, worried or in need as a result of the increased measures being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus across Scotland.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The British Red Cross has been doing an outstanding job supporting people facing hardship or in need of some extra help through the pandemic and continues to offer confidential support and advice for those in need.

 “Its Covid-19 support line – 0808 1963651 – is a one-stop-shop for emotional support and practical help. The line is confidential and open to anyone and I urge anyone in need of assistance to use it.”

For those who don’t speak English, translators are available, and people can also email SupportLine@redcross.org.uk if they prefer.

For more information about the Support Line, visit redcross.org.uk/get-help/coronavirus/support-line

North Berwick Trust Covid-19 Support Grants

Businesses and charities in North Berwick that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can still apply for grants from the North Berwick Trust.
 
This could be to help with paying rent, making a building Covid safe, or adapting your business model to the new circumstances.
Forms and guidance notes are available at www.northberwicktrust.co.uk/covid-19-support-grant-update/
 
The closing date for applications is 31st October 2020.

Care Experienced Week 2020

Who Cares? Scotland is inviting people to get involved in the third annual Care Experienced Week, which takes place from Friday 23 October to Saturday 31 October.

Iain Gray MSP is helping to promote the week and the key events and activities Who Cares? Scotland is organising to help celebrate it.

These include the charities two traditional national events which have been moved online:

  • The Digital Love Rally will kick off the week on Friday 23 October at 19.00.  Some special speakers from across the world will be involved.
  • Time to Shine Online is the charity’s annual festival for Care Experienced people.  It takes place on Saturday 31 October from 12.00 to 16.00.  Registration for Care Experienced people is now open.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The annual Care Experienced Week is an important opportunity for care experienced people to celebrate what it means to them and their lives. It provides a range of inclusive opportunities for members of the Care Experienced Community to connect with each other.

“It is particularly needed in the current lockdown climate and I’m pleased to be support Who Cares? Scotland and help promote the week by encouraging anyone who could benefit to register now.”

Find out about what’s happening during the week and how to get involved on the Who Cares? Scotland website.

New guidance on children and young people’s rights welcomed

Iain Gray MSP has welcomed the launch of new resources to help children and young people understand and protect their rights.

ActivateYourRights, developed by Young Scot and Children in Scotland, supports proposed legislation that, if passed by the Scottish Parliament, will incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law through The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.

Scotland would be the first nation in the UK to directly incorporate the UNCRC into law. Under the new legislation, public authorities will be legally obliged to act compatibly with the rights incorporated by the Bill. These range from the right to education, a home, good health and to be listened to.

Over the last year, the charities have worked in partnership to empower children and young people to take the lead in developing a range of resources to increase awareness and understanding of the UNCRC and children and young people’s rights in Scotland.

The guidance will prepare nursery, primary and secondary school teachers, youth workers and other educators ahead of historic legislation. There are also ActivateYourRights resources for young people to access directly in their own time online.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill is putting the Scottish Parliament at the forefront of enhancing children’s rights and means we are taking a lead in the UK on the issue.

“The legislation will incorporate the Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law and will ensure children and young people are involved in the decisions that affect their lives and that children’s rights are always respected, protected and fulfilled by public authorities.

“I know that many schools in the East Lothian have already been working on children’s rights. This guidance and the accompanying resources will help young people, teachers and others to be aware of and understand the positive changes that are coming.”

Jackie Brock, chief executive of Children in Scotland, said: 

“Through our engagement work, we’ve learnt how central rights are to the way children and young people express themselves and experience the world.

“As we move towards full incorporation of the UNCRC, this excellent new resource will help capture the instinct children and young people have for articulating their rights – and demonstrate how they can take action when their rights are not respected.”

Educators can access the ActivateYourRights Facilitator Pack at www.youngscot.net. There are also articles, videos, podcasts, and quizzes for young people on the young.scot website.

Iain backs prostate cancer charity’s awareness campaign

Local MSP Iain Gray is backing a new awareness campaign to encourage men at risk of prostate cancer to talk to their GP.

Prostate Cancer UK has developed a thirty-second prostate cancer risk checker, an easy to use tool asking questions to assess risk and make a recommendation to the user based on their responses. Mr Gray has agreed to help the charity raise awareness of the tool because detecting prostate cancer earlier can help save lives.

In 2018, Prostate Cancer UK highlighted prostate cancer deaths had exceeded breast cancer deaths for the first time, and lots more men spoke to their GP about prostate cancer – and were subsequently diagnosed before their cancer became advanced.

But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, far fewer men are going to see their GP about prostate problems. Referrals for suspected prostate cancer cases have dropped significantly, with the potential for thousands of missing diagnoses.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“As with many other life-threatening conditions, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a reduction in the number of men going to see their GP about prostate problems and referrals for suspected prostate cancer have plummeted.

