Letters to the editor

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Spare a thought less fortunate at Christmas

Sir,- As we relax with our families to enjoy the festive season, I’d like to ask your readers to spare a thought for those who are unable to take such simple pleasures for granted this Christmas.

There are millions of people in the UK affected by disability - they may be disabled themselves, or caring for a loved one with a disability. Many carers devote themselves 24/7 without any chance of a break. Can you imagine yourself in the same situation?

I work for Vitalise, a charity that provides much-needed respite breaks for disabled people and carers. Our breaks are an absolute lifeline, enabling our guests to regain their strength and restore their ability to cope.

But here’s the problem: According to our own research, 7 out of 10 carers will not get a break from caring this Christmas - in fact, half of carers have never had a break at Christmas. For people struggling with the daily demands of giving and receiving care, Christmas must be a particularly lonely and stressful time of year.

Would your readers like to help us change all that? We transform the lives of thousands each year through our respite breaks, but there are countless thousands more in dire need of support. We need your help to reach out to them.

There are so many ways you can help, from something as simple as making a donation, to taking part in a fundraising event or sparing some time to volunteer. It’s your chance to spread some lasting goodwill!

We really need your help. If you would like to support Vitalise, please call 0303 303 0147 or visit www.vitalise.org.uk.

Colin Brook

Vitalise

www.vitalise.org.uk

Barnardo’s go snap happy

Sir, – This week our shops, including, Linlithgow and Bathgate, are launching an innovative Instagram Christmas competition and I wanted to invite your readers to take part in the fun.

Top prize is £100 of Argos vouchers with second and third places winning £75 and £50 worth of vouchers.

In addition, there’s also a special regional prize of a £20 voucher.

Entries close at a minute after midnight on December 24/25.

To get involved, readers will need to visit their local Barnardo’s Scotland shop, take a photo of something that catches their eye, log into their Instagram account (or set one up) choose to follow @barnardosretail and upload a picture of their special find mentioning @barnardosretail and #MyBarnardosFind in the caption.

Once readers load their fabulous Barnardo’s ‘find’ they’ll automatically be entered into our competition and could stand the chance of winning some fabulous Argos vouchers – just in time for the January sales!

For the chance to win an additional regional prize, geotag the picture with the store’s location.

We have already been joined by a host of celebrities including Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby, singer Nicola Roberts and actor Jason Flemyng, plus, Andy Serkis, Jenny Frost, Elen Rivas and Tim Lovejoy.

In fact our account is fast becoming a bit of an online Christmas party!

All profits go to help fund our work, so why not help Barnardo’s Scotland make it a bumper Christmas - as the real winners will be the vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people who rely on our vital services.

Many thanks and Happy Christmas! – Yours etc.,

Martin Crewe

Director

Barnardo’s Scotland

Playgroup’s thanks

Sir, – On behalf of the playgroup committee, we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along to Lochside Playgroup’s Christmas fair at the Low Port Centre on Sunday, November 30.

The event was a great success and over £1000 was raised.

Thank you to everyone who donated tombola prizes, toys and home baking.

We are exceptionally grateful to all the local businesses who kindly donated raffle prizes; their generosity is a reflection of the wonderful community spirit within the town.

Thank you again for your on-going support. –Yours etc.,

Kirsten Lamb

Chairwoman

Lochside playgroup

Stake your claim for fame

Sir, – My name is Jennifer and I’m an assistant poducer at Love Productions, the makers of BBC1’s ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

We are currently in production with an exciting new programme for BBC2 about pottery.

“Britain’s Best Potter” (working title) is a nationwide talent search - aimed at experienced amateurs to early career potters - that will test all the different aspects of the craft.

It’s for those who aspire to become a full-time professional; those looking to take the next step up in their pottery practice or those who simply want to show the nation their work!

We are looking for people to take part and I wondered whether you might be at all keen to feature a bit of editorial about the programme to see if anyone in the local area was keen to get involved? – Yours etc.,

Jennifer Greenwood

Assistant Producer

Love Productions

43 Eagle Street, London

jennifer.greenwood@loveproductions.co.uk