Charity shops open, Covid rules, park toilets and child exploitation

Civil Servant Nadine Smith looks at a dress and a tie donated by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his

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

Welcoming back customers again

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.


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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.

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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.

Stick to rules to keep virus at bay

Dr Leonard Restall B Ed, M Ed (Hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes: 

The solemn warning was given by the commissioning director for education on Barking and Dagenham Council, Jane Hargreaves, regarding the possible complacency likely to occur because of the easing of lockdown and with improvement in the number of cases being recorded (Post). 

This warning comes because of the numbers of students likely to be in close contact with each other, despite social distancing being required.

The easing of lockdown does not allow an easing of the rules for good protection against Covid.
It is in this area of schools that greater vigilance is needed.

Viruses have no respect for persons of educational ability when rules for prevention and safety are treated complacently and thus allow Covid to cause havoc. 

Within seven days of March 30, the statistics show that the case rate was as high as 68 per 100,000, the highest in the London area.

In the week beginning March 15, 47 pupils and nine teachers tested positive, whereas before this, there were 18 pupils and three teachers testing positive. 

An indication of complacency? Yes, complacency or a feeling of smugness from the previous low figures may have caused personal relaxation of the rules.

Schools are not immune from it, but they can be champions to show that by diligently following the rules, they are keeping the virus at bay.

There needs to be a reemphasis upon strictly following the rules to prevent infection and drive complacency away so that there will be a careful following of the rules, as they would be in following other rules within their school.

Now it is up to schools to not only be the standard but to set the standard for the local district.

Why are toilets closed? 

St Chad's Park. Picture: Ken Mears

St Chad's Park. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

D Sullivan, Chadwell Heath, full address supplied, writes:

For many months now the toilets in St Chad’s Park have not been opened to the public.

We pay council tax for such facilities.

As a regular walker in the park, I have witnessed people urinating publicly on more than one occasion.

Redbridge park toilets have been open for months. If neighbouring councils, can do it – why not Barking and Dagenham?

Shame on our local council.

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.

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.

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.

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.

To find out more and book your place, visit bluecross.org.uk/rescuerun


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