Mayoral candidates must support cancer sufferers

Sarifa Patel and Kris Chadwick, Macmillan Cancer campaigners, write:

Hundreds of Londoners have signed an open letter urging London mayoral candidates to become Cancer Champions, once elected.

We are asking the candidates to pledge to stand up right now and support the 210,000 people living with cancer in the capital who need support now more than ever.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, thousands of vital cancer treatments, appointments and care were postponed or cancelled. Since the start of the pandemic, 15 per cent fewer people in London have started cancer treatment compared to the year before.

Macmillan Cancer Support hears every day from people in desperate need of help. People still can’t get the timely support they need and the emotional impact of the outbreak is continuing to take its toll on people already struggling.

The mayor of London can be the voice of people living with cancer and work with Macmillan to offer vital support. So, we are asking the candidates to agree, if they are elected, to:

  1. Work with Macmillan to make sure everyone knows how to get cancer support.
  2. Meet people living with cancer from London within the first 100 days of getting elected.
  3. Take part in World’s Biggest Coffee Morning this September to help raise funds for people living with cancer.

We think cancer matters. Do you?

Helping children cope after Covid

Hackney Gazette: Have fun on NSPCC's Number DayHave fun on NSPCC's Number Day (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

Jenna Lloyd, schools service manager, NSPCC London & South East, writes:

Children’s lives have been turned upside down due to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, with many spending extended periods of time out of school.

The NSPCC’s Childline service has heard from thousands of children who have found this time really challenging. Some have felt overwhelmed with home-schooling, whilst others have missed their friends and family, and many have seen their mental health deteriorate.

To help us be here for children and young people as lockdown restrictions ease, and to remind them how Childline can support them, we are encouraging schools across the country to get involved in the NSPCC’s Number Day on Friday May 7.

Primary and secondary schools can sign up for the annual fundraising day to enjoy maths games and challenges. This year, we’ve created a new game called Buddy’s Key Challenge where pupils can complete maths puzzles to create a key that can unlock a door so the charity’s mascot Buddy can visit their school. There are different activities for all age groups and teachers will be provided with relevant resources.

The money raised will help the NSPCC in its mission to make 2021 a better year for children.

  • To sign up, visit the NSPCC’s website, search for Number Day and fill in your school’s details using the registration form.

Everyone needs a brighter future

Sian Berry, Green candidate for mayor of London, writes:

Londoners need more small sites for new homes, greens spaces and community facilities, but London’s current planning policies are top down and focused only on big developments. This approach isn’t working. I want to bring bottom-up leadership to planning. As the first Green mayor of London I will set up a People’s Land Commission so that local people in every part of London are supported and empowered to map their areas and put forward ideas for underused land.

I will back their plans by finding funding and support to get what each area needs, whether that’s new playgrounds, green spaces, community centres, space for small businesses or new homes. And I will push the government for a ‘community right to buy’ in law, like they have in Scotland.

In my London, the people will plan the future of our city, bringing the fresh thinking we need more than ever as we plan for the recovery and build more resilience into our communities for a brighter future.

Make a Will and support charity

Samia Khatun, legacy executive, St John’s Hospice, writes:

If your readers are among the 57 per cent who have not made a Will yet, they might like to know St John’s Hospice is holding its annual Make a Will Fortnight event which will run until Sunday, May 2.

We are delighted to announce we have six local solicitors taking part who will write a simple Will for free. We are hoping that people who use this service will consider making a donation to St John’s Hospice in lieu of the solicitor’s fee – the suggested amount is £200 for an individual simple Will.

Our hospice is the only independent charity hospice serving eight boroughs across central and north west London and provides free palliative care to around 4,000 patients living with life-limiting or terminal illnesses. Our revenues have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and we rely on fundraising events like Make a Will Fortnight, now in its sixth year, to fund the ongoing delivery of exemplary care that we provide for free.

And if you are making a Will, would you consider leaving a legacy to St John’s Hospice? We are always extremely grateful and honoured when someone leaves us a legacy, especially when it is someone that has benefitted from many of our services.

Readers can find out more about the Make a Will Fortnight, and details of the six solicitors involved, by visiting our website and click on our Events section. Or, to discuss the event or leaving a legacy, please contact me by email or call 07436 253158.

To enable social distancing, the solicitors will take instructions over the phone or via email. There is also the choice of Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom.

How you can help abandoned pets

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 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.