Letter: Charity and nursing staff need your support

Polly Caset

A King's Ely pupil has accepted her offer from the Royal College of Music to study both the French Horn and the Recorder. The Royal College of Music Junior Department (RCMJD) rarely offers students ‘joint first study’, so Polly Casey, who is in Year 9 at King’s Ely Senior, has quite a busy schedule ahead of her when she starts to visit the RCM every Saturday, starting in September. - Credit: King's Ely

Charity needs your support

Following a positive level of footfall and donations, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) is now launching a campaign to address the biggest challenge faced by its shops in their first month back trading. 

We need YOU has been set up to help EACH keep its 43 outlets across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Herts, Norfolk and Suffolk open and raising vital funds, after a year in which disruption caused by the pandemic has left the charity forecasting a deficit. 

With many of our shop volunteers currently unable to lend a hand owing to the effects of the pandemic, the number of hours’ support we ordinarily receive is down more than 50%.  

EACH shops are in urgent need of volunteers as hours of support normally received is down by over 50 per cent.

EACH shops are in urgent need of volunteers as hours of support normally received is down by over 50 per cent. This photo was taken pre-pandemic. - Credit: EAST ANGLIA'S CHILDREN'S HOSPICES

Our shops simply cannot run and raise the millions of pounds they normally do without the generosity of volunteers, and as more and more families exhausted from shielding reach out for support it’s never been so important.

EACH is not only calling on individuals to lend a hand, but also businesses looking to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility. 

EACH is offering taster shifts for anyone interested in lending a hand. 

These can be arranged by speaking to the manager of your nearest EACH shop, at www.each.org.uk/weneedyou or by contacting EACH volunteer services on 01223 205183 or volunteerservices@each.org.uk

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More information on becoming a retail volunteer and a full list of EACH shop locations, phone numbers and safety measures are available on the charity’s website. 


Poor taste 

I was disappointed to discover that the usually reliable Ely Standard had opted to advertise the 'National Stud tours' in last week's edition (April 29).

The grand national, and many other horse races throughout the UK, causes horses to lose their lives every year without failure, this year's victims being The Long Mile and Houx Gris.

Twenty nine horses have died at the Grand National alone since 2010, most from either broken legs or broken backs.

Horses are typically forced to begin training for events like the Grand National when they are only a year or two old, before their bones have finished growing and developing, making them more susceptible to injury or, as highlighted, death.

Horses in this event are forced to run faster and perform longer than they are naturally able to. Those lucky enough to survive frequently develop ulcers, bleed on their lungs, or suffer a heart attack.

The drugs, both legal and illegal, administered by trainers and veterinarians mask the pain they are feeling, however this only succeeds in papering over the cracks and how these animals are suffering.

Once retired, or for those that don't make it to the track, Thoroughbreds can expect to be sold for slaughter, and their flesh invariably ends up in either cat or dog food, or on the plates of humans in Europe and Asia. 

Merely because something has been around for a long time, or because it is viewed as heritage or part of a nation's culture, does not entitle it to be immune from criticism or called to change.

I understand that as a local publication you need to promote local events and vary what is being advertised to your readers.

However, as the horses of yesteryear can't ask you as their demise was too gruesome to humour, I ask that you bear in mind the needless suffering that might have been caused by a place you are actively encouraging people to visit.


Arts Society 

Our next lecture is taking place via zoom on Thursday May 20 at 7.30pm.

The lecture is being given by Ian Swankie and is entitled ‘ Great railway Stations: evoking the spirit of romance.’

Guests are welcome for a small charge of £5.

Please contact our membership secretary via smholgate@outlook.com if you are interested.


Rapid testing

Rapid testing is an important part of our fight against COVID. One in three people with the virus do not have the typical symptoms, but can still spread it to others.

A rapid lateral flow test is a quick and efficient way of determining if you have COVID.

It is specifically to be used if you do not have any symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). 

It provides the peace of mind and reassurance that you can meet others safely in line with Government guidance, and play your part in stopping the spread of the virus. 

A rapid lateral flow test can be done in the comfort of your own home or at a rapid lateral flow testing site. 

You can get a pack of seven rapid tests sent to your home, and if you take the tests, simply report the results online or at home. 

You can also collect up to two packs of seven rapid tests from a local pharmacy or test site, and report the results in the same way. 

For more information and to order your pack of tests visit: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.

To book a test in-person, visit: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/


Support nursing staff 

As we approach Nurses’ Day 2021 (May 12), the Royal College of Nursing Cambridgeshire Branch would like to say thank you to the public for your support and kind words over the last year.

It has helped nursing staff to keep going during challenging times when they felt they could carry on no longer.

But we’d now like to ask for your support as we fight for the very future of our profession and our ability to provide the best possible care to patients.

We are asking for fair pay for nursing – a decent pay rise which exceeds the 1% you have heard that the government believes the profession should receive.

You will hear government ministers say that nursing staff have had a pay rise – but staff are worse off now than they were 10 years ago after years of unfair pay freezes and below-inflation pay awards.

You will hear that the government cannot afford to give nursing staff a decent pay rise. The reality is they cannot afford not to. Across England there are still tens of thousands of nursing vacancies and we know many staff are now considering leaving the profession after their experiences over the past year.

Staff already feel they are often unable to provide the best levels of care due to staffing and service pressures. Patient care will suffer further if we cannot attract and retain staff in nursing.

The government would like to divide us, pitting nursing staff against non-nursing staff with the aim of weakening us. They hope we’ll go away.

But the truth is that we care about patients and patient care. As we fight for our profession, we fight on your behalf as well. Do not let those in power make you believe this isn’t true.

This Nurses’ Day please show your support for nursing in any way you can and back us as we fight for our profession across Cambridgeshire.

Find out more about our campaigning work by visiting www.rcn.org.uk/people and please join us in our quest to protect the vital health services you all need and deserve.


Ready to vote

All being well,  I will cast my vote today, actually votes because I will be voting for the Combined Authority Mayor, the Police Commissioner and my County Councillor and in one ward of Ely, a parish councillor.

All very important for our future well being. I wish the best of luck to all those who have the courage to stand and want to serve their community.

Being a local councillor can be very challenging, you cannot please everyone and expect little thanks for all the time and worry you will give to the role.

Having said that, I would like to thank three local retiring county councillors: Lis Every, Anna Bailey and Bill Hunt. I know from personal experience just how conscientious and hard working they have been for all of us locally, regardless of party politics.

I hope all those who are elected, under whatever political label, recognise that it is our communities that matter, not political parties.


Inner Wheel

The April meeting of Ely Inner Wheel was a quiz composed by member Carol Peacock.

The quiz was divided into 10 categories and were questions to which we should have known the answers.

We learnt about things we had never thought about. Everyone agreed it was a most enjoyable afternoon.

Interested in Inner Wheel? Call Joy Hockey, our membership officer, on 01353 663525.