Letters to the editor – October 8, 2021

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Feeding the hungry with porridge


It’s World Porridge Day on Sunday October 10 – and while for some this might conjure up images of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, or those famous old porridge adverts, there’s also a more important meaning to this day; one that can, quite literally, change lives.

Mary’s Meals feeds more than two million children in 19 countries around the world every school day.

In the countries where the charity works, including Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, children are normally served steaming mugs of porridge, known locally as likuni phala, enriched with vitamins to help them learn and grow.

Providing a daily meal in a place of education is helping even the most vulnerable children to attend school and concentrate in lessons, giving them the freedom to learn and fulfil their potential.

And the average global cost to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year is just £15.90.

Your readers can learn more about the work of this charity, and how a mug of porridge is helping to transform young lives, at marysmeals.org.uk

Sophie Thompson, actor and former winner of Celebrity MasterChef


Action needed to ease poverty


Challenge Poverty Week, co-ordinated by the Poverty Alliance and supported by organisations from every major sector in Scotland - takes place this week at a time of growing hardship across Scotland.

From Monday October 4 until Sunday October 10, hundreds of organisations from across Scotland have come together to raise their voices for solutions to the rising tide of poverty.

Even before the pandemic, one in four children were growing up in the trap of poverty.

Now, with the looming £20 Universal Credit cut, the end of furlough, the lifting of the energy price cap, and rising food prices, many more face being swept into poverty and hardship.

Those organisations participating in Challenge Poverty Week – which include children’s charities, third-sector organisations, trade unions, schools, local authorities, football clubs, environmental organisations and many more – are using the week to say that these levels of hardship are not in line with our shared values of compassion and justice as a society.

Now is the time for all levels of government to take the action required to loosen the grip of poverty on people’s lives.

Challenge Poverty Week is an opportunity for organisations and individuals to raise their voices in support of the solutions to poverty, including the immediate doubling of the Scottish Child Payment and the extension of free bus travel to those on low-income benefits and all under 25s.

Reversing the UK Government’s decision to cut Universal Credit will be a call that organisations across Scotland are supporting.

It is a decision that highlights that tackling poverty is about political choices: we need to make better choices now if we are to prevent more people being swept into poverty.

Next month, at COP26, the world will be looking to Scotland for leadership in the fight against the climate crisis.

We can show leadership in our efforts to end poverty too: that’s why we’re calling on the Scottish and the UK Governments to redesign our economy so we can all be part of a more just and greener Scotland.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance

Wear it pink for cancer care


Wear it pink is one of the UK’s biggest fundraising events.

Each year thousands of people across the UK wear pink and fundraise for Breast Cancer Now. 2021 is its 20th year, with more than £36 million raised since 2002.

However you wear it pink this October, you can help to make sure that our life-saving research and life-changing care continues.

From pulling on something pink at home, to raising money with a pink event, your support will mean we can continue to be here for anyone affected by breast cancer.

Wear it pink will take place on Friday October 22 2021, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Since March 2020, the doors to hundreds of our community support events have had to close and our researchers were kept out of their labs for 100 days or more.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on Breast Cancer Now’s ability to deliver the progress and support that people affected by breast cancer rely on us for now more than ever.

Breast cancer hasn’t stopped for the pandemic. Over the past year people have been diagnosed with the disease at a time when everything from treatment to screenings have been disrupted, making the support that we provide, and the hope our research generates, a vital lifeline.

That’s why we’ve only become more determined to make sure we’re there to support people when they need us.

And more determined to make the breakthroughs in research that will continue to drive forward progress. People affected by breast cancer need us – and they need you too.

It’s never been more important to wear it pink on Friday October 22.

Together we can wear pink, raise money and help make life-changing breast cancer research and care happen.

Summer Kendrick, wear it pink manager, Breast Cancer Now