WHILST there is a shortage of adequate protective equipment for social care and NHS staff, this is not the time to be pointing the finger of blame and arguing; that can come later.

All our energies should be going into working together – social care NHS, local authorities – to get the people we provide care for and our staff through this horrific period.

Social care staff, alongside NHS colleagues, are doing an amazing job at the most challenging of times and all deserve the greatest support the country can provide for them.

And Mr Chancellor, please support struggling providers by making social care zero-rated for VAT.

Mike Padgham, chair, Independent Care Group, York

We need your help

WHAT can I say that you won’t already have heard at this frightening time?

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is facing a very real concern that we will not be able to continue supporting families with a terminally ill child. We urgently need your help.

The families we support are already facing the unimaginable thought that their child may die before them. Now, they are also experiencing enormous coronavirus fears.

Our family support workers are continuing to do all they can - recently they delivered expressed breast milk to a neonatal ward from a mother who wasn’t allowed to visit her premature baby, due to strict visitor restrictions.

Families often tell us that Rainbow Trust Family support workers are one of the only trusted “constants” in their lives, helping them as they face uncharted territory and uncertainty. That is not changing in the short term. We will continue to be there in whatever way we can, for as long as is possible.

However, we desperately need funds in order to keep Rainbow Trust going.

Ninety-eight per cent of our income comes from the generosity of the public and all our fundraising events for the foreseeable future have been cancelled or postponed.

I implore you to give whatever you can at this frightening time, so that families caring for their seriously ill child can still be supported.

Please visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/donate. Thank you so much.

Zillah Bingley, chief executive, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity

Beware of dangers

With most children at home for the foreseeable future, it’s inevitable they’ll be spending more time online – at a time when they may be feeling lonely or anxious because of the lockdown.

Whilst this provides a lifeline, enabling home education and being able to socialise with friends, it’s important parents and carers know how to keep children safe in their digital worlds.

Online, there’s likely to be an increased risk of sexual abuse and exposure to harmful content with abusers ready to exploit the global pandemic to target young people as tech firms scale back on moderators.

It’s important children feel reassured about sharing worries with their parents, who I’d encourage to have regular conversations with their children about their online activity.

Resources like Net Aware, a site co-created by the NSPCC and O2, can help parents and children understand how to minimise the potential risks and ensure that online resources can be an important, and safe, part of coping with the implications of social distancing. 

Helen Westerman, NSPCC service head for local campaigns