Letters to the editor – February 5, 2021

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Check please before sledging

Sir,

Could we please make folk aware that enjoying the snow and sledging has a more serious side.

In one of our fields where there were young sheep, folk assumed the field was empty and enjoyed some sledging time during recent snowfall. In fact, there were sheep in the field which were panicked and scattered into the wood.

After a couple of hours searching afterwards, we found one young sheep dead.

Please do not assume there are no stock in fields even if at first you cannot see them. It is always best to check at a farm where it is safe to sledge – please do this.

Dee and Fergus Lyon, Fernoch Farm, Lochgilphead

Halt TSB branch closures

Sir,

The banking regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), should stop TSB closing its branches in Helensburgh, Dunoon, Rothesay, Lochgilphead and Campbeltown.

These closures will leave only the Oban branch open in Argyll and Bute. Many TSB customers will have a very long journey to reach their nearest branch. Not everybody can use internet banking.

The FCA has already pointed out that during the Covid pandemic it will be hard for banks to reach their customers and engage effectively with them on closure proposals.

They also pointed out that customers may not be able to get to a bank to make the necessary preparations before the closure, such as transferring to another bank.

Instead of just pointing out these difficulties, the FCA should step in and tell TSB not to go ahead with these closures.

Leaving only one TSB branch open in Argyll and Bute is unacceptable.

Councillor Alan Reid, Cowal ward

Getting older in Scotland

Sir,

After an exceptionally challenging year for older people, Age Scotland is seeking their views in the first comprehensive survey of what it is like to grow older in Scotland.

The Big Survey explores all areas of life for older people including health and wellbeing, housing, media representation and the impact of Covid-19.

We hope to gain a better insight into what older people think, experience and care about. Survey responses will help to prioritise future campaigns and shape policy.

Older people were asked to shield, the overwhelming majority of deaths took place among the over 75s and care home residents faced months of separation from family and friends.

Lockdown has contributed to soaring levels of loneliness and the absence of regular exercise activities and sports has had an impact on physical fitness.

We are pleased to be launching The Big Survey at such an opportune time. This has been a tumultuous time for older people and undoubtedly the past 12 months have had a profound impact across society.

We want to hear how older people’s lives have been affected by Covid, what their expectations are now, how they want to live and what their requirements are for enjoying a fulfilling and happy later life.

I would urge as many older people as possible to take part. Each and every response will be considered and they will help shape our policies and our work in the coming years.

So please take the time to share your views and help us be there to support older people throughout Scotland in ways that make a real difference.

Visit www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland to find out more about The Big Survey.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Brian Sloan, chief executive, Age Scotland

Consider fostering in pandemic

Sir,

Barnardo’s Scotland foster carers look after children across the west of Scotland, giving them the best chance to have a happier and positive future.

But the charity is concerned that the pandemic could lead to a sharp increase in requests to the charity for foster care and is asking for more potential carers in Argyll and Bute to come forward.

The pandemic and lockdowns have increased pressure on vulnerable families, with job losses, deepening poverty and worsening mental health which could all lead to family breakdown.

Fostering is an exceptional job.

We are looking for people who can do a lot of juggling between work, care and home schooling under lockdown. We need people who have a real understanding of the process of a child’s development, the impact of trauma in their lives, people with a sense of fun and those who really enjoy children’s company. They need to be able to make that commitment to helping a child settle for a set period of time.

It’s more important than ever for people to consider becoming foster carers to ensure the right loving families are available in the right location when children need them. For anyone who is thinking about fostering, it is totally worth it. These children need you and if you have space to love, please consider it.

Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering West is asking people over 21, who have a spare room and the time and commitment to support a child, to get in touch and consider fostering.

Comprehensive training and support is offered to our foster carers, including extensive support throughout the application process, intensive induction and regular ongoing training and one to ones, as well as dedicated out-of-hours access to a social worker and a generous financial fee.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer and really making a difference to a child’s life we’re here to help, call 0800 0277 280 or visit the www.barnardos.org.uk/foster/glasgow website.

Sue Brunton, assistant director for Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering