Readers’ letters

What our readers have been writing about this week.

Sir, – Dairy farmers have long blamed badgers for spreading bovine tuberculosis, yet all the while keeping cows incarcerated for much, or even all, of their productive lives inside the filth and squalor of a factory farm shed. Those animals who do not succumb to one of the many illnesses and conditions found inside these disease factories will be sent to slaughter when their productivity declines. Their young, an unwanted by-product of milk production, are likely to meet a similar fate.

The public has spoken vociferously against badger culls through a number of consultations, and still Defra pays no attention. The clamour from dairy farmers has drowned out all rational argument. We are, therefore, asking all people who care about badgers now to put their money where their hearts are and boycott milk. By choosing dairy-free alternatives, compassionate people can help end the misery of dairy cows and at the same time send a strong message to dairy farmers: don’t blame badgers for your own welfare failings. Milk-Free information packs are available free of charge from info@animalaid.co.uk or 01732 364546. – Yours etc.,

KATE FOWLER

Animal Aid

The Old Chapel

Bradford Street

Tonbridge

Kent TN9 1AW

Breaks for disabled and carers

Sir, – These are hard times and we’re all making cuts to our budgets, such as things like holidays. For most of us, a break is something we look forward too, but could just as well do without.

But what if you were a virtual prisoner in your own home due to a disability, or looking after a loved one who needs round the clock care? For people like these, a regular break from the relentless daily routine is not a luxury, but an absolute necessity.

Yet disabled people are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society. Even if they could find a way to take a break, a great many wouldn’t be able to afford one. Without regular respite from their daily struggle, they face a bleak future of physical and social isolation, depression and despair.

I work for a charity called Vitalise and we know only too well the value of regular respite breaks. The breaks that disabled people and carers take at our accessible centres around the UK enable them to rediscover the joy of living and restore hope and happiness in their lives. We understand the pressures they face, which is why we offer discretionary funding for people in desperate need of respite, but who can’t secure the funding to take a break with us.

If you or anyone you know is in this predicament, please remember that charities like Vitalise can help with vital financial support. We never want to see anyone denied the chance to take an essential break for financial reasons. To find out about our discretionary funding, simply call 0845 345 1972 or visit www.vitalise.org.uk – Yours etc.,

COLIN BROOK

Vitalise

Money skills

Sir, – As a mum with grown-up kids, I remember only too well how quickly the back-to-school costs add up. New uniforms, gym kits, and endless school supplies are just the start. Once they leave school, it becomes increasingly difficult for young people to be financially independent, as they face a tough job market and the rising costs of education.

Action for Children is providing free money management courses to young people aged 16-24 through their Barclays Money Skills partnership. As part of this they have created some handy money saving tips. I urge all readers to visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/backtoschool for money saving tips and encourage young people to get their finances on track. This help can go a long way to set them up for the term. – Yours etc.,

LYNDA BELLINGHAM

Host of ITV1’s Loose Women and Calendar Girls star

KSC club bookings

Sir, – Anyone who has made a booking with the Knights of St. Columba Club in Moodiesburn up until December 2012, please contact us urgently on 01236 874953 no later than Friday, September 16, 2011 or you may have lost your booking.

This does not affect anyone who has already confirmed their booking with us.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. – Yours, etc.,

KSC CLUB

Moodiesburn

Mini Pots of Care

Sir, – There are just over four weeks to go for nurseries, primary schools and youth groups in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire to sign up for Marie Curie Cancer Care’s Mini Pots of Care fundraising activity.

Mini Pots of Care is a free creative and educational project for three to 11 year olds where children receive a pot and daffodil bulb to plant in the autumn. They care for their plant throughout the winter months and then in the spring they celebrate their daffodils in bloom by holding a Mini Pots of Care Day where they have fun painting their pots, learning about the work of Marie Curie Cancer Care and fundraising for the charity.

Register your school or group to take part by calling 08700 340 040 or visiting www.mariecurie.org.uk/minipotsofcare by October 7, 2011.

Mini Pots of Care is supported by premium express delivery company City Link, who deliver the kits to schools and groups free of charge.

All money raised from the activity will help Marie Curie Nurses to provide more free care to terminally ill people in their own homes. – Yours etc.,

EMMA HUTTON

Marie Curie Cancer Care

Glasgow, Lanarkshire & Dunbartonshire

A bleak warning

Sir, – I read with serious concern the bleak warning that unemployment may rise later this year, following a recent downward trend. It is important that those who are at risk heed this caution and plan as well as they can for the unfortunate impact this might have them, in the form of a decrease in working hours, a change in salary or, at worse, job loss.

People should be aware, for example, of how a change in employment status may affect their benefits entitlement. The Turn2us website has a free benefits checker that will show you what you might be entitled to if your current situation changes – www.turn2us.org.uk. The website also has a grants search database giving access to 3500 charitable funds, including those giving grants to fund re-training, a return into education or to help pay bills and living expenses.

We know that people are often reluctant to turn to charities or claim benefits, even when times are tough, but we hope people are able to see past the perceived stigma and access the help available. It isn’t just ‘vulnerable’ households who are being hit hard by the current economic climate, but families who never, ever expected to face financial difficulty are struggling to make ends meet too. I hope everyone takes note of today’s warning and prepares for all eventualities. – Yours etc.,

ALISON TAYLOR

Director of Turn2us