Feeling the strain of lockdown

We’ve all felt  the strain of lockdown these past few months, which means that looking after our physical and mental health is extremely important.

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF), we see it as our responsibility to help people to keep their hearts healthy, which is why we’re asking the nation to take on our new Step Challenge now lockdown has eased.

A brisk 20-30 minute walk each day can be  a simple way to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity  physical activity each week and can also help improve sleep, reduce stress levels, boost energy and help you get fit.

My Step Challenge has been designed by BHF cardiac nurses so is suitable for all fitness levels, including those with heart and circulatory conditions.  It is a great way to increase your daily steps whilst raising vitals funds for the BHF’s life saving research.

Like many charities, the coronavirus crisis has devastated our income, costing us around £10 million a month. We are urging the public to #BackTheBHF and help the millions of people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases. Research suggests that people with these conditions are at higher risk of complications from Covid-19, meaning our work has never been more important.

Visit our website to find out more about how to improve your heart health and sign up to My Step Challenge: www.bhf.org.uk/mystepchallenge

Barbara Kobson

Senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation

Impending pet crisis in the UK

There is an impending pet crisis in this country as the coronavirus pandemic threatens animal welfare charities and pet owners alike. Pet charity Blue Cross is calling on the government to not ignore the signs and act quickly before it’s too late.

Blue Cross has seen how distressing the pandemic has been for many pet owners and have carried out research showing how irresponsible breeders have been taking advantage of the situation. Prices for puppies being sold online have rocketed – with popular breeds such as French bulldogs rising over 40% to an average of £2,500 – and more and more sick and underage puppies are being smuggled, farmed or illegally sold, and sadly, many end up needing veterinary care, or worse dying.

The research also found that 13% of pet owners have said they, or someone in their household, started to claim universal credit since the crisis began so charity services, like Blue Cross hospitals and rehoming centres, have never been needed more.

In addition, there are concerns that lots of smaller rescue centres will be forced to close because of lack of funds as a result of the virus; putting more pressure on remaining rescues to step in for these animals. Animal charities need help following this new crisis as more pets are expecting to need care.

The government needs to act to help pets and the people who love and rely on them.

All your readers can support us and pet charities in preventing a further crisis by not buying from untrustworthy online adverts and support our call for government action by writing to their local MP.

The Blue Cross full report and range of recommendations can be read here: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/petsandcovid

Dame Twiggy Lawson

Anthony Head

Deborah Meaden

Chris Packham

Miranda Richardson

Eleanor Tomlinson