It's been estimated that UK charities face a £4.3bn shortfall due to the ongoing pandemic. We're using Turning Point to show our appreciation for the work they do on a daily basis, and take a look at the different ways they're supporting those who need it more than ever.
Coping with the unexpected
Charities up and down the country are united by the way they offer support to millions of people struggling to cope with the unexpected. Sadly, no one could have expected the changes brought about by COVID-19.
Our normal routines have been altered completely since social distancing measures have been implemented and we’ve been in lockdown for over 100 days. This has led to the cancellation of fundraising events, the closure of charity shops and a reduction in the level of support some organisations are able to provide. This comes at a time when many charities are experiencing an increase in the demand for their services by vulnerable individuals who are struggling in self-isolation.
However despite all the challenges, many of the charities we work closely with are doing what they do best – providing an incredible and invaluable service. We’ve taken a quick look at five charities that have had to change and become more creative so they’re able to be there for the many people who rely on them.
WellChild working wonders
WellChild is a national UK children’s charity that make it possible for children and young people with exceptional health needs to be cared for at home instead of in hospital. The current turbulent time has made their role much more difficult but that hasn’t stopped them altering their service to make sure they continue support children and their families during this time.
Unfortunately many of these families have been shielding a child with complex medical needs and have had to stop carers coming into their home because of a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Now we’re starting to see an ease on the lockdown, PPE is essential so they can access vital care and support as well as being able to start to live their lives in this ‘new normal’.
In response to this, WellChild have managed to distribute over 70,000 PPE items to families across the country. They are able to request delivery of facemasks, surgical gloves, aprons and carers uniforms from WellChild, who send these out as soon as is possible.
The charity have also been on hand to provide invaluable information and guidance on a range of subjects including financial support for families, getting medicines during the lockdown, and adjusting to life after it. We’re pleased to have been able to share some of our expertise which has held people unsure where to turn in times of change.
You can find out more about WellChild here. Caudwell Children - a crucial safety net
Caudwell Children transform the lives of disabled children across the UK. They act as a safety net for families who are unable to gain the help they need. During this unprecedented period they’re committed to continuing to provide a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable disabled children and their families.
They’ve responded to the crisis brilliantly, by providing families with a short breaks service and advice line via telephone and video calls. They’ve continued to support applications for much needed equipment, producing activity packs and partnering with us to offer legal advice to families where needed.
Week by week they’re continuing to adapt to ensure they can best meet the needs of their beneficiaries. However the charity also needs help to be able to continue their invaluable service. A significant percentage of their fundraising comes from charity events and individual challenges, and many have been put on hold due to the restrictions in place. This has made it more difficult for them to support those who so desperately need their help.
We're supporting Caudwell Children as they celebrate their 20th anniversary by hosting virtual HIIT workout and Yoga sessions for colleagues across Irwin Mitchell. Colleagues can take part by making a donation to the Caudwell Children JustGiving page, which helps the charity to continue to fundraise even through virtual events. The sessions are run by professional instructors - one of which is our own solicitor, Fiona Hamilton-Wood, who’s a qualified Yoga instructor.
Moving for meso
Mesothelioma UK is a national specialist resource centre, specifically for the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. The charity is dedicated to providing information, support and education, and to improving care and treatment for all UK mesothelioma patients and their carers.
Mesothelioma usually affects the lungs, which means the disease is even more dangerous during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many sufferers being classed as vulnerable and so having to self-isolate at an already challenging time.
Mesothelioma UK is continuing to do what they can to keep offering their key services. To adjust, they’ve made their appointments available via telephone and video calls, helping keep those safe who are already suffering, while offering them the support they importantly need.
At the beginning of lockdown, to raise essential funds, they also launched their Move for Meso campaign, which challenges supporters to collectively clock in 5000km in 5 weeks, by walking, jogging, running or cycling. This campaign has encouraged those taking part to stay healthy and active, while also fundraising for the charity.
Our asbestos related disease teams from across the UK have taken part in the challenge and together have collectively moved 9515km and raised £1000 to help
You can read more about
Meningitis Now look to the future
Meningitis Now is the first meningitis patient group in the world, founders of the meningitis movement and the only charity dedicated to fighting the disease in the UK. Over their 30 year history, they’ve invested over £12m in early stage research that’s played a critical part in the introduction of five life-saving vaccines.
They understand that life after meningitis is tough and in these uncertain times, it can be even tougher - especially as the crisis has meant they’ve had to suspend some of their usual support programmes.
In response to the pandemic they’ve created the COVID-19 Young Futures Fund, which is emergency financial support for children and young people affected by meningitis, who’ve faced further challenges during the current pandemic.
Bev Corbett, Meningitis Now’s Director of Research and Support, says, “Coronavirus has impacted our lives in many different ways. Here at Meningitis Now we know that children and young people affected by meningitis continue to struggle through these difficult times. That’s why we’re pleased to be offering emergency financial support through the COVID-19 Young Futures Fund.”
The COVID-19 Young Futures Fund launched in June will be open until the end of October 2020. With up to £500 available per applicant for a range of items, equipment and services – including computers, sensory toys, online training and gym equipment – the new Fund will support the education, learning and development of children and young people up to the age of 25.
Bev says, “We hope that our new emergency fund will go some way towards relieving the ongoing difficulties and challenges faced by children and young people.”
Meningitis Now’s COVID-19 Young Futures Fund has been made possible thanks to kind donations from various trusts and foundations, as well as funds they would have otherwise used to host their support events across the UK.
To find out more, including the eligibility criteria around the fund please
click here. Group B Strep to step
Group B Strep Support offers a range of free services for families, providing them with information on group B Strep. They aim to do all they can to make those they support feel comfortable and any answer any questions about the subject that they may have.
July is Strep B Awareness Month, an annual campaign to highlight the importance of awareness, education and research around the disease. During the month GBSS aim to get as many people involved in raising awareness and funds for Strep B education and prevention. Tragically, many families first hear about the disease after their baby is seriously ill with Strep B meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia.
Sadly, COVID-19 has meant most of the charities fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed – and so they need your help. They want everyone to reach out to as many new and expectant parents and get them talking about group B Strep and like and share their posts on social media.
Colleagues from our offices across the UK are doing what they can to support GBSS by taking part in the Virtual Step against Strep challenge, which is taking on a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon, at your own pace, by walking, cycling or running.
To find out more about the challenge and to get involved yourself
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