Categories
Culture

Encouraging donations for good causes through film

During the pandemic, many charities have had to find new ways of engaging with the public, often through the virtual world. Those at the Charity Film Awards – hosted by For Good Events, a non-profit social enterprise – know something about engaging people in positive change through a screen.

The Charity Film Awards were created to celebrate the success of film in engaging supporters of charities, driving positive conversations and encouraging donations for good causes. Through film-making, the awards showcase the power of film-making to affect change across the globe. 

Over 400 charities entered the awards and more than 110,000 members of the public voted for 125 shortlisted organisations. In 2019, nearly 10% of those who voted also made a donation and it is estimated the awards increase views of the videos entered by ¼ million views.

The categories for entering are based on the charity’s turnover for the latest financial year, so everyone has a chance to win an award regardless of the size of the organisation and the budgets available.

This year the Charity Film of the Year went to Carers UK + British Gas who support Carers across the UK and the People’s Choice Film of the Year went to Compassion in World Farming who work to end factory farming processes around the globe. 

 

You can catch up with the Awards ceremony online and find out more about the other winners in each category here.

By Ellen Jones

Categories
Wellbeing

Health and wellbeing during the pandemic

In the pandemic, health and wellbeing is on everyone’s mind. One area that is often overlooked in discussions around healthcare access during the pandemic is sexual and reproductive health and consequently, many are left at risk, anxious and unsure as to what to do when faced with a healthcare issue.

Planned Parenthood, the leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable healthcare for young people and the largest provider of sex education – has expanded its Telehealth service to ensure no person goes without the support they need during this time. 

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood said: “Sexual health needs don’t go away, even when our country is in crisis. Planned Parenthood is proud to redouble our efforts to make sure people can still access the care and information they need”.

By the end of April, in all 50 states, people will be able to access healthcare by phone or video, ensuring people can get the support and information they need without delay and oftentimes without needing to go to a health centre at all, reducing the likelihood of infection. 

Planned Parenthood have also developed new digital resources which provide medically accurate answers to the questions facing people right now as it pertains to sexual and reproductive wellbeing – such as what to do if birth control is about to expire or if it is stil possible to acces an abortion during the pandemic. 

Additionally, Planned Parenthood has added new information to Roo, its sexual health chatbot and to it’s chat/text programme so that people can still get the information they need about maintaining good health during the pandemic. 

‘We know this pandemic has increased barriers to health care for many of the communities we serve — at exactly the time when people need that care the most. Through Telehealth, Planned Parenthood is providing the high-quality care and information people need to stay safe and healthy, even as our everyday reality is rapidly changing.’

Dr Raegan Mcdonald Mosey, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood notes: ‘Planned Parenthood providers are proud to offer Telehealth services so that we can continue to provide health care to the patients who rely on us the most — including people of color, people with low-incomes, LGBTQ people, and immigrant communities’

To ensure that they can continue their work, Planned Parenthood needs donations which can be made through their website. You can also access up-to-date information on Telehealth services available at your local Planned Parenthood health centre and to make an appointment, visit plannedparenthood.org/telehealth.

By Ellen Jones

Categories
Equality

The Special Needs Network aims to change the lives of thousands of children and their families

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Special Needs Network, based in California, has mobilised to support disabled people and their families to access the support they need during this testing time.

 

The Network was founded in 2005 by Areva Martin after she struggled to access support for her autistic son. Realising the lack of support, particularly in underserved communities like the neighbourhood of South Los Angeles, Martin used her skills to form a Network to help parents like her advocate for their children and get the support they need.

 

The Special Needs Network provides resources and advocacy for disabled young people and their families. As a result of the pandemic, their services have increased drastically and the usual ways of working have had to be significantly adapted.

 

Areva Martin, founder and president of the Special Needs Network says that ‘Since the Pandemic, we have developed a series of online programs from webinars to training classes to help relieve the stress of our constituents.’

 

Classes range from yoga to strength training, nutrition, advocacy training and cooking. In addition to this, they have also opened a pantry and developed a 24 hour hotline to provide support as and when it is needed. There is also a COVID-19 weekly talk show to keep the community up to date with breaking news, expert advice and information.

 

A large number of the families the Network supports have lost their jobs, are having to risk their health in ‘essential jobs’, live in food deserts and many are forced to rely on food banks or other assistance. or are struggling with the lack of disability-specific education and support services specifically available to them. 