This is worrying because we know that the earlier prostate cancer is detected the better the chance of survival. Prostate Cancer UK’s new risk checker is a quick and easy way for men to assess their risk and hopefully give them the confidence to speak to their GP about a blood test if necessary.

“I’m encouraging others to join me in sharing the details of the risk checker and help reach as many men as possible who are at risk of prostate cancer.”

Prostate Cancer UK’s 30 second risk checker can be found at https://prostatecanceruk.org/risk-checker

Gas Safety Week 2020

2020 marks the tenth anniversary of Gas Safety Week, the annual campaign to promote key messages around gas safety.

Coordinated by the Gas Safe Register, Gas Safety Week provides a platform for the gas industry, consumer organisations and individuals to focus communications about gas safety in one week, generating interest in the media and having a greater impact among the public.

This year’s week runs from Monday 14th September to Sunday 20th September.

Find out more about the week and how you can ensure gas safety in your own home at www.gassafetyweek.co.uk

Iain welcomes start of inaugural Scottish Children’s Health Week

Iain Gray MSP has welcomed the start of the first ever Scottish Children’s Health Week (31 August to 6 September).

The week has been created to focus on the health and wellbeing of children and young people and their right to the best possible health.

It was launched by Children’s Health Scotland’s Patron, singer KT Tunstall, who said:

“I’m really excited to let everyone know about Scottish Children’s Health Week and the Awards which start today.  Yes, we have created a whole week focusing on the health and wellbeing of children and young people and the right to the best possible health.

“Check out Scottish Children’s Health Week to see what’s going on and there is a free Activity Book to download, jam packed full of games and activities to get children, along with their parents, carers and families, thinking about their health and #feelinggood!

“During each day of Scottish Children’s Health Week, the winners of the Scottish Children’s Health Awards 2020 will be announced.  These awards have been created to celebrate courageous children and those who are making a difference to the health and wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland. I want to send my congratulations and support to each of these winners, and to all those who were nominated for these awards – for dedicating so much of their time, energy and compassion to making a difference to the health of children and young people in Scotland.”

Find out more about the week and how to get involved at www.childrenshealthscotland.org/

University of Edinburgh Community Grants Scheme

The University of Edinburgh’s Community Grants scheme is now open for applications, with groups able to apply for up to £5,000 for a project, which should increase engagement between the University and communities while having a positive social impact.
 
Since 2017, over £270,000 has been awarded in grants to charities, community groups and social enterprises doing fantastic work across the region. This round of funding has been brought forward to help with the response to Covid-19.
Find out more about the scheme and how to apply at www.ed.ac.uk/local/community-grants

Tenth anniversary of Armed Services Advice Project

This week the Citizens Advice Scotland-run Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP) is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

The project offers specialist advice and support to those serving in the armed forces, or are veterans, and their families, and since it was founded in 2010, the service has helped 15,950 people across Scotland.

It is run by Citizens Advice Scotland and funded by a coalition of military charities, led by PoppyScotland.

Over the past decade the project has unlocked £17.6 million for those it has helped by accessing, for example, welfare benefits, unpaid wages, compensation and other funding sources.

Commenting on the project’s anniversary, Iain Gray MSP said:

“Over the last decade this project has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of armed forces personnel and veterans, often when they have not known where else to turn to for help. I want to thank everyone involved in the project and congratulate them on their 10th anniversary.”

ASAP National Organiser, Claire Williams, said:

“It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole decade since we were set up. Today I’m incredibly proud of our advisers and workers across Scotland. They have transformed the lives of 15,900 people who were really struggling.”

Find out more about the work of ASAP at www.adviceasap.org.uk or call its helpline free on 0808 800 1007.

Events Industry Support Fund set to launch

The new Events Industry Support Fund, providing financial help for businesses in the events industry who have been ineligible for the various funding packages announced by the Scottish Government following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), will open for applications on 31st August.

The £6 million fund will be administered via VisitScotland and has been developed in consultation with the Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG).

The fund is open to businesses in the events industry, and particularly those in the supply chain, that can demonstrate events in Scotland are their primary source of income and have not received funding from any other Scottish Government sponsored COVID scheme.

To be eligible for support businesses must meet the eligibility criteria and provide supporting documentation.

Applications will go live on Monday 31 August at 12 noon, for 14 days closing on Monday 14 September 2020 at 12 noon. Fund awards will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and successful applicants will be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £10,000.

Find about more about the fund and how to apply at www.visitscotland.org/events/funding/coronavirus-support-fund