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Communities responding to COVID-19

August 7, 2020

There's loads of important and inspiring activity being carried out by community groups across Scotland supporting people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Below we are bringing together some of the great examples we know of in order to help share ideas, enable connecting up and to highlight the strength and value of the community sector in supporting people through such a crisis.

Let us know if you want us to share any work you or others are doing in your community.

Twitter iconYou can also use the #GoodNewsScot hashtag to see (and share your own) examples of great community repsonses being shared on Twitter.

 

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Please note: this information has kindly been provided by community groups working hard to support people impacted by coronavirus in their communities. If you have any questions, please contact us in the first instance rather than the groups who will have limited capacity to respond to queries.

Castlemilk Together

Image of Castlemilk Together food action workCastlemilk Together is a community food action group made up of housing associations, community organisations and churches formed to tackle food insecurity in the Castlemilk area.

By having the funds, being a collective for 4 years and being committed to an asset-based approach, the group were able to organise quickly the delivery of emergency food parcels and additional resources to children/families and adults.

Now thanks to the allocation of funding from Supporting Communities Fund, Castlemilk Together are able to expand and extend provision for adults and older adults. This fund will help them deliver 700 freshly cooked meals to the elderly, vulnerable adults and families every week for 16 weeks and 50 food parcels to vulnerable adults.

They will also be able to support community members with electricity costs and offer online activities for children and families. With this funding they can now offer extra support across the community for those who are most affected by COVID-19 and the complex inequalities that previously existed, amplified by the current situation.

 

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Spring Social Prescribing: Connecting Well during Covid-19

The “Connect-Well Service” launched by Spring Social Prescribing to adapt to social-distancing regulations imposed by Covid-19 has grown from strength to strength throughout the pandemic.

There are 34, social prescribers working across Scotland and Northern Ireland, serving 28 communities in socially deprived areas.

10 Social Prescribers are working in areas across Scotland. Each Social Prescriber contacts each and every client by telephone, text or video link every week. As restrictions begin to ease in this phase of lockdown, a small number have carried out socially isolated garden visits or walking groups

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Lend a Hand Kintore

Neil Meyer, minister of Kintore Parish Church and chair of the LAH Kintore steering group, organising the delivery of the community magazine with help from his daughters.A recently formed community group, Lend a Hand (LAH) Kintore, is now regularly responding to local requests for help during the COVID-19 pandemic. LAH Kintore was set up in mid-March 2020 when Kintore and District Community Council, Kintore Parish Church, Kintore Community Church and other concerned citizens independently saw the need to help the community and joined forces to offer a coordinated approach. Since then, over 100 volunteers have signed up and over 700 have become members of the Facebook group.

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Lochalsh Community Response

Lochalsh Community Response is a new network in Lochalsh providing support for local communities in order to minimise the impact of coronavirus on people in the area, particularly if they are self-isolating, being shielded due to underlying health problems or affected by poverty and loss of income.

The response covers seven community council areas and provides a Lochalsh-wide telephone helpline, a dedicated website and Facebook page, and a Food Share Project where food, nearing its sell-by date, from the local Co-op and Spar supermarkets, is Lochalsh Community Response flyerdistributed to those in need.

Strong local partnership forms the basis of the Lochalsh Community Response group, which includes around 20 organisations, community councils and initiatives and is led by Kyle & Lochalsh Community Trust. Furthermore Lochalsh Community Response has secured funding for local organisations so they can support their vulnerable members during the outbreak. 

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Barmulloch Community Development Company

With funding from Foundation Scotland and Enterprising Provan Fund, BCDC has set up a unique Coronavirus Emergency Assistance Service which offers community support for Barmulloch and the surrounding areas. Community members are encouraged to phone or email if they need help of any kind and don’t know where else to turn. BCDC staff are able to signpost residents to appropriate services, support them with accessing resources and be a kind and reassuring voice in an otherwise frightening time.

BCDC are supporting people in the community impacted by CoronavirusThe charity owns several community assets including the Recreation Hall in Barmulloch, which is well loved and used for various groups and children’s parties. Now, it’s been utilised by Achieve More, a youth action charity that has been working to provide pop up food banks for those in need. The banks provide emergency food parcels for individuals and families who require additional support.

BCDC have also been working to spread some joy during the holiday period. BCDC staff delivered nearly 100 Easter Eggs to the local community in the early hours on Easter morning, while following distancing protocol. The company also donated two to local postmen Paul and Andy to thank them for their bravery during this time.

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+Update!

Collydean Community Centre

Collydean Community Centre logoAs soon as the Covid-19 lockdown was announced, Glenrothes-based community organisation, Collydean Community Centre began to repurpose as a community hub for a Covid-19 response ensuring vulnerable households are supported through the crisis.

The Community Café has become a mini contact centre, the sports hall is now a temporary food-house storing ambient and fresh food and the Centre is distributing food parcels to those struggling, including the increased number of people made redundant. Volunteers get prescriptions and shopping for isolated people and also act as community buddies through a telephone befriending service. 

Collydean has high levels of poverty, including child poverty, and the group’s work is making a huge difference to already vulnerable groups. The buddying system has been vital for people who are experiencing increased anxiety about the extended lockdown. The Growing Together Project, a key new initiative encouraging families to work with their children to grow vegetables, is benefitting people in terms of nutrition and saving money - skills that will hopefully continue to benefit families after the crisis.