 

You can watch The Special Report on Facebook Live on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. PST.

 

Sign up for updates, donate to help the Special Needs Network continue to help families with disabilities and those living in underserved communities.

By the Smiley Movement Team

Categories
Equality

From a grassroots organisation to a global nonprofit

During this pandemic, when many are being told to ‘shelter in place’, the importance of having a safe home has never been more obvious. 

Habitat for Humanity – which has grown from a grassroots organisation to a global nonprofit operating in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries worldwide – is working to ensure that everyone has a safe place to live. Whether it be due to financial inequality, environmental disaster or a lack of community support, Habitat for Humanity mobilises to ensure that people receive the support they desperately need. By working with people to solve their unique issues and navigating their specific circumstances, the nonprofit helps provide whatever resources are needed to ensure everyone has access to a safe home. 

The nonprofit’s fourth annual Home is the Key Campaign focuses on how communities are able to survive and thrive during and after the pandemic. Beginning in April, three corporate partners—At Home, the home décor store, State Farm and U.S. Bank—are partnering with Habitat for Humanity to address the challenges posed by COVID-19, not just in this moment, but also when it comes to the long-term repercussions on already vulnerable communities. COVID-19 has demonstrated not only is housing a social issue, but it is also a matter of public health. 

Jonathan Reckford, CEO, says that ‘At Habitat for Humanity, we know that having a safe and decent place to call home can make all the difference in times of crisis. As many of us shelter in our homes during this pandemic, our hearts are with those who don’t have a decent or safe place to live.’

‘Through Home is the Key, we’re reminded how critical home is to the safety and security of our families. We thank our partners who are helping us to make sure that when the time is right, Habitat for Humanity will stand ready to once again accelerate our efforts with renewed energy and commitment.”

There are lots of ways to support Habitat for Humanity through donations of both money and stock, volunteering and getting involved on social media. 

You can join the campaign by sharing their support using #HomeIsTheKey on social media.

By Ellen Jones

Categories
Equality

Making sure nobody in the US goes hungry

In the US, 1 in 9 people go hungry, including 1 in 7 children. Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the country has been mobilising to help make sure no one goes hungry, a task that has become even more important during the pandemic. Usually, the network helps to support more than 40 million people each year through food banks, food pantries and meal programmes. 

However, as a result of the pandemic, they have seen both an increase in service demand and a decrease in the stock available. Almost 100% of food banks in the Feeding America network have had an increase in the number of people they serve during the pandemic and yet nearly 60% are facing reduced inventory levels amidst the rising demand. 

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, said ‘“Last year USDA reported that 37 million people face hunger in America and the Feeding America network of food banks distributed 4.2 billion meals” 

‘This year, the COVID-19 crisis is driving more of our neighbours into food insecurity and putting a strain on food banks to provide more meals. Never has the charitable food system faced such tremendous challenge, and we need all the resources we can get to help our neighbours during this terrible time.’ 

Between March 31 and April 1, Feeding America found that 95% of food banks reported higher operational expenses and 37% had an immediate critical funding shortfall. 

Feeding America launched a COVID-19 Response Fund which so far has distributed $112.4 million and over 94 million pounds of food to food banks throughout the network, helping to provide over 79 million meals.  

However, an estimated $1.4 billion in additional resources will be needed over the next six months to ensure their work supporting vulnerable people can continue. This is a 30% increase to the baseline six-month operating costs of 200 member food banks across the US. 

There are many ways the public can support Feeding America, including through donations and volunteering. 67% of food banks currently need and are accepting volunteers to help support with the increased demand. 

You can find out more about the emergency fund and how to support Feeding American at their website.

By Ellen Jones

Categories
Culture

Education has changed overnight

During the pandemic, when over 1.5 million children’s education has been disrupted, The Raspberry Pi Foundation has stepped in to make computing accessible for as many people as possible. 

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a global organisation that enables young people to be creators of technology, training them with the world’s largest network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs. The Foundation also trains educators to teach computing in the classroom environment, but are most well-known for creating one of the world’s most affordable computers – The Raspberry Pi – which costs around 35 US dollars.

Matt Richardson, Executive Director of the US-based team tells us that ‘Education has changed basically overnight’ and that in light of this, the Foundation has adapted how it operates in order to support young people across the world. 

