My Column

We must dig deep to help good causes

  • Date: Monday 5th October 2020
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ALARMING figures published last week estimate that almost one million women in the UK - 78,000 of whom are in Scotland - have missed vital breast screening due to coronavirus.

The charity which conducted the research, Breast Cancer Now, says that thousands of cancers could be undetected with their diagnosis delayed.

Breast cancer screening services were paused during the height of the pandemic to reduce the risk of the spread and free up emergency NHS resources. Now, there is growing concern for the women who have been caught up in the backlog.

Breast Cancer Now is calling on NHS bodies across the country and both Scottish and UK Governments to set out how they plan to tackle an anticipated rise in demand for mammogram imaging and diagnostics.

The news is a stark reminder of the impact that Covid-19 continues to have on people across the country – particularly those who are in vulnerable groups.

Charities are also suffering as a result of the pandemic and have been forced to strip back their services or halt them all together, making it even harder for people to get the help and support they need.

All things considered, there has never been a better time to donate to charity, as organisations and the people that they help need our support now more than ever.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so I want to take this time to urge people and businesses to donate and help those who are being affected by the disease.

Although Covid-19 is a huge focus for everyone at the moment, diseases like cancer continue to affect people’s lives and sadly many more people will go undiagnosed as a result of the pandemic.

Companies can start fundraising initiatives right now within their workforce, even if staff are working from home. Host a virtual coffee morning or encourage your staff to do a sponsored walk in their local area every day for a week during their lunch break.

Alternatively, you could ask employees to wear pink for a day to raise funds, as pink is the official colour of breast cancer awareness. There are lots of different ways you can support the cause while following social distancing rules.

Not only are fundraising initiatives so vital for charity, they are beneficial for your workforce too.

During this difficult time, a charity initiative could help boost the morale and mental wellbeing of your staff and bring people together in shared support of a worthy cause.

Cancer research charities are only one example – there are dozens of organisations out there who are in desperate need of help at the moment and will be for some time to come.

Charities who offer aid to those who are homeless, food to those who are facing poverty and survivors of domestic violence experienced a huge surge in demand during lockdown. Donating to your local foodbank or charities representing a cause close to your own heart has never been more important.

In addition, those with underlying health conditions and the over 70s have spent weeks at home, which Age UK warned could worsen the UK’s loneliness pandemic.

Not to mention the toll that months of lockdown restrictions and global panic has taken on people’s mental health. Supporting SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) will help make sure that no one faces mental health problems alone.

If there’s one valuable thing that the outbreak of coronavirus has taught us, it’s the importance of looking out for one another. Corporations have a duty to give back and donate to good causes.

While I appreciate that this has been a time of great financial difficulty and uncertainty, please take a moment to remember those groups who are vulnerable or struggling as a result of the pandemic and spare some more to donate if you are able to.

SIDE (286)

With the Scottish Government asking people to work from home, if possible, since the outbreak of Covid-19 back in March, does the buzz of the office feel like a distant memory to anyone else?

I’ve seen countless LinkedIn polls asking connections recently if they’d like to stick to working from home beyond Covid-19, with most leaning towards some form of remote working. So it seems, on the face of it, that full time office life may be another Covid casualty.

With 58 per cent of office workers reporting that they have been more productive while working from home, it may make business sense. What’s more, without the dreaded commute, staff are able to pursue other interests or spend time with family ensuring a better work life balance.

However, physical offices still undoubtedly have the upper hand when building company cultures and in the training of new staff. Learning face-to-face in the workplace is an unbeatable way to build skills and confidence.

Another concern for employers will of course be the wellbeing of their employees, particularly their mental health. As we move into the winter months and potentially tighter restrictions on our already curtailed social freedoms, remote working brings its own potential pitfalls of isolation and monotony that office life simply doesn’t.

What the future holds for offices across the country is still unclear and changeable. That has caused a real challenge for landlords and commercial property developers, who are understandably reluctant to invest in physical office buildings when there is no indication when they are going to be utilised.

If the LinkedIn polls are to be believed, home working is here for the long-haul – but I think that’s a real shame because office life has so much to give.


LAUGH (129)

Magic wasn’t in the air for some Harry Potter fans last week, after queuing for hours to catch a glimpse of the ‘Hogwarts Express’.

Families gathered in train stations across the country to see the historic locomotive’s journey from Fort William to Lancashire.

A hilarious video captured the moment the eagerly awaited Jacobite steam train passed through Drumry Train Station in West Dunbartonshire, only to be obscured by a ScotRail commuter train passing in the opposite direction.

The disappointment from the crowd was audible, with one raging mum yelling expletives as her 30-second glimpse of the train was ruined.

Needless to say the spell was broken for the crowd, but days were made for viewers of the comic clip. Perhaps there was a better view from platform 9 ¾?

WEEP (137)

Summer trips with the family to the idyllic Isle of Arran will be a fond memory for many of you.

Often described as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, the island has been a favourite for adventure seekers and holidaymakers alike for generations.

However, a report last week from the Fraser of Allander Institute regarding the economic impact of Covid-19 on the island made for grim reading.

Thanks to Arran’s reliance on tourism and hospitality the report revealed the local labour market has been more severely affected than surrounding areas and Scotland as a whole.

Social distancing has seen ferry capacity reduced to as little as 20% and with the Arran ferry previously contributing £170,000 a day to the island’s economy – that’s not good news.

Policy makers must urgently recognise the challenges island economies face to avoid long term damage.





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