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Crossroads Youth and Community Association

Crossroads Youth and Community Association has put in place a range of measures to protect and support communities in two parts of Glasgow, Govanhill and Gorbals.Crossroads Youth and Community Association logo

Support staff were asked stay at home and prepare for remote working while full-time staff attended one of Crossroads' community hubs, the Barn, to do a deep clean and start to organise emergency deliveries of food and medications.

The community work and youth work teams have continually provided phone/social media based practical and emotional support since March 16th, despite the fact that, during the same month, all full-time staff were required to enter into self-isolation due to a connection with someone who was hospitalised with Covid-19.

The organisation has therefore put safe working conditions in place and workers have been going to the Barn  and out into the communities, only when necessary, to organise and deliver essential food, fuel, communication top-ups and medications.

In tandem with its response work, Crossroads has co-created an area response group (G5 COVID Support Group) in Gorbals along with cross-sector partners. This group has taken on co-ordination of essential supports available in the Greater Gorbals area. The organisation is also collaborating with Home Energy Scotland and is now a registered referral organisation for this national support service offering a one-stop hub of support for all things related to fuel and energy issues, benefits, and further supports.

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Edinburgh Community Food

Edinburgh Community Food's logoWithin a 24-hour period at the start of the crisis Edinburgh Community Food's food delivery system flipped from business, community and homes to home delivery to vulnerable, isolated and people facing financial hardship.

They have provided meals to 2000 people and families in a week, including “Take’n’Make” meals in a bag providing for different sizes of household, as well as ‘essential’ food boxes containing ‘dignified’ quality items to help reduce food inequality.

Edinburgh Community Food are currently preparing a dignified food proposal for a city-wide network of local partnerships to increase their  capacity to around 3500 meals per week in the next phase of operations.

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South Islay Development

South Islay Development (SID), a community-led organisation in Kildalton and Oa on the Isle of Islay has been engaged in a number of activities to support and protect vulnerable, isolated islanders as the coronavirus crisis develops.  

South Islay Development's logoUtilising  a network of local volunteers SID, working alongside partners on Islay,  has produced information leaflets and developed robust guidelines to support people in the local community.

SID’s information leaflet provides important guidance for anyone who is self-isolating or is in a vulnerable situation;  including how volunteers will support them both physically and emotionally and   the important contact details to make people feel secure.

The group is also working in coordination with the whole island resilience team to overcome the challenges of how to fund such a response which includes the increased costs of mobilising volunteers, the unique fragility of working on an island and at distance to get supplies – food, medicine, fuel, comfort -  to those who need them most and to ensure they have the information and equipment to stay safe and protected within their community.

Download SID’s information leaflet

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STAR Project

STAR Project - a community project in Paisley - pride themselves on the ability to be flexible, creative and responsive to the needs of their community. As of Thursday 19 March 2020, they began rolling out the resources and their new/adapted engagement tools developed to continue supporting the wellbeing of community members.Star Project

Specifically, they aim to tackle the impacts of Covid 19 which has exacerbated issues such as isolation, mental health and food insecurity within an already marginalised community. 

Following a call to action they recruited a staggering 67 volunteers & gained the support of over 60 partners.

Their face to face supports are all now via telephone and Skype, and their workshops have all been moved to digital platforms, a virtual Drop-In, Facebook and Zoom workshops.

STAR Project are busier than ever supporting hundreds of people each week! They’ve also adapted their Community Fridge and Pantry to deliver food packages and essentials to those who need it most. In the last 5 days alone they’ve delivered to 247 people.

Download STAR Project's information poster

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More stories...

Follow these links to see more great work in communities being highlighted by other national organisations.

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Summary

Castlemilk Together

This blog highlights the incredible work that is being done across Castlemilk to support the most vulnerable people in the area during COVID-19.

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Community Food and Health Scotland

CFHS is sharing case studies of how community food organisations are adapting to Covid-19, starting with Moray Food Plus.

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Community Landowner case studies

Community Land Scotland and Community Woodlands Association have jointly produced a report highlighting the work of community landowner organisations in responding to Covid-19 in their communities. 

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Fernhill: A story from Kirstin

In this article on the Corra Foundation's website, a community member in Fernhill in South Lanarkshire shares her story of helping to lead an emergency response supporting vulnerable households in the local area.

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Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Community Partnership

Community Partnership logoThe Partnership put out a call asking what activity was going on local communities. Some groups in the national park have been developing community resilience action plans.

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Pooling Together: How Community Hubs have responded to the COVID-19 Emergency

Community hubs case studies coverCarnegie UK Trust has developed some case studies of community hubs created in response to Covid-19. The examples include two local authority areas in Scotland, Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire, where community planning partners have co-ordinated the setting up of the hubs. The two examples give some description of how the hubs have worked with local community organisations.

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The National newspaper

The National newspaper highlights what three different community organisations, Galson Estate Trust Lewis, Dumfries' Stove Network and Govanhill Baths in Glasgowhave been doing to support their local communities through the coronavirus crisis.

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Nesta

This blog goes through some of the issues faced by the voluntary and community sector, and links to international examples of community responses to coronavirus.

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SURF

Scotland's Regeneration Forum (SURF) is doing a great job sharing stories of local responese to Covid-19 on almost a daily basis. Check their news feed for the latest up-to-date examples

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