‘We launched Digital Making at Home, a weekly content series to inspire and motivate young people to learn how to code and create with technology. Every week, we establish a theme and release new instructional videos for young people to code along with.’ 

The series is designed for anyone aged 7-17 working independently or with parents, carers or siblings. The project resources are available in up to 29 languages, allowing as many young people as possible to be involved. 

The Foundation is also working to help educators deliver remote virtual sessions, supporting volunteers to run virtual coding clubs and exploring ways to make the Raspberry Pi even more affordable and accessible. 

’Young people all over the world have had a massive disruption to their routines and ways of learning. It’s with this context in mind that the Raspberry Pi Foundation team has worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to make sure we have an impact at a time when it’s needed more than ever.’ 

You can find out more about how the Rasberry Pi Foundation is supporting its community during its time here and kids can explore the Digital Making At Home series here.

 

 

By Ellen Jones

Categories
Equality

Thousands of meals for the local community

Since the launch of their Crowdfunder campaign on March 20th, over £6000 has been raised for the Edinburgh Food For Good Coalition as local organisations came together to support those in need throughout the city. 

Nourish Scotland, Edinburgh Food Festival, Edinburgh Food Social, Nourishing Change and Slow Food Scotland have joined forces to ensure that nobody goes hungry as a result of the coronavirus. This week alone, the Food for Good Collective in Edinburgh cooked 3,275 meals, which were distributed via a number of partner organisations, as well as through decentralised local drop-offs with community organisers and emergency door-to-door deliveries. 

With a target of £10,000, donations have been made by hundreds of supporters, with only a few days left to reach the target.

21 different dishes have been prepared in three kitchens by volunteers, with both international dishes and Scottish favourites on the menu, including 100 portions of haggis, 200 chicken pieces, 150 portions of leek and potato soup and 150 portions of dahl. 

Steve Brown, Head of Food at Edinburgh Food Social said “We have been blown away by the support by businesses and individuals in the Edinburgh community, proving that no one should feel isolated from good, wholesome food.’

‘Even in times of global challenge, we maintain that no one should fall through the cracks, good food should be available to all, no one should feel isolated from nourishment. We are supporting many organisations which have been under pressure to provide healthy food to people in isolation. Just £20 could feed a family of four in need of our services for a whole week.’ 

To support the Food for Good coalition, people are being encouraged to donate to the organisation through its Crowd Funder page. Donations will be used to help buy vital cleaning supplies, procure ingredients and to support volunteers to cook and distribute the food to those that need it. Businesses throughout Edinburgh are also being encouraged to donate surplus food to the group, which will be put into meals for those in need. 

Steve encourages anyone who is able to support the fundraising campaign to make sure people do not go hungry: ‘Please visit our Crowdfunder page if you are able to make a donation, raising our goal of £10,000 would mean we can continue to be making and distributing meals to those in need.

 

By Ellen Jones

 

Categories
Wellbeing

This illustrator created a space for community and creativity

During this pandemic, many people are taking up new creative hobbies to help improve their wellbeing and mental health. In light of this, The Lonely Art Club, a digital initiative, has been founded to help provide a space for community and creativity for people throughout the world. 

Each Monday, a different artist posts a prompt to which the community members create responses to throughout the week, using any medium they would like. Contributors range from professional artists to people who have never done anything creative before in their life and all mediums are welcomed.  

The art club is the idea of Natalie Byrne, London-based illustrator and author of the book Period and host of the TLC (The Loneliness Collaboration) podcast.

Speaking to Natalie, she said that ‘I had been thinking about creating an art club for a long, long time and this opportunity with the self-isolation really made me get it going.’

The idea for the art club is intentionally simple, to allow as many people to get involved as possible. 

‘There are no wrong answers in the art work. It’s for everyone and anyone to get involved.’ So far, submissions have included illustrations, graphic design, painting, digital artwork and poetry. Artworks are shared on the community page, providing a platform for creatives at any stage in their career to get their work seen by more people from across the world. 

‘I hope that it will bring people together, give people an activity to do and even if people don’t get involved, the words chosen are designed to be really positive so even scrolling through the artworks might help make things a little easier’. 

‘If you need a little escapism, a little distraction, an excuse to get involved in something creative, we would love to see you there’.

