Letters to the editor – April 30, 2021

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Shop better to help our planet


Glasgow hosts the UN COP26 event this November and this is a great chance to showcase some of the world leading efforts Scotland is making to combat climate change.

In the lead up to this many groups and organisations are already working hard to make sure their voices are heard. As a member of the COP26 leadership team, I have already met with many of these groups to hear their views and listen to the requests they have of world leaders. One thing we all have in common is that we must take action and every country around the globe must work together to do this.

Grassroots support is so important and it’s very often the smaller changes we make to our lives that will make all the difference.

I have always been a fan of second-hand clothes and thanks to charity shops across Argyll and Bute most of the clothes I wear are second hand. It was great to be involved in Oxfam’s Second Hand September launch event and to see pre-owned clothing losing the stigma it once had, to become a statement of sustainability instead.

That’s why I’m pleased to be asked to back the #BuyBetter campaign which launched recently. This has evolved from Second Hand September and aims to raise awareness of the impact of throwaway or ‘fast’ fashion. People are also growing increasingly aware of the negative effects of unsustainable consumption more generally, including food and plastic waste.

The pandemic has made things more difficult, but as restrictions ease it’s more important than ever that we support our local shops, especially independent retailers, and shop on our own high streets, buying from charity shops where we can. Just as governments need to commit to leading the way in tackling climate change, it’s important we all do what we can as well.

As part of that I’m pleased to see Scotland-based organisation Big Dreams, Little Footprints launch the #PollutionIsPants social media campaign celebrating second-hand/vintage/swapped/rented clothes and the need to keep clothes out of landfill.

This is a great fun initiative that raises awareness of the range and quality of second-hand clothes and other items available.

Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute

Spring into action for Age Scotland

The national charity for older people is encouraging people to get moving every day next month as part of a new fundraising activity challenge.

Throughout May, Age Scotland is asking people across the country to Spring into Action to help support older people in Scotland.

Fundraisers can take part however they choose, but the most important thing is to make sure they are active every day.

All funds raised by Spring into Action participants will go towards Age Scotland’s vital services, including the national friendship line, which offers a place older people can turn to if they are in need of support, comfort and reassurance or even just missing a friendly voice.

Running and walking events have always been a great way to help raise vital funds and, even with many regular events unfortunately cancelled over the past year, we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown by fundraisers still going above and beyond.

We hope to see as many people as possible taking up our challenge to Spring into Action this May. With nights getting lighter and better weather on the horizon, this is a great excuse to get out and about and support a worthy cause at the same time.

Whether you run one mile, walk five, or design your own challenge, your fundraising efforts will be making a real difference for older people in Scotland.

The money you raise will fund vital services like our friendship line. Every week we receive hundreds of calls from older people looking for support. Many are lonely and isolated and just want to hear a friendly voice. We listen, provide comfort and friendship and let them know someone cares.

No one should feel like they have no one to turn to. To help us be there for every older person who needs us, sign up to the challenge today.

Sign up to Age Scotland’s Spring into Action challenge or find further information at www.age.scot/SpringIntoAction

Michelle Supple, director of charity services, Age Scotland

Design a stamp for heroes


I hope parents will encourage their children to take part in Royal Mail’s stamp design competition, to honour the heroes of the pandemic.

The competition is open to children aged between four and 14. Eight designs will be chosen to become stamps which will be on sale across the UK.

Children may choose to illustrate frontline workers in health or social care. They may want to celebrate other key workers who have kept the country going, such as refuse collectors, cleaners, teachers, supermarket workers, public transport staff, delivery drivers or, indeed, postmen and postwomen. Or they might highlight the volunteers who have helped in their local communities or raised money for charity, such as the late Captain Sir Tom Moore.

The competition is open until Friday May 28. A special panel of judges will select the winners. As with all special stamps, the final eight designs will be sent to the Queen before they can be printed and issued as stamps. The winners will be announced in the autumn.

We cannot wait to see who children choose to honour on their stamp. The past year has been very difficult for everyone, so let’s show the heroes of the pandemic just how much we appreciate what they have done for us.

Full details can be found at www.royalmail.com/stampcompetition

David Gold, Royal Mail director of external affairs and policy