Child exploitation, charity shops, run for pets and global health

Barnardo’s London Director Lynn Gradwell outside the charity’s regional office in Chillingworth Road

Barnardo’s London Director Lynn Gradwell - Credit: Barnardo's

Tooklkit tackling child exploitation

Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London, writes:

The past few weeks and months have been incredibly difficult for businesses in the hospitality sector, which have been forced to shut their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We all know the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants has had a dreadful economic impact on the livelihoods of so many people, so the return of London’s night-time economy is to be welcomed by all who work and live in this great city.

But at Barnardo’s we know from our long expertise as the UK’s largest children’s charity that there is another side to the bustling fun of London’s night-time economy; one sadly where those who seek to harm and exploit children and young people use the hours of darkness as a time to operate.

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That’s why Barnardo’s is raising awareness of its free Nightwatch training programme as night-time businesses seek to reopen.

A new toolkit will support the Nightwatch training to safeguard children and young people from exploitation by increasing awareness among businesses and services working in the night-time economy.

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The toolkit explains what child exploitation is, why businesses should care and what people should do if they have concerns that a child is being exploited.

It includes a helpful checklist for businesses including hotels, licenced venues and taxi drivers to ensure they are fully equipped and knowledgeable about how to spot the signs of exploitation and how to respond to prevent children from being harmed.

We are all too aware that child exploitation is under reported and using this toolkit could be the difference between someone coming to harm or receiving the help they need.

Barnardo’s has provided training to over 1,000 night-time workers in London, including the Met Police and Transport for London.

It has created a vital network of eyes and ears after dark that will help keep children and young people safe.

Welcoming back our customers

Charity shops like Sue Ryder have reopened

Charity shops like Sue Ryder have reopened - Credit: PA Images

Martin Wildsmith, director of retail, Sue Ryder, writes:

Sue Ryder was planning for the return of its charity shops on Monday, April 12, following announcements by national government about reopening non-essential shops.

Our shop teams are incredibly excited to soon be welcoming back customers into our shops.

The charity has been impacted heavily by the coronavirus outbreak as our shops have been closed for many months and for every week our shops have been closed, Sue Ryder has lost £500,000.

Throughout the past few weeks, we have been focussing on placing the safety of our customers, staff and volunteers at the heart of our reopening plans.

We will continue to restrict the number of people in our shops at any one time and encourage social distancing.

We will also be continuing with our enhanced shop cleaning and our hand gel stations will be available for our customers to use. In line with government rules, we would ask all our customers to wear face masks unless exempt.

We will be able to take donations once again as soon as our shops reopen, and whilst we really do need donated goods, especially any summer clothes your readers may be looking to donate, we are expecting a large influx of donations once we reopen. This means that there may be times when we are unable to accept donations.

We are incredibly grateful for the support and generosity of the local community.

It is thanks to their support that Sue Ryder has been able to continue providing compassionate and expert palliative, bereavement and neurological support to thousands of people and their families across the UK throughout the pandemic.

We look forward to welcoming back our customers and donors, old and new, and we would like to thank them all in advance for their patience and understanding as we try our best to navigate the challenging environment that we find ourselves operating in.

Running for pets in need

Michaela Strachan, ambassador, Blue Cross, writes:

It’s National Pet Month and I’m urging animal lovers to take part in the Blue Cross Rescue Run to help the charity care for pets in need.

Complete 26.2 miles between and May 1 and 31 however you like – hop, skip, jump, walk or run, you can even take part with your dog. 

Every penny raised will go towards helping the thousands of homeless, abandoned, sick and injured pets the charity takes in each year and each participant receives a special medal when they have completed their virtual marathon.

Healthcare across the globe

Cllr Khaled Noor, chair, Muslim Professionals Forum, writes:

Richer countries have better healthcare systems, and they are able to buy and deliver vaccination programmes more quickly. 

We need a global health care initiative that will ensure that everyone on the planet can be vaccinated against Covid-19.

This should develop into a global programme to improve healthcare for all. 

Given what we have achieved so quickly in the fight against Covid by acting together, it should be possible to come out of the pandemic with better healthcare across the globe.

We just need the political will to do it.

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