You can find out more about The Lonely Art Club page on their Instagram and get involved with any of the weekly creative challenges.

 

By Ellen Jones

Categories
Culture

Organisations coming together to help the community

Feeding Gainsborough is an alliance of three local organisations: Eudaimonia, a registered charity running Affordable Foods, Bread and Roses Community Interest Company who operate a Community Pantry and Social Lounge, and Disability Network West Lindsey who supports disabled people across the district. 

When the crisis hit it became apparent that, not only would those already supported by these organisations need more support, but there would be an even greater demand for services from new people whose lives the crisis had impacted.

Feeding Gainsborough established two distribution points for food and household goods, and set up an online referral system as well as landline and mobile points. Whilst one site supports families referred via online and telephone, the other site supports families identified by schools, social services and other organisations as being particularly vulnerable. 

After just two weeks, the family network service has supported over 80 vulnerable families, a total of nearly 260 people every day. Whilst the other site supports just over 240 families, amounting to 750 people per week. Every day, service demand increases by twenty to thirty families all needing essential services provided by the organisation. 

These services include a weekly call to those isolated and vulnerable being operated by Think 2 Speak, a local group who offer specialist one to one and group support. There is also pharmacy medication collection and delivery available. Lastly, there is a food and household good service offering free food for those in financial difficulty. Donation options for those who wish to pay a contribution, and a shopping service for those who are able to and want to pay for their food. All are picked and delivered by a team of community volunteers who are trained and have a DBS check in place. 

To date they have been able to support all over the district, and further afield when no services are available. The majority of the people they support are aged individuals self-isolating alone or in couples, disabled people and their families for whom there are no community services available, families facing the economic impact of the crisis and homeless people who have been housed but have no income for food.

‘The main cost is in identifying and securing goods which so far has cost £550 per week and continues to rise.’ 

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so through PayPal: steve@eudaimoinia-hmk.com

 

By Ellen Jones

Categories
Culture

This social enterprise is training the next generation of innovators through the pandemic

In light of the global pandemic, InnovateHer has launched a coaching and technology programme for girls aged 13-16 which will help train the next generation of innovators, as well as reduce isolation for girls throughout the lockdown.

Although the Coronavirus pandemic forced the Liverpool-based social enterprise which works to eradicate gender inequality in tech, to close its doors, the new InnovateHer online platform enables young girls to continue to learn and be inspired to pursue careers in technology as well as connect them with like-minded girls in their communities.

The six week ‘Foundation in Tech for Good’ course provides girls with an opportunity to continue to learn tech skills safely whilst in isolation. Girls are given the task of solving real-world problems related to the current global pandemic using technology. The programme contains content led by inspiring industry mentors, accessing coaching sessions online each week as part of a cohort of like-minded girls.

Co-founder Chelsea Slater says that ‘We’ve always wanted to launch our educational offer online as it enables us to extend our reach to those living outside of the North West. With everyone being told to stay at home now we felt we needed to do something positive to support girls in isolation, so it felt like the right time to develop an online course.’

Developed in collaboration with industry partners, learners will be guided by a coach through weekly challenges, giving them an opportunity to develop new skills such as design, prototyping, teamwork and pitching. Girls will build their confidence and self-belief through connecting with industry role models and other like-minded girls. 

Students will enter their tech solutions into a competition, to be in with a chance of winning work experience at one of InnovateHer’s member organisations, which includes organisations such as SONY, Very group, Liverpool Football Club, The Co-op, Code Computer Love and many more.

Chris Tomlinson, CEO of the Co-Op Academies Trust – who are sponsoring four female students from Co-op Academic Bebington to participate in the first online cohort – notes that ‘The tech industry was facing a significant challenge prior to the lockdown in encouraging young female students to consider a career in technology. Putting InnovateHer’s fantastic programmes online will hopefully encourage many more to get involved.’

InnovateHer are also exploring partnerships to provide devices to those girls who may not currently be able to access the course from home, and providing some free places to those who cannot afford to pay for the programme. 

Companies who want to help create more inclusive and equitable workplaces are also able to directly support the work of InnovateHer through membership, directly supporting their work through paid subscription. 

To find out more about taking part or enquire about partnerships, you can visit www.innovateher.co.uk

 

By Ellen